Executive director - Quality Certification Alliance (QCA)

Compliance Chat

By Jeff Jacobs

About Jeff

Jeff is executive director of the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA). Prior to that, he was responsible for developing safe and compliant brand merchandise for Michelin. He has worked with brands in publishing, consumer products, broadcasting and film for over 30 years. Follow Jeff on Twitter, and QCA on Facebook.


Jeff's Rant

Jeff Solomon, MAS
ADD…on an (A)
Sep 18, 2014

In the promotional marketing industry, we know what an (A) represents. If we compare an (A) to ADD, (Attention Deficit...

Beyond Words

Rebecca Kollmann, MAS+
Create an Experience
Sep 15, 2014

There are times when we do everything we can to reach our goal as quickly and as effortlessly as possible....

Kiwi's Coaching Corner

Paul  Kiewiet
Focus or Discipline?
Sep 11, 2014

A great many of my coaching clients ask for help with focus. They are easily distracted and stray from doing...

Not So Technically Speaking

Dale Denham
3 Reasons Promotional Products Work Better Than Most Online Advertising
Sep 9, 2014

Promotional products cannot be blocked but online advertising can and is. In fact, the blocking of ads on websites is...

Million Dollar Mindset with Greg Muzzillo

Greg Muzzillo
"You Don't Have to be Great"
Sep 8, 2014

That's right. "You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." I love...

Quick Thoughts by Cliff Quicksell, MAS

Cliff Quicksell, MAS
What Clients Really Want—It’s Not the Best Price!
Aug 25, 2014

A few years back I was speaking at Fruit of the Loom’s national sales meeting, I had the pleasure of...

Selling Smarter

Rosalie Marcus
My Very Personal Connection to the ALS Challenge
Aug 19, 2014

You’ve probably seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge all over social media and TV. Perhaps you’ve taken it. For me,...


Kyle Richardson
The Best Laid Plans
Jul 11, 2014

Why it's always smart to keep a planner with your schedule and important documents, and why it's never smart to...

Promotional Fashionista

Colleen McKenna
5 Soccer Promotions for After the World Cup
Jul 1, 2014

Studies show that Americans prefer soccer to NASCAR. Here are five items to sell to soccer fans....

Mike's Blog

Michael Cornnell
Interview with Jason Black, CEO of Top Distributor Boundless Network
May 19, 2014

Ranking #19 on the Top 50 List, Black shares his thoughts on the future of the industry and what has...

Be Bold, Be Different, Be Memorable

Rick Greene, MAS
Source Your Inner Iron Man
Jun 11, 2014

Be a hero. Look for opportunities to swoop in and save the day. Source your inner Thor or Wonder Woman....

The Hot Button

Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS
"How It's Made" Can Make You More
Jun 11, 2014

The show "How Its Made" is celebrating its 22nd season on television. How can we be a hit, season after season,...

Be Dazzled

Elise Hacking Carr
Got Control Issues?
May 14, 2014

Does chaos define you? How you respond to certain situations says a lot about your character. Here are five quotes...

Guest Blogs

Guest Contributor
The Anatomy of Emotional Marketing
Apr 11, 2014

You've probably heard the old adage: "It's the thought that counts." This could not be any truer, especially in business. When...

Big Picture Promo

Matt Kaspari, CAS
Meeting Clients Where They Are
Oct 24, 2013

Promotional marketing is at its best when it empowers a client’s brand, meets his or her objectives and fits within...

My Two Cents

Rick Brenner
For Promotional Product Sales, Protect Your Client's Brand
Jun 3, 2013

Whether you are selling to a global brand like Nike or to your local YMCA, no single asset is more...

Friday Sales-thought of the Week!

Dale Limes, MAS
Reverse Engineer Your Sales Success
Mar 18, 2013

Steven Covey reminds us that when setting goals ... "Start with the end in mind." That is to visualize the...

Editor's Notes

Nichole Stella
The Perfect Match
Mar 5, 2013

The Super Bowl has also become the Ad Bowl, where brands duke it out to see who has the funniest,...

The Sales Challenge

Bill Farquharson
Think and Succeed
May 29, 2012

What would happen if you woke up in the morning and your first thought was, "I am never going to...

Creating More Purposeful Sales Conversations

Lisa Leitch, CSP, MAS
Under 100 Days to Achieve 2011 Goals
Oct 20, 2011

It's hard to believe, but there are fewer than 100 days left to achieve 2011 goals! Are you on track...

The Product Safety Journey


Like success and life, product safety and compliance programs are about the journey rather than the destination. Compliance programs are not a black-or-white, pass-or-fail, all-or-nothing exercise. I've heard plenty of skepticism from people on the veracity of other companies' efforts when perhaps an inward focus on what is actually within their control is warranted. Who knows, maybe those comments are a defense mechanism that allows them to deflect attention away from their own potential shortcomings.

I regularly hear questions or concerns about those companies who are on the product safety journey. Perhaps these comments are misplaced. Rather, we should be not only giving credit to companies that admit they need to get better in an area so critically important to Fortune 1000 companies, but also applauding the fact that these companies are actually doing something about it. Product safety and compliance efforts are not easy, nor are they inexpensive. They carry with them the associated costs and pain that so often accompanies meaningful change. These companies are making our industry better, and we should be encouraging their efforts to improve themselves and build the overall reputation of our industry.

A robust compliance program is a pretty good window into the overall quality of an organization. These programs are a reflection of a company's ongoing commitment to you, its customer. They also provide key insights into the overall quality and character of the company you are choosing to do business with. Does the company value the relationship it has with you? Does it value the relationship you have with your customers? Is it focused on growing your business? Or does the company just want to sell you more stuff? Seriously! Is it really an unfair expectation that the products you sell do no harm? That the products do not jeopardize the health or safety of recipients? We're supposed to be enhancing our clients' brands, not putting their brand reputation at risk.

If a company values the relationship, it will be passionate about making you look better to your customers. It will be committed to being better than the average in the things it does. It will be embracing change as a path to long-term success rather than fighting to maintain the same old tired offering. It will have a comprehensive product safety and compliance program, and it will be able to both quickly demonstrate the program exists to you and explain why it is important to your customers. The company will have product liability insurance and a process in place that prevents the insurance from ever having to be used.

Having a rigorous product safety and compliance program is not unlike an insurance policy. It's hard to argue that car insurance is not important. Many states require it as a condition of getting a driver's license in an effort to protect us from ourselves. But having car or health insurance does not mean that something bad is guaranteed from happening. It just means that if something does happen, it doesn't destroy everything that we have worked so hard to build. It means that you are more responsible and have some protection from the knucklehead texting on the freeway next to you. I choose to align myself with those companies who are committed to exceeding their customer's expectations on compliance matters and am excited about the rapidly growing ground swell of distributors who are now voting in support of compliance programs via their purchase orders.

To me, the critical issue is that these companies have cultures that value product safety and are taking steps to improve themselves.  The question shouldn't be whether they are perfect or not.  The question should be why aren't you, as demonstrated by your actions equally committed to meeting the demand for safe and compliant products?

Brent Stone is executive director - operations for Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), the promotional products industry's only independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping companies provide safe products. A Six Sigma Black Belt, Stone has more than 25 years of in-depth supply chain management experience with extensive expertise in process design, development, improvement and management. He can be reached at or visit for more information.

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