Raising the Bar
QCA is a very serious organization run by a very serious lady, Dee (Denise) Fenton. She is the executive director [and] we were fortunate to have her join and run QCA. She is extremely knowledgeable in this business. She is extremely knowledgeable in all the different aspects of manufacturing. Her career is highlighted by authoring, setting up and running Wal-Mart’s product and social compliance program out in the Far East. So we’ve got a great leader, she understands the mission and she’s taken it as a personal goal that this is going to work.
TG: And she’s tough. She’s rejected two of our SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) already and made ... my staff rewrite them. So, even though we are the founding members, she’s not just saying, “That’s acceptable,” we had to go rewrite them.
PM: What are the actual steps in getting certification so you can have that seal?
JD: First, you have to [answer] prequalification questionnaires. You have to map the whole organization. You have to map your whole manufacturing base. You have to map your SOPs. And then you go in for a review. [But] before anything ever happens, you have to get your full set of what you should be [doing], then comes the auditing and the certification. The auditing process: Dee with third-party testing companies [goes] into your facilities, both here stateside—any domestic decorating, any overseas factories, and to a representation of your factories to ensure that your SOPs are alive and breathing.
PM: So what is it that they are looking for? Product safety, social responsibility? ...
AE: It’s five parts. Product quality, product safety, social compliance, environmental stewardship and supply-chain safety. The overall basis of the self-assessment is [to ask the questions] “Do you have policies in place?” and “Do you have ways to enforce those policies?” It’s very intensive.