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Providing peace of mind

The merchandise industry has to take the initiative to stay on top of product compliance. Seth Barnett of the PPAI explains how they’re doing it in the US.

As we progress into a more globalised world that continues to demand more of products in the marketplace, the promotional products industry is not free of the scrutiny of regulation, product responsibility and social compliance.

In the United States, demand for products to be produced and sourced from compliant companies is ever growing. It is necessary for all those who have a stake in our industry worldwide to understand the value of social and product compliance programmes. This is not exclusive to industry suppliers. In fact, the knowledge and comfort that comes with providing properly produced products helps ensure the effectiveness and longevity of our industry.

Many suppliers and distributors in the UK and in the US have voluntarily adopted product safety and compliance programmes that they have been able to use as a way
of differentiating themselves from their competition. While many industry companies have employees who dedicate their time exclusively to continually auditing their supply chain, many others have been able to take part in protecting their product safety and compliance without this level of commitment. 

Some of the most effective safety programmes come down to asking the right questions within the supply chain. A distributor must understand where its products are sourced and take pride in that knowledge. Further, it can use this knowledge to drive home product value to its client. Sure, the threat of a product recall always looms, but there are measures that can be taken to protect against this. It is also worth noting that a recall can affect everyone in the supply chain, not just the sourcing point. The more research that is done about an individual product’s journey to the end user, the better the chance that the product will be from a safe source that produces quality and compliant products. 

Over the past two years, Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) has developed its own industry compliance programme – Product Safety Aware – to give peace of mind to those doing business within this channel. The programme has been adopted by suppliers and distributors as a means of providing the tools necessary to ask important safety and compliance questions and creating accountability within this unique supply chain. 

In fact, this programme has been identified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a government body providing national safety accountability, as the standard after which industries striving for a compliant environment should model their own efforts.

Anyone operating within this channel is encouraged to ask questions about the source of their products. Where does the product originate? Are the materials safe for those for whom the product is intended? Is their proper documentation from each step in the supply chain? There is no company too small to ask these questions. It is also not necessary to wait for government intervention to begin asking these questions. We must all pride ourselves on delivering a unifi ed compliant environment. As our industry becomes more global, the footprint that we leave behind will continue to increase in size. As part of our progress, we should continue to operate as a safe, socially compliant and resourceful industry.

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