Collaboration Always Delivers The Best Solution
This week, I had the opportunity to participate in a Top 40 distributor's client roundtable event. This distributor clearly values compliance and went through the expense of bringing in a number of its very large corporate clients to specifically discuss the issue of product safety and compliance. Although education was provided and many notes were taken, I believe the greatest benefits of the event were the candid open dialogue between all the parties and the obvious spirit of collaboration that was evident as we discussed the best ways to ensure product safety and compliance solutions meet the needs of corporate America.
The message was clear: Fortune 1000 companies are fully aware of the need to protect their brands, and as such, they expect their distributor partners to deliver safe and compliant products. Many have experienced a product recall or corporate social responsibility issue, which required an enormous amount of time and effort to address but will never truly go away. These companies learned the hard way that once an event happens, it lives on in infamy on the Internet.
Thus, the question continues to be: What is the best way to approach this challenge? Unfortunately, there's no easy answer.
Supply chain executives in these Fortune 1000 companies have repeatedly brought up one area of extreme frustration: the absence of a central repository for product-level compliance requirements. Where does one find product information and requirements? Naturally, the answer depends on the product.
For example, you may find direction in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), your product may have FDA requirements, and the chemicals in your product could be on a California Prop. 65 or hazardous substance list, or the product may be included in ASTM standards, to name a few. It gets even more complex if state attorney generals have determined state requirements for your products like some have started to do with BPA.