Safety and Compliance: Run Toward the Problem, Not Away
A topic that's top of mind for both brands and promotional products distributors and sales teams is safety and compliance. So when the discussion turns to delivering safe and compliant promotional products, and specifically how difficult it is to do, I usually go with this response:
"You can either run toward the problem, or you can run away from it."
It really is that simple. While many opt to bury their heads and not think about the risks that are associated with dealing with unsafe or noncompliant products, that tide is most definitely changing. This is driven by a number of things. Brands want to do the right thing by buying safe and compliant products, to protect their customers as well as their brand reputation. And consumers increasingly want products they know are manufactured safely and with a view toward corporate social responsibility. They want to trust the people they're doing business with, because that matters.
As these attitudes become more prevalent and as compliance and social responsibility move to the fore, suppliers and distributors in the promotional products industry are now starting to run toward the problem. They want to do the right thing for their clients, which also turns out to be the right thing for their companies, and their reputations as well.
The role of a savvy promotional products distributor these days is focused on helping clients clearly understand the potential dangers based on the risk assessment of products they are considering sourcing. This also involves helping to educate clients about the reality that safe and compliant product may not be the least expensive choice now, but in the long run, it's a much better choice than recalls, lawsuits and potential brand damage. Having product safety as a key component of the sourcing and selection discussion is coming more into the mainstream and that's a good thing. In fact, it's vital to the sustainability of our industry.
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.