Raising the Bar
TG: ... It’s not just about having a policy in place and saying, “Well, now we have a policy in place.” It is such an intricate and expensive structure that has to be put in place, it actually forces you as a company to live by this structure and this certification. It forces you as a company to change the way you are bringing product in. It’s not just about saying “We’re certified now.” It’s about having the structures in place—you have to have the checks and balances. That’s what is being audited, that you adhere to those checks and balances and not allow [bad] product to come in.
AE: All of this is process-oriented. The mission of the alliance is not to outline what is a good quality bag, or what is a good quality T-shirt. The mission is to make sure the processes and procedures are in place. So whether you’re making a bag and I’m making a T-shirt, do we both have processes in place to make sure the quality we set in [manufacturing is being met]? Does the product comply with federal safety regulations? That’s what is great about this, it isn’t product-specific, it’s process- and procedural-specific.
JD: Absolutely, if you have the right process—you can detect and deter any mistakes from taking place. If you have been in this business a long time and you have been doing the right amount of testing—you’ll find mistake opportunities in the manufacturing process. That’s why we set up the right processes, and the right testing, and the right compliances, and the right auditing, in order to ... try to detect and deter any mistakes from hitting the market place.
PM: You mention [within your press release]
that the highest level of certification requires self-evaluation and you’ve got outside auditing companies coming in. ... Where are these auditor companies coming from?