Promotional Products: The Importance of Transparency and the Supply Chain
How does transparency impact your customers?
For our customers, transparency makes all the difference. For them, knowing our processes and the steps we take ahead of the curve, and that the suppliers we work with have been audited, and that we only affiliate with these types of companies helps earn their confidence and trust. They get a real sense of what our focus is as a company and understand that we care about social responsibility, the integrity of the supply chain and doing the right things to protect them. For us, this is a point of differentiation in the promotional products industry as a whole and a compelling reason that clients choose us over many of the other distributor options available. They know we care as much about supply chain transparency as they do and they know we'll never do anything that would put them at risk. Our commitment to transparency leads to their peace of mind.
What's the significance of the audit process for your clients?
Our clients know that when it comes to audits, we're not one-and-done. We are laser focused on this on an ongoing basis. We're very aware of the fact that it's critical to make sure that what was audited is actually the factory that is going to be making the product, and this is an area that we have to make sure our suppliers are upholding on an ongoing basis.
For instance, a supplier might have gone through the QCA audit process, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they might not pick up another factory along the way, one that hasn't been audited. We don't have any way of knowing that, and that's why we don't stop with one audit. We very much feel that the onus is on us to continue to audit our suppliers, regardless of the fact that they received accreditation at one point, so we leave nothing to chance in that regard.
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.