Collaboration Always Delivers The Best Solution
While it's advantageous for our industry to offer a wide range of products, it cuts both ways. We have endless options to advance a Fortune 1000 brand, but we also have endless complexity when it comes to ensuring these items are safe and compliant.
Distributors that can help their customers navigate this difficulty are rapidly growing their value. While hard pressed to be an expert on every product they show and sell to customers, distributors do play an invaluably critical role in vetting the suppliers that provide these products. This is especially important when it comes to core competency. See what I mean in this previous blog post. More and more, savvy distributors are turning to those expert suppliers that have established core competencies and have the ability to meet the end buyers' needs.
Fortune 1000 companies are trying to do the morally and legally correct thing in order to protect their brands, with some even outsourcing the management of their compliance programs. Although well intentioned and perhaps less expensive than having their own internal team of experts, these outsourced compliance programs often result in operationally centric processes with an over reliance on testing and auditing. The result is a compliance program that isn't comprehensive, which leaves the door open for risk.
Instead, many are finding that partnering with the right distributor that is, in turn, partnering with the right suppliers and then making sure the proper checks and balances are in place is the best path. These Fortune 1000 companies are finding that a new level of collaboration is the key, and partnering with strength not only improves their compliance results, but it can also do so in a timely and cost effective manner.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.qcalliance.org for more information.