March 10, 2021 · You Oughta Know

How supply chain impacts events and brands.

One year ago this week, our business was impacted by COVID-19 protocols much like most businesses in the U.S. at that time.  We started by sending half the team home with plans to alternate staff, but within seven days moved to 100% remote staff as the pandemic came into worldwide focus.

During the remainder of “turbulent” 2020, our industry experienced a steep, painful decline in demand followed by a rapid rebound. We are seeing a similar pattern emerge as we begin 2021.

In mid-February of this year, U.S. ports were managing an unprecedented number of ships with imported goods which were unable to dock and unload due to congestion.  The Port of Los Angeles reported that imports are up more than 500% this week over the same period last year. This spike of ships in U.S. ports impacts their ability to get additional items to the U.S. because these same ships are not headed back to Asia to load additional goods.  The Northwest Sea Alliance indicated last week that full exports were down 13.4% year over year. Additionally, we have heard and seen that Asian ports are full of product ready to export with no ships available to deliver.  All of this pressure has led to Bloomberg reporting a 400% increase in shipping costs for containers to the U.S.

Across our industry, we are seeing the downstream effect and pressure this phenomenon has created on inventory supply and continuity. This has also created tremendous challenges across production operations as companies calibrate capacity and staffing through this very unpredictable period.  COVID-19 closures continue as outbreaks happen at the port, in production facilities and across industries.

This up-and-down cycle
will likely persist for the next few
quarters resulting in important
implications for business planning.

What does that mean for the promotional and event needs as it relates to your business?

Bergman understands the challenges and is problem-solving in advance of the concerns being fully identified. Our strong partner and vendor relationships allow us to secure “safety stock” of popular items and prioritize projects in the supply chain to ensure on-time delivery.  We are able to understand and predict consumption patterns through our company stores and thereby help control costs. Our experience in the industry makes us a reliable resource and partner for our clients who are navigating these challenges.

As events return and stock is limited, it becomes increasingly important for our clients to make decisions sooner.  Two questions to consider as you plan an event in order to maximize cost savings, reinforce brand control and ensure less stress related to delivery of promotional support:

  1. How soon can I have clarity around scope, size and attendance numbers?

  2. What is the priority of having the right item versus my tolerance for substitutions and alternatives?

After understanding these two questions, lean on Bergman for:

  1. Product selection and event support, as always.

  2. Kitting your items. If the event is virtual or you need to touch remote workforces, we are prepared. For example, Bergman successfully shipped 30,000 packages in December 2020 with zero days of impacted FedEx or USPS pickup delays. This meant holiday packages for our clients were in the system and delivered as expected.

  3. Storage of items purchased in advance. Bergman’s warehouse can hold your items until the event with no additional charge to allow you security and peace of mind.

  4. Due to all of these factors, we expect price increases this year. As your partner, we have secured rate locks at this point through April 2021.

We are here to help and together we will ensure a successful exit from the business pains experienced due to COVID-19.

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