Custom Display Shelves: What is the best way to reduce lead times without breaking budgets?

We can see an increasing trend towards shortening the time frame for purchasing display shelves and in-store marketing programs. Increasing competition among retailers, increasing financial pressures in the industry and a rapid acceleration in product innovation have combined to reduce the planning scope and production lead times of retail store display programs. So what is the best way to reduce delivery times without destroying funds? Here are six suggestions:

1) Clearly define the requirements of your purchasing display rack

A lot of time is often wasted due to unclear requirements or uncertain shelf specifications. It is best to collect your product and display specifications in advance, including:

  • Product size and weight
  • Number of SKUs
  • Basic floor plan of how you would like to present the product, including the number of layers per shelf, hook, etc. and the total amount per SKU.
  • Basic material requirements, including material type, surface treatment
  • Display size
  • Packaging and transportation requirements, including the intended mode of transportation.

2) Prepare design drawings in advance

Prepare brand logo printouts and other design graphics that can be used on display shelves in advance and submit them as vector artwork in PDF, EPS, AI or other acceptable formats. The goal is to minimize back-and-forth between the publicity design team and the supplier’s print team. Reducing prepress time can make a big difference ahead of critical deadlines.

3) Shorten proofing production time

By ensuring that your display rack uses commonly used materials that are readily available on the market, you can reduce sample preparation time. Avoid highly specialized materials that may be difficult to obtain quickly. Sample design time can also be reduced by ensuring that manufacturers have a clear and complete set of manufacturing drawings to avoid thinking.

If the sample is manufactured abroad, sample identification can be accelerated by air freight or faster, perhaps using detailed pictures and videos. Ask your supplier to provide close-up photos of all parts of the display rack. They should also be able to send you pictures of samples with weights so that you can determine if the shelf is strong enough to hold your product. You can request videos from suppliers. Videos can show how easily the display tilts, how smoothly it rotates, and provide other valuable visual information. If you can approve a rack sample with the help of pictures and videos, you can usually save a few days of project time.

4) Accelerate material procurement

Depending on the project, it may take 1-2 weeks or longer for manufacturers to order and receive the materials needed to produce the display. If your project is time-critical, it is best not to use highly specialized materials such as unconventional laminates or powder coatings.

Another important time-saving method is to make sure your manufacturer orders materials as soon as possible in the process. Getting a purchase order from your supplier even before you finish proofing can help speed up the process. You can protect yourself by having the PO accept samples or agreements or product approvals. Ideally, manufacturers can order materials at the beginning of a sample so that they can fine-tune the sample while preparing materials and tools. This method carries some risks, but it can also save up to weeks of valuable time.

5) Design capability of suppliers

During the design process, your manufacturer may design around its functionality. This can be beneficial, especially if you have an urgent project. Most manufacturers design their sales shelves in a way that minimizes outsourcing and takes advantage of their strengths, such as the type of production equipment they own.

If the manufacturer has extensive international trade experience, it is possible to produce the first batch of products domestically to meet the initial launch date, and then to produce the remaining products overseas to help reduce the average display cost.

6) Develop an intelligent transportation plan

Smart transportation planning is really important for tight deadlines. If you are launching a national program, prioritize delivery locations to meet retailer needs. For example, if you’re shipping from the West Coast, you might decide that it’s best to ship to an East Coast store because West Coast stores have shorter shipping routes. Again, it is important to know in advance how the units will be packaged and how they will be transported. The packaging requirements for shelves to be shipped via UPS or FEDEX are completely different from those for shelves to be shipped to DC on pallets.

Identifying the right shipping company is also important. Some trucking companies hire team drivers who can move goods around the country in three days. Others may require multiple cross docks, so it’s less suitable for shipping to your location. It’s important to do your research to make sure your choice is the best one.

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