The Time is Now
You can lead them down the path of buying safe and compliant products that are not the lowest price point items, but which will offer protection to their brand, to their reputation, and to their end-users. Or you can compete on price, sell them low price, potentially risk-laden promotional products and perhaps both have to pay the price for that decision later.
In the long run, it is exponentially more prudent to work to convince your customers to invest a little more in safe products up front, rather than rolling the dice when it comes to risk. Making sure your conversations with clients include the benefits of opting for safe and compliant products over less expensive and potentially less safe ones sure beats having an end-user client embroiled in a recall, associated public relations nightmares, possible lawsuits, and a definite loss of customer goodwill. These conversations can go a long way toward building strong, lasting relationships with your clients that are mutually beneficial. And safe.
Fran Ford, president at QCA-accredited supplier Castelli North America, Sparks, Nev., points to the longtime industry barrier to entry problem. "Today, we are our own threat to our existence, little emphasis is put on existing supplier members to prove their social or environmental stewardship," Ford said. "Until we start tightening the requirements for entry into our business, we will continue to put 'a loaded gun' into the wrong hands."
It's hard work to deliver consistently safe and compliant products. If it was easy, everybody would do it. If it was easy, it also wouldn't provide market differentiation and a real chance to get a leg up on competitors when it comes to end-user clients who are increasingly interested in protecting their brands.
This week we added our 33rd active accredited supplier to the QCA membership. We're proud to announce the addition of Mason, Ohio-based Vitronic, a top 40 supplier with more than 100 years of experience. "Vitronic recognizes the importance of managing the supply chain and ensuring product quality, safety, and social compliance," said Lori Kates, president of Vitronic. "With state and federal regulations being updated, as well as higher standards being demanded by our client base, we knew it was a good business decision to dedicate the resources necessary to complete the challenging QCA Accreditation Program."
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.