St. Louis, MO. – This summer's scorching weather has affected most of the nation from coast-to-coast. From wildlife fires and extreme drought conditions in the South and Southwest to record high temperatures and triple digit heat indices in the Midwest and the East, weather conditions have been downright unbearable at times. It's the kind of dangerous weather that not only is a threat to one's health, but also impacts the business world in more ways than one can image.
Rocky Abbett, Vice President of NOVA Marketing Services in St. Louis, will forever remember last July. A sizeable and ambitious fulfillment project scheduled for May turned tricky and complicated when the client decided to use chocolate as a giveaway item. It became a life lesson when the promotion was delayed two months. Nothing melts faster than chocolate in the heat of summer, but Abbett and the NOVA crew were up to the challenge in delivering thousands of chocolate bars on behalf of a large shipping company that wanted to reward its customers.
"I don't know the reason behind the delay, but our customer decided in early July they wanted this program launched right away," recalls Abbett. "Most chocolate companies ship their product in the spring and summer months in containers with dry ice. We had to assure our client the chocolate would be delivered to their customers in one piece and not resemble fondue when it arrived."
NOVA was responsible for managing four different versions of the candy kits. Some customers received three chocolate bars and a thank you letter. Others got four or five chocolate bars and a nice backpack cooler, in addition to an overnight bag. The top-of-the-line customers were rewarded with a half-dozen bars and the fore mentioned gifts, as well as a coffeemaker with a one pound bag of coffee.
The NOVA team encountered one roadblock after another but proved resilient in finding success at every turn. It began early when the client did not have money in the budget for dry ice packaging of the chocolate. The team brainstormed a few alternative ideas which the client approved, then had to modify the final plan several times to address FDA requirements and other concerns. The end result was an FDA approved solution that came in under budget.
But Abbett said that was only the beginning of the challenges his team would encounter.
"We were concerned our solution would not survive the heat for more than two or three days, which is not a good thing when you're trying to keep chocolate cold. So we immediately ordered seven deep freezers to freeze the alternative dry ice solution, which was delivered to us with an internal temperature of 91 degrees. We knew it would take five days to get the product frozen enough to ship, but we didn't have five days."
It was back to the drawing board for Abbett and Company, but that's where NOVA excels. An immediate partnership was formed with a local frozen food warehouse to quick freeze the product and put the project back on track.
"We staged delivery of the delicious treats and gifts to reach households on specific days," Abbett said "in order to ensure our client could be responsive to the anticipated in-bound calls. Precise coordination of deliveries guaranteed that every package reached its destination within two days. Our client was very satisfied with the results after we moved thousands of pieces. The only complaints received came from the few individuals who were out-of-town when their package was delivered."
Years of experience and commitment to customer satisfaction are the key to NOVA's success. They'll celebrate 20 years in 2012, and their expertise in Kitting and Assembly, POS Assembly and Distribution, In-Store Marketing and Project Management has the company well positioned with its customers, which include Fortune 100 corporations.
NOVA Marketing Services provides on-line order fulfillment, real-time inventory management, kitting and assembly, and direct mail while serving a wide range of national and regional customers in many industries. In 2005, NOVA became a subsidiary of The MATLET Group, a certified Minority Business Enterprise and Corporate Plus member of NMSDC. For more info, visit www.novamktg.com.