Product Safety: Are We Missing The Point?
Fortune 1000 customers are becoming more proficient at vetting their promotional products supply chains, and this is where the opportunity wrapped up in the product safety challenge lies. Companies that do the best job of providing proactive, comprehensive compliance solutions stand out from the crowd. They differentiate themselves in an industry where it is truly challenging to differentiate. This type of differentiation allows companies to better meet their Fortune 1000 client needs, which results in enhanced relationships, greater confidence, growing trust and reliance, and ultimately in increased revenues. Each week, QCA Accredited Suppliers report feedback from their distributor customers indicating they are seeing a growing number of Fortune 1000 customers who are making compliance and product safety an even greater factor in their sourcing decisions.
Granted, not every customer cares. Although product safety should be a concern for everyone, many main-street-America end-buyers do not recognize the potential damage to their livelihood as a result of putting their company name on a bad product. Ironically, smaller businesses may actually have more at risk as they may not have the financial resources to survive a product liability lawsuit.
In the current business climate, how would our industry weather a product safety injury such as the infamous Reebok charms? How many follow-up articles would be published about companies eliminating promotional products from their marketing budgets? And how many more hoops would those companies who survive then have to jump through to make even the simplest sale?
Rather than fighting this issue, the promotional products industry can enhance our reputation by embracing it. Our customers have choices. Let's give them options that seek to cause no harm and enhance their brands rather than putting their hard-won brand equity—and the future of our industry—at risk.
Brent Stone is executive director - compliance 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.