“No man is an island.” This truism – that no one is self-sufficient and everyone relies on others – applies in business as much as it does in life.

In promo, we see it in the relationship between suppliers and distributors and the strength of the industry’s supply chain. Suppliers and distributors must trust that their business partners in the promotional products community will follow through and meet their obligations.

PPAI 100’s leading companies have shown that they can be counted on. Among suppliers, PPAI 100’s Industry Faith metric hinges on the company’s SAGE Rating performance. PPAI recognizes its technology partner’s system as an accurate measure of a company’s reliability, reputation and overall performance within the promotional products industry. Suppliers who have earned a SAGE A+ and A rating reflect the high level of confidence and trust that industry distributors have in the company.

“An A+ or A rating indicates that the company has consistently demonstrated excellence in various aspects, such as product quality, customer service, on-time delivery and ethical business practices,” says Bille Forman, SAGE’s vice president of marketing. “It shows that the company is highly dependable and capable of meeting the needs and expectations of distributors and other businesses.”

Distributors look to suppliers who have earned clients’ confidence when contemplating purchases from companies they have never done business with. Reflecting marketplace feedback, PPAI 100’s Industry Faith category provides a valuable tool to distributors evaluating potential business relationships.

Forman adds, “In essence, earning these ratings reflects the culmination of efforts to maintain high standards and consistently deliver value, which ultimately strengthens the level of faith and trust that industry distributors have in the company.”

Suppliers who performed well in PPAI 100’s Industry Faith measure each took its own path to earning their successes. PPAI Media spoke with a few leading PPAI 100 suppliers on the philosophies and practices that guide them.

“HPG’s family of brands has a broad range of products and capabilities, but their commitment to serving the customer is always the same,” says Trina Bicknell, chief revenue officer at HPG, the No. 6 supplier in the 2024 PPAI 100. “HPG has deliberately only acquired well-established brands that share that culture of caring, so we nurture that while paying close attention to customer feedback to find new ways to improve.

“We are delighted to see that effort reflected in our SAGE ratings, and I’d like to thank all of the distributors who took the time to let us know how we’re performing for them.”

No. 2 on the 2024 PPAI 100, alphabroder cites its objective to be its clients’ most trusted and valued supplier of branded products.

“We know that’s a very lofty goal and one that is challenging to reach every day and with every transaction, but our team is constantly driving towards it,” says Laura Turner, alphabroder’s vice president of customer experience. “This vision is supported by our ‘icare’ values of integrity, customer care, accountability, respect and excellence, which we use to guide all our interactions, both internally and with our customers.

“We have also introduced customer experience as a strategic priority and have a team to execute surveys and programs that help us hear the voice of our customers and take action on their feedback.”

A strong showing in Industry Faith, ultimately, relies on honest, forthright connections between suppliers and distributors.

“We know we don’t do everything right, but we work hard to listen, engage with our icare values and continuously improve wherever we can,” says Turner. “That’s the only way to build and maintain trust, and we’re extremely grateful that so many of our customer partners have put their trust in us. It’s through these valued partnerships that we all succeed together.”