Promotional Products: The Importance of Transparency and the Supply Chain
I had a chance to spend time recently with Stephanie Leader, president and CEO of Columbus, Ohio-based distributor LeaderPromos, and we spoke about the importance of transparency and the supply chain as it relates to promotional products. By virtue of our mission at QCA, we focus a great deal on the collaborative effort between suppliers and distributors to present a transparent supply chain to end-users who are increasingly asking more difficult questions. Stephanie provided some valuable insights about what she sees from, and with, her customers. Here's our conversation:
Transparency is the new normal with promotional products clients. What do you think is the most important thing a supplier can do to help you along that path?
Our clients are asking for more transparency. Our suppliers need to understand that if clients want transparency with regard to the supply chain, our focus is on delivering just that. And if suppliers don't understand that, and aren't proactive about being able to deliver transparency, they're quite likely not suppliers we would work with.
That's why we're supporters of QCA accreditation, but that's not the only thing I want to discuss. In short, though, the accreditation is for the process that includes suppliers' factories, corporate facilities, and supply chain so that we have the necessary information we need. It's both for our own peace of mind about the integrity of the supply chain, and peace of mind and assurances that we can pass along to our clients.
Some suppliers struggle with the whole transparency issue, for a variety of reasons, but often because they often don't want to give up information about their chosen manufacturers and their processes. That's obviously their prerogative, but it's a choice that comes with no small amount of risk. By comparison, the people who we do business with, they're all about accountability throughout the supply chain. In fact, they actually come in and they perform their own audits, in addition to outside audits or accreditation.
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.