One of the biggest challenges many companies face is achieving open and streamlined communication and collaboration between departments. And this is often the case when it comes to ordering branded apparel, promotional items, office supplies or corporate gifts. We at Proforma Durkee know this all too well.
After years of helping companies set up their online stores, we have noticed how many issues and roadblocks can come up because of various departments not communicating with each other. And think about it, if you don’t have the approved logo from branding or the exact quantities to order from sales or the purchase order from accounting how can you possibly have a streamlined ordering process? The simple answer: You can’t – it’s a logistical nightmare. We have seen companies lose hundreds of dollars on botched orders, with logos that aren’t 100% right, or quantities that were either too large or too small. And we found that most of the time, the root cause of all these problems had one simple commonality: there was a lack of communication.
That’s why we decided to investigate a couple of different ways you could ensure that all the stakeholders involved in the ordering and use of promotional items, corporate gifts and branded apparel are on the same page (metaphorically, literally and digitally). Here are some of our suggestions to help ease this process:
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of getting everyone on the same page and communicating. Easy to use, agile and accessible from anywhere in the world at any time, Google Docs allow people from various departments to be on a document at any time. Documents can be edited in real-time on any device, changes can be suggested or made directly, and comments can be added. You can use templates, change fonts and style documents. The best part is that any changes made are saved instantly, and you can go back and restore old versions or see who has made changes to the document, and what those changes are.
The one negative is that all the key stakeholders will need the discipline to ensure that documents are filled out and constantly updated.
Atlassian’s Jira is a complex platform that allows teams to track and manage projects of varying levels of importance. It allows for transparency and makes it easy for everyone to get on the same page. According to Guru99 “The basic use of this tool [Jira] is to track issues... It is also used for project management. The JIRA dashboard consists of many useful functions and features which make handling of issues easy.” It’s a useful and professional interface for team collaboration and ensuring that the ordering of promotional items, branded apparel and corporate gifts is spot on.
Trello is a simple Kanban board that allows for simple tracking of each task of a project (or projects) on different boards. This tool allows for easy collaboration and tracking of tasks and allows you to see what is in progress, what still needs to be done and what has already been completed. It also ensures that people are accountable for the tasks assigned to them, much like Jira. It is however, much simpler to use than Jira which is why it might be a perfect option for the ordering of promotional, branded and corporate items.
Slack is an excellent tool for collaboration and communication. Another application that can exist across devices, its main focus is on direct messages (to individuals or groups), but you are able to call through the platform as well as send files, create chat groups for specific people or projects only and it’s compatible with other platforms such as Google Drive and Dropbox. There is both a limited free version and full version, the best option of which will depend on your company/team’s needs.
If you are looking for a messaging platform, like Slack, but simpler (and free), then Ryver is a good choice. This platform allows people to talk about the tasks that need to get done to ensure deadlines are not missed and that orders are complication and mistake free. Like Slack, you can use Ryver to organize groups and speak to individuals or groups. It’s different to Slack, however, in that you can filter what certain people see and post. You can also mark certain messages to read at a later stage.
Any of these platforms, or even a combination of them, will certainly help to get your team working towards the same goals and communicating effectively to ensure that the right quantities are being ordered of the correct items. Getting your team to communicate is definitely the most effective solution to this problem.
However, if you are looking for an alternative solution to those we have already provided, download our (free!) guide on opting for an online company store. Online company stores are customizable for your brand and have many additional benefits. What’s more, it acts as a single, easily accessible platform where everything is communicated and done (you will even order through the platform).
In our personal experience, this is one of the best ways to ensure all of the relevant departments are working together, thinking about each other, and eliminating any of the hiccups that arise otherwise.