For the past 20 years, almost every supply chain in the world has moved towards a just-in-time model.  In the world of corporate apparel and custom uniforms, manufacturers and distributors are very aware that their customer base expects to have product ready for them and their decorators for immediate fulfillment, often in large quantities.  Unfortunately many embroidery companies and custom uniform suppliers have continued to push for customers to take on inventory liability to compensate for their own limitations.

Large corporate customers can fall into a trap when they find local embroidery companies or mid-market decorators to bid on their uniform programs.  These companies do have production capabilities, but usually not enough capacity to quickly respond to large orders for events or national uniform requirements without substantial lead time.  To compensate, they often offer to stock inventory for the end customer to allow for faster fulfillment and reduced risk of shortages.

The risk in this scenario falls on the end customer and can be substantial.  Owning inventory in an off-site location can have many risks.  From loss or damage, to the costs of accounting for and monitoring offsite assets.  Additional problems arise when a company wants to re-brand, merges with another industry peer, or even wants to make simple style changes to reflect the current fashion trends.  Bloated inventory is often written off, or must be burned through for several months before these changes can be rolled out.  Often what happens is that there is always plenty in stock in the slow moving sizes and styles, but the top sellers still end up having chronic shortage issues adding further frustration to the field employees who need their uniforms quickly.

Fortunately there is a solution to what seems like a common problem.  Larger decorators with much more robust capacity can handle orders for events or thousands of employees very quickly.  When they couple that with product selection that is well supported by manufacturers, and build in alternate or replacement styles in the rare instance of a backorder then the issues are nearly resolved.  The last piece of the puzzle is a technology back end that connects the web portal for employees with the decorators actual systems and suppliers for a very fast and efficient fulfillment process of even small orders by individual employees.

In a sea filled with embroiderers and screen printers, only a few larger companies have the capacity, expertise and technology backend to seamlessly run a zero-inventory solution.  If your current supplier is putting your money at risk, or failing to perform, please contact Uniforms Made Easy to learn about our end-to-end solution for large healthcare organizations and corporate customers of all kinds.