For five years, Vision Benefits of America (VBA) has relied on Adform for promotional items and creative services. After recent logistical challenges and a global pandemic, VBA now depends on Adform’s e-store and fulfillment services.
“Adform has always been very solution-oriented,” reflects Emily Shrader, Marketing Manager at VBA. “You can’t beat their attention to detail and creativity. We consider them an extension of our marketing team.” In the past five years, Adform has produced hundreds of different items and materials for VBA brokers, benefits administrators, and members.
Recently, VBA experienced increased challenges with the vendor who maintained its inventory of printed materials and other items. “It was a bit disorganized,” Shrader notes. “We didn’t have a lot of confidence that inventory reports were accurate or that our orders would be delivered on time.” This created a lot of unnecessary follow-up work, often last-minute, for Shrader and her small team.
“There was a certain amount of security we had moving logistics to Adform,” says Shrader. “After working with them for so many years, there’s a lot of trust between their team and ours. We felt confident that they could offer a solution to our problem.”
In March, Adform assumed fulfillment responsibilities. Adform even manages an inventory of letterhead, flyers, envelopes, and other collateral. Now, confident with Adform, Shrader can more accurately plan for and anticipate her shipping needs. “It has been a huge stress relief,” says Shrader, who no longer worries about stock-outs. It has saved her a lot of headaches. “I like that the Adform system is automatic. As soon as I place an order, I see the stock level coming down.”
Then the Coronavirus pandemic hit. Suddenly, VBA’s Sales Support department couldn’t go to the office to assemble member welcome kits and send supplies. Again, VBA turned to Adform. “It was such a relief to turn to Adform to take things one step further,” says Shrader. A day or two after discussing the department’s needs, Adform created a form in the new VBA e-store for custom kitting.
“Adform had previously told us about their fulfillment services,” recalls Shrader. “But we always handled it ourselves.” Given how smoothly everything has run since March, VBA wishes they made the switch sooner. “In addition to saving money in the short term, it frees our team members up to focus on other responsibilities, which is much more valuable to the company.”
With this well-oiled machine in place, does Shrader have recommendations for her peers?
“Keep restocking times in mind,” she says. Adform sends VBA a low-inventory notice when they reach a minimum on items. “This gives us time to decide if we want to reorder the same product, update the design, or pick something new.” VBA doesn't feel rushed to make a decision.
She also suggests reviewing the order history. “Having access to everything we ordered in the past is a great perk,” says Shrader. VBA looks for patterns. Noticing seasonality or product trends can be helpful when reordering items.