2018 Top 50 Distributors: DiscountMugs.com’s Sai Koppaka on Overcoming Inertia
Each year, Print+Promo compiles the Top 50 distributors into one comprehensive list. Our top earners for 2018 have implemented traditional cornerstones of business success to keep their firms healthy, but, more importantly, they understand that even the fanciest digital inkjet press or e-commerce system can't replace the value of relationships. These distributorships have long abandoned the concept of "product peddler," instead opting for open communication styles grounded in the best interests of their customers. We asked executives from six of our top distributors to talk about their recent accomplishments, future goals and ways they clear their mind. Here is an excerpt from our discussion with No. 4-ranked DiscountMugs.com.
What was your company’s biggest accomplishment over the last year?
Sai Koppaka: We spent a lot of time streamlining and automating our post-order process to improve lead times with a goal of shipping every order within 24 hours. As a result of our technology investments, customers get a digital proof within 15 minutes of placing an order on the website. There is still work to be done, but we are proud of all the changes that help our customers get high-quality orders fast.
What is your company’s top priority for 2019?
SK: We are investing a lot in our website user experience, with a goal of making the design and ordering process as simple and intuitive as possible for our customers.
Why do you love the print and promotional products industry?
SK: The promotional products industry is a little behind the curve on e-commerce and technology adoption. A lot of our team is from other industries, and we love bringing fresh and diverse ideas to help get us on par with other industries that are further along on the e-commerce curve.
What do you see as your greatest challenge as Discount Mugs’ leader both today and moving forward? How do you intend to overcome these obstacles?
SK: The greatest challenge is always inertia. Unless we continuously challenge the norms and evolve, we risk obsolescence or we provide an incentive to new competitors [to] enter the space and improve on what we are doing. We intend to overcome inertia by constantly learning from innovators in other industries, executing a great strategic plan and taking calculated risks.
With all the stress that the modern business world brings, how do you decompress from work?
SK: Our son just turned one. We love spending all our free time with him, and we love to travel whenever possible as a family.
For more in this top distributors profile series, click here to download a free PDF resource containing all six interviews.