You Can't Test In Safety
To meet end-buyer safety and compliance requirements, distributors must use suppliers that have a proactive, comprehensive compliance program that includes testing as a component of the program. Suppliers must not only understand the regulations for both products and the decoration methods but also do the required testing before those items hit their inventories.
Suppliers must also have supply chain transparency and control along with checks and balances to ensure that the actual product manufactured matches the product submitted for testing. Don't fall prey to a "Golden Sample"-that perfect sample item a factory submits for testing to ensure passing test results.
In any quality or compliance program, it's your process and the ability to control this process that gives you your desired results-safe quality products. In sourcing as well as manufacturing, there is truth to the old adage, "Garbage In, Garbage Out." You cannot test product safety into a item; you must have a process that manages product safety in your products from the beginning.
Brent Stone is executive director - operations 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.