The Time is Now
There is no question that the subject of product safety and compliance has begun to be mainstream in the promotional products industry. I'd be remiss if I didn't, right off the top, offer a tip of the hat to our colleagues at the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) and their Product Safety Aware Initiative. They certainly have made every effort to elevate the conversation amongst its members.
At the same time, here at QCA, it's our job to have conversations every day about what it takes to do the right thing for the right people-and that is our collective end-user clients. While I still feel a little foot-dragging from some of the old guard, I think the tide is turning toward the recognition that the buyer is more than just a signature on the purchase order, that the job of purchasing has become as much about protecting the brand as it is about promoting the brand. To that we say, "The time is now."
For those suppliers and distributors looking to work with bigger clients, there really is only one choice. And that is the decision to either proactively run toward the problem, or run away from it-and perhaps away from the client in general. Make no mistake-when meeting with a client and discussing their promotional products needs, it is not easy to lead with a discussion of product safety. The issue of safety is an ever-changing landscape. It's complicated and-equally as important when it comes to conversations with clients-it likely does not involve the lowest-priced item when it is time to source products that suit their needs. But I believe more and more people (and, by association, your clients and prospective clients), are realizing that when it comes to doing the right thing, it's either "Pay me now" or "Pay me later."
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.