Digital Asset Management, Print on Demand, Global Fulfillment | OnFulfillment Blog

The Evolution of Event Management at OnFulfillment

This year, OnFulfillment celebrates its Silver Anniversary—25 years of meeting the various printing, storage, shipping, training, and marketing fulfillment needs of customers worldwide.

To mark this occasion, we’re using this blog space to revisit our history and recall how we have evolved over the past two and half decades. We started off with a high-level overview of our first 25 years, followed by several more focused entries offering a closer look into the into specific services such as printing and branded promotional merchandise. printing. With today’s entry, we’re exploring OnFulfillment’s foray into the event fulfillment and management space.

a long history of trade show support

Growing the Business

“Event management” has been a part of the OnFulfillment arsenal, in one form or another, essentially from the beginning. It began simply; as with printed materials and branded promotional merchandise, we initially offered our storage and shipping services to help our customers warehouse their reusable trade show, conference, seminar, and other event materials. When an event was scheduled, users could use their OnFulfillment portal to order or reserve items and have them shipped to the venue.

Over the years, as technology and our capabilities evolved, the scope of OnFulfillment’s event management services grew more sophisticated. While the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in 2020, introduced a host of new challenges to the event industry, it paradoxically created an environment in which OnFulfillment and its industry-leading technology could thrive.

After live, in-person events were banned, OnFulfillment—using the web-based skills they developed to create their collateral and promotional merchandise monitoring and ordering system—became one of the industry’s premier hosts of virtual events worldwide. By harnessing the power of the Internet, OnFulfillment enabled customers to livestream conferences and seminars, allowing attendees to interact, participate in educational sessions, and share information—all online. Best of all, the events could be recorded for later broadcast, increasing viewership beyond the original attendees.

Once the restrictions were lifted after nearly two years, live events made a huge comeback. In order to make up for lost time, companies rushed to meet face-to-face with live customers and prospects. The number of opportunities accelerated, and OnFulfillment took full advantage.

get on a call for event support

As a result, over the past few years, event fulfillment and management has been the fastest growing part of our business in its history. It was clearly an important niche that underwent a significant and difficult evolution and needed desperately to be filled. Best of all for OnFulfillment, it created an opportunity for us to demonstrate our full range of capabilities, including software, procurement, support, storage, receiving, repairs, and inventory management—all of which must work in concert to be successful.

Building the Service

With a commitment to building the best event management and fulfillment service available, OnFulfillment—leveraging the resources at their disposal—began making the investments required to deliver a tool the likes of which its customers had never seen.

It began with the OnFulfillment software portal. The company’s IT team developed a unique event workflow module that seamlessly integrated with the existing warehouse software, providing users with the most robust ordering, shipping, reporting, and returns management solution in the industry.

order your evert material onlineThrough the portal, customers could monitor all of their existing event materials and see at a glance where they were at any given time—in inventory, in transit, currently in use at an event, or on its way back to the warehouse. If in transit, either to or from the venue, it was possible to track the shipment to determine anticipated (and actual) arrival dates. The portal even reported whether the item (or items) were out for repairs or cleaning, providing up-to-the-minute status updates.

Through these detailed views, users could easily determine when items were available over the course of a year or more, reserving them as needed to ensure their availability. Event giveaways could also be ordered via the event management module days, weeks, or months ahead, triggering a reorder if quantities dropped below a certain threshold.

event giveaway ideas for any type of corporate trade showOnFulfillment found that the key to making it all work properly was the receiving component. Knowing what quantities were available didn’t help if they weren’t in inventory, and getting them back into inventory required managing shipping both to and from the event. Once items are received at the OnFulfillment warehouse, they are inspected for damage, repaired when needed, thoroughly cleaned, and returned to inventory, where they can be ordered again.

Refining the Software

The critical component of the OnFulfillment event fulfillment and management service is the software. Trade shows, seminars, and conferences run on very tight schedules with demanding—and often inflexible—deadlines. Materials and documentation must be delivered to the right location, at the right time, and quality must be impeccable. When things don’t go according to plan, you must be ready to react to the unexpected.

This means the software must work harmoniously with the operations and the customer support teams. To ensure this level of synchronicity, OnFulfillment built a dedicated plugin for its software platform designed to work exclusively with event orders. Integrated with the warehouse inventory system to provide real-time views into the availability of materials, the plugin also obtains freight quotes based on the required delivery and return dates so that everything can be scheduled at the same time. Users can also upload special instructions regarding delivery windows, special labeling, or any other details the crew may need.

click here for 7 solutions to managing your marketing collateralThe software is already in its second iteration, with Version 3.0 currently under development. If the schedule holds, it should be released in early spring—around the time of OnFulfillment’s Silver Anniversary.

Celebrating 25 Years of Service

As OnFulfillment celebrates its Silver Anniversary—25 years of serving the marketing, training, human resources, and channel marketing needs of customers worldwide—we’ll also continue to look back at our origins and tell the story of our evolution. This exercise not only provides an interesting perspective on our history, it also provides a glimpse into the history of the marketing fulfillment industry as a whole.

Please check back next week for the next chapter in the OnFulfillment story. In the meantime, if you have any marketing or event fulfillment needs we can help with, don’t hesitate to reach out. Just complete the form to request a meeting.

Topics: Event Marketing Materials Company Store Marketing Fulfillment Event Support