Welcome to A&E Asks: Five Minutes with… where one-on-one interviews with industry professionals are featured in a Q&A format. These interviews share the experiences, opinions and ideas of some of the industry’s best-known individuals.
In these interviews, we’ll discuss the industry’s current events, as well as what the future holds for each company. We are very pleased to interview President and CEO Scott Sletten and National Sales Manager Dan Messerschmidt of JDS Industries.
Q: Could you provide a general state of the industry and what that means for the awards and engraving industry?
A: We are seeing good growth in corporate awards, as well as gifts and premiums. Traditional trophies and resins are softer right now.
Q: To what do you attribute this cited growth in corporate awards?
A: Corporate awards continue to do well as U.S. business in general is doing well. Companies see the value in recognizing both employees and customers.
Q: To what do you attribute a decline in traditional trophy and resins sales?
A: Trophies are declining in general as our population ages and people have fewer kids, since children are the recipients of most trophies. The recent negative press about participant trophies certainly has not helped, but we are not seeing much evidence of leagues not doing awards because of the bad press.
Q: In your opinion, how do these trends affect the typical awards retailer’s business model?
A: The retailers that will do the best in the future are those who have diversified and offer more products and services to their customers.
Q: Any particular trends that seem to be emerging in 2016, specifically when it comes to substrates and decoration methods?
A: Sublimation continues to be hot. As more people are getting into sublimation, more suppliers are coming out with great new products to be used with sublimation.
Q: In your opinion, why does sublimation continue to be a growing trend?
A: Sublimation continues to grow as more retailers get into it, and more of them are offering more products all the time. The modern printers and inks produce such good, consistent results that it has made it much easier for retailers to trust the system.
Q: What products or substrates seem to be the most popular?
A: Aluminum is our most popular substrate in sublimation. Plaques and name badges would be next on the list.
Q: What would you say to the awards retailer who is hesitant to get started in sublimation?
A: Sublimation technology has become much more trouble-free and consistent in the last 10 years, so retailers should not be afraid of jumping in.
Q: Are there any big plans for 2016? Any announcements of new hires, retirements, anniversaries, charity events, open houses, etc.?
A: We will announce new things as they happen during 2016, such as adding over 50,000-square-feet to our Sioux Falls warehouse.
Q: How has the new website and ordering system affected sales? What has been the customer feedback?
A: The feedback on our new website and online order entry has been very positive. Our new system is much more powerful, as well as secure. We have more enhancements planned for our website in the coming months.