2014 Top 50 Distributors: The Interviews
GK: Two observations: The lines between supplier, distributor and end-user will continue to blur. Every day, China becomes more accessible as a reaction to margin compression. In addition, the number of players moving to the Web is increasing, creating even more price competition and further driving the blurring of the lines.
PM: What's one trait of your company that you think has made it such a success, and why do you think it's had such an impact?
GK: National Pen has proprietary full-color decoration and USA manufacturing that creates a unique offering in the industry.
6. HALO Branded Solutions
Principal: Marc Simon, CEO
Promo Marketing: How did you get your start in the promotional industry?
Marc Simon: [I was] outside counsel and a board member from 1992 to 1995. I Joined HALO as CEO in February 2001.
PM: What changes do you see in the near future for the promotional industry, and what impact do you see them having?
MS: Product safety: There is a rapidly growing emphasis on product safety at both the federal and state levels, both in law and in regulation. As industry participants come to understand their responsibilities, the supply chain will become more sophisticated. Cut-rate, lesser quality imports will be avoided and a more level playing field will emerge. All of this will benefit the larger suppliers, who can more readily invest in the processes necessary to assure compliance.
Consolidation: As the promotional products industry matures, the highly fragmented industry is now consolidating. Companies of size, scalability, [having a] proven managerial track record of successfully integrating acquired businesses and deep capital resources will lead the distributor side of this consolidation phase. The supplier community is consolidating at an even faster rate. As consolidation continues, sourcing advantages will further increase for the larger players, and their value proposition to clients will become more compelling.