Sourcing Customised Promotional Products Directly From The Factory

Sourcing Customised Promotional Products Directly From The Factory

May 16, 2014

So many clients inquire about factory direct services for promotional products, but are usually not aware of what is involved in this type of purchase. This is especially true for promotional products where clients are looking for the cheapest products available that offer maximum return. Factory direct promotional products are not just about supplying merchandise with a client logo — it offers the opportunity to create a promotional product through custom sourcing.

It is true that going directly to the factory definitely has several advantages; the most obvious one is that it offers significant savings in cost which can be more than 70% for large volumes. One of the biggest benefits of going direct to the manufacturer is that it allows significant customisation. Clients may be able to choose a specific colour for their item which can be matched to a specific PMS colour code as dictated by client branding guidelines. In most cases, the product can be made completely from scratch if the client has a large budget and would like it in high quantities.

Say a client is looking to source a stress ball or a key chain. If the quantity is 5000 or more, it is possible to make a custom-shaped stress ball or a keychain in the shape of the client’s logo or mascot. If the client requires 1000 or more in quantity, it is possible to make these items in a particular colour that reflects the client’s brand guidelines or is aligned with a specific theme.

While clients may get excited about having numerous customisation options, and at a low price which can save them tons of marketing dollars—one other important factor is the time frame —the time it needs to be able to make a delivery directly from the factory. Thanks to technology, delivery speed has improved significantly over the last several years with factories having adopted emails for communicating where proofs, artworks, mock-ups can be approved via email. In many cases printed samples can also be approved by product images instead of a physical sample, which can save several days if the delivery schedule is very tight.

In our experience, the majority of our clients require fast delivery as it is very common that the decisions regarding promotional products are left to the last minute, just before a product launch or a major event. We in the promotions industry work hard to make sure that the clients get their products delivered on time, no matter what the circumstances are. We have had clients asking for delivery within 24 hours which in most cases we have successfully complied with using local stock. However since factory direct delivery custom sourcing involves delivery from overseas, 24-hour delivery is not usually possible 

Digital promotional products such as USB flash drive, Pedometers, Clocks, Watches, etc., can be produced quicker as several of the components are pre-made and most production time is usually spent in assembly and branding. Some of these items can be delivered in weeks especially if there are existing sub-component stocks available. Items such as promotional towels, soccer balls, bottles, and especially completely customised products, may take several months to deliver since production time for these is often longer 

Deliveries from China may take longer during the Chinese New Year holidays, when almost everything in China shuts down for several weeks, causing delays of two to three weeks. It is important to understand what steps are involved in arranging factory direct delivery. Here’s how the system usually goes: Once the goods are completed in the factory, these are then transported to a freight company. The freight company then arranges custom clearance (which requires paperwork) and scheduling of the freight. Occasionally goods might get held up with the customs if they decide to check documents or when they run the goods through inspection. This can delay the goods for one or two days. Once the goods are cleared by the customs, these are then loaded on to a plane or a ship. If the goods are sent by courier or air, this can take three to 10 days to transport, depending on the origin, destination and the level of service chosen with the freight company. If goods are sent by sea freight, this can normally take 10 to 40 days in transit alone, again depending on the origin, destination and the level of service chosen. Delivery by sea freight also requires additional time at both ends for formalities, such as custom clearance, documentation, loading and unloading, etc. Once the goods are cleared at the destination, it is then scheduled for delivery to an APD Promotions warehouse, or in some cases delivered directly to the client. 

Therefore, with so many factors involved in arranging delivery from factory to client, it can be estimated that a typical factory direct delivery by air freight usually takes four to six weeks and sea freight delivery, about 10 to 12 weeks. The above is the typical time frame from the initial order confirmation to the actual delivery to the client. To discuss more specific details of your project or for further information regarding our services, please contact your account manager at APD Promotions on 1300 795 273, or visit our website

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