During the last two years the BPMA has reported several times about the price spikes across raw materials, products, and freight. Since the start of 2022, additional global pressures led the BPMA to alert its members and wider industry in late May to the pressures every sector and economy is facing, urging businesses to manage expectations carefully.
With reports from the wider supply chain are some costs are set to rise again particularly in raw materials and freight in the coming months coupled with inflation rising across every economy, it is inevitable the impact will be felt in the industry, reported CEO Carey Trevill to members on Thursday, May 26. Seeing the order books filling with rapid orders with the expected rise in ‘back to business as usual’, end user demand is still growing. Ms Trevill stressed how in the industry communicates in the coming weeks and months as an industry to end user customers would be pivotal to the industry stability in the months ahead.
Reports have been come into the BPMA for months on how both busy the industry is, with order values on the up and equally how challenging delivering to this demand has become. The combination of rises across materials, general costs, labour have been causing prices to fluctuate, production capacities to be challenged and with business now truly understanding the impact of increased wage costs, the industry is in a different space from anything we have seen before. Marry this with the real cost of living increase hitting every household, the BPMA predicts challenging times ahead.
Planning well to deliver expected outcomes
End users will be considering long and hard about the investment into merchandise and whilst the challenges within our supply chain are present, the BPMA have cited the opportunity for end users to engage on a different level with their customers through different mediums whilst we deliver a clear understanding of what is now possible. Noting the desire to deliver the same ‘just in time’ services, the BPMA has raised the flag that different times call for a different approach on many promotional products.
With many strains evident across the supply chain, it is clear the usual elasticity the industry has come to expect is now not always available. As a result, this can limit the normal responses expected, production capabilities and prices we pay now and may have to pay in future.
Clarity on lead times for production and delivery has never been more important as the wider industry works with the supply chain to address adjusted timeframes. Appreciating this doesn’t apply literally to every supplier as the conditions of each order depend on many different factors, the BPMA is encouraging all parties not to assume previous lead times and availability apply, understanding production capacity may be altered and prices may not stay the same between now and the end of the year.
Leveraging the positive and lasting impact of merchandise
So what’s in store for the coming months and how can we navigate the way ahead? Ms Trevill said: “During COVID, merchandise was an innovative and attention grabbing way to deliver positive messages at a time of distress. Leveraging the power of merchandise as a powerful medium with strong recall and positive connection can provide the answer for many brands and businesses looking to uphold their messaging in uncertain times. In conversations with end user groups in the last few weeks and months, many leading brands, services, and retailers are considering how they can support on cost of living, balanced with climate positive messages. How does merchandise come into this? We have proved the lasting impact of the right merchandise to convey statements to an audience looking for relevant, engaging, and useful products. The product story we can tell is one of the ability to change hearts and minds, delivering on promises and developing a clear connection with the recipient with purpose. Buyers may be hesitating at this time on investment so clear reasons to believe the products they are ordering deliver against a value proposition, purpose, and impact will be important factors in decision making.”
Manage expectations, deliver the extraordinary
Managing expectations is a mantra this industry knows well. The association believes it’s one we need to pay particular attention to as we navigate the end user expectations of ‘business as usual’ vs the extended and more expensive time we live in.
The BPMA backs the ability of the industry to adapt. Ms Trevill continued: “We are an industry which delivers the extraordinary on every level. Over the last few years we have worked together to overcome the conditions the pandemic presented, tackled the end of transition, stock shortages and more. To thrive and not just survive in this next chapter, working together for collective outcomes will be the route to see us through the tough conditions ahead to calmer times.”