With seasonal light displays beginning to shine in theme parks and botanical gardens, in small town squares and along city sidewalks, professionals devoted to creating lighting magic are crossing their fingers that it all goes off without a hitch. No string failures. No GFCI issues. No popcorn lights ruining a moment. The stress level is high. And before this year is over, pros will be plotting how to do things differently to make displays even more spectacular next year. Here are three tips to prevent lighting installation headaches before they happen.
- Find a manufacturer that has available product and proven deliverability
This past year, supply chain issues caused havoc for every industry including decorative lighting. Product arrived late, and if you didn’t order enough, you scrambled to figure out how to find the right lights and complete projects the way you envisioned them. It’s important to work with a supplier that has more than enough product — and the right products — when you need them.
Most decorative lighting products are made in China, which means several months of creation plus weeks of ocean time. If a manufacturer doesn’t forecast accurately, it won’t produce enough to meet your needs.
To make sure customers’ projects can be completed, S4L analyzes trends and uses a robust CRM system and historical bill of materials data to help forecast yearly product numbers. We typically order more than is necessary to make sure there’s product on the shelves for last minute emergencies.
Dedicated regional sales managers who understand their customers’ purchasing habits make sure they know what products are going to be be difficult to find. Then they reach out early to make it easy for customers to place orders and verify inventory.
S4L is able to deliver the right product and the right amount of product season after season.
2. Find a partner to help you achieve your design vision
Designers and installers need support to carry out what are often complicated decorative lighting projects. When you’re seeking a decorative lighting manufacturer, avoid resalers, those who merely purchase product and slap a label on it before delivering it to you. Find a fully integrated manufacturer with creators on staff and a dedicated force of technology experts that can help support your vision and answer your questions.
S4L’s own dedicated staff in China works with individual factories to make sure products are built according to S4L’s specifications. Some manufacturers may cut corners to meet demand; for example, they may swap in lower grade LEDs if higher grade bulbs are unavailable. But S4L staff maintains quality control and bin selects LEDs. That means you get advanced quality LEDs that take longer to degrade and can be color-matched year after year to give your designs a consistent look. No pinkish or bluish hues twinkling in the middle of your warm whites if that’s not what you want.
Once your projects are installed, S4L has technology teams that can help you troubleshoot and help you through the pain points. During peak season, S4L offers tech support for our S4 Interactive line of products. On regular strings, sales representatives will help troubleshoot. IF there’s an issue in the middle of the night, there’s no reason to stumble around in the dark when you can easily schedule a support call for the following morning. (Visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call 470-545-1676.)
3. Find the right products that make installation easier
There are so many boxes to check when it comes to installation, you don’t want to find yourself having to revisit project sites. By choosing the right products you’ll guarantee yourself fewer string failures and fewer emergency visits. S4L experts have thought through installation every step of the way, designing products with the installer in mind.
Start by choosing a higher-grade LED that will last longer. Consider using S4L’s NxG decorative lighting innovation that has a premium LED set in a unique, multi-patented epoxy-filled husk design that keeps water out and current in — so you won’t be called back for string failures or GFCI tripping.
Look for low labor options. For example, consider the couplings. How much time does it take to twist each coupling? S4L has a simple twist-lock coupler, so you can connect five times more string in the same amount of time. And it will prevent accidental separation — again saving you a possible call-back.
And think about packing materials. Be sure to find string that comes wrapped with just a cardboard band and not in a sealed packaged, so you don’t have to open bag after bag after bag. Save time with ball packaging; just toss it on the floor and unroll.
If you’re planning on a labor-intensive project like wrapping the trunk and every branch of a tree, for example, check out S4L’s Lite Snap N Go. The infrastructure can remain in place year-round, and you can quickly customize light features each season from ponytails to curtain drops and beyond. S4L’s most forthcoming innovation, King of Strings, will make it even easier to change out entire color palettes with just the click of a button. Ultimately, creating a relationship with the right manufacturer that has knowledge, expertise and support will set you up for success season after season.