2018 PPAI Expo Illustrates An Industry Quickly Embracing Integration

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The PPAI Expo illustrated the growing support for trading partner integration as the time- and money-saving technology spreads further across the industry.

PromoStandards events were more abundant and better attended at the 2018 PPAI Expo than in any year prior. Five PromoStandards events held over two days at the Expo detailed how distributors, decorators, and suppliers can connect their business management systems for a more efficient supply chain and better business.

"It seems like each year the attendance and interest continues to grow,” said Marco Peña, Business Development Manager for Essent Corporation, a founding member of PromoStandards. "The PromoStandards events were a full-scale production with active involvement from the PS founding companies and there was a great mix of suppliers and distributors who made all of the events well-attended.”

"There were so many people planning integration in 2018 and making it a major part of their business plan. And for good reason: It creates the efficiency and convenience that everyone on the supply chain frankly expects in a buying experience in this day and age."

Integration allows trading partners such as promotional products distributors, decorators, and suppliers to communicate business information automatically and in real-time for more efficient transactions. The information that can be integrated is the information most often needed to move transactions forward, including Inventory Availability, Pricing and Configuration, Order Status, Advance Ship Notices, Media, Product Data, Purchase Orders, and Invoices.

PromoStandards is a group of distributors, suppliers, and service providers dedicated to improving supply chain efficiency in the promotional products industry. More than 100 distributors and 100 suppliers are using PromoStandards to streamline business.

"There were so many people planning integration in 2018 and making it a major part of their business plan. And for good reason: It creates the efficiency and convenience that everyone on the supply chain frankly expects in a buying experience in this day and age,” Mr. Peña said.

"On the show floor, I discussed integration options with dozens if not hundreds of people. The interest and understanding has grown exponentially just since last year, and especially compared to years before that. The power of integration is catching on in the promotional products industry, and the potential it holds to improve business for everyone is exciting,” Mr. Peña added.

The PromoStandards events included testimonials on how PromoStandards integration is working for promotional products companies in the real world right now. Next was a session on how to get started with PromoStandards, then a session on how integration creates Well-Formed™ orders that are complete, accurate, and ready to move forward without delay. Following that was a session on extending integration to the full order lifecycle, and then technical roundtables that offered a deep dive into the technology that makes integration work.

Mr. Peña said he experienced increased interest in the Essent OrderTrax® Network, the industry-standard integration network that simplifies the integration process.

"People understand the benefits of integration and why they should do it. Even though everyone realizes they need to be integrated, the mechanics to actually get there can sometimes be complex. OrderTrax simplifies the process and reduces the stress of supporting, managing, hosting and securing those integrations,” Mr. Peña said.

"For those clients, knowing that there is a turnkey solution that will do that for them for less than the cost of couple of Caramel Macchiato Ventis per day was a breath of fresh air,” Mr. Peña concluded with a smile. "It takes away the stress so you don’t have to drink so much coffee.”

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