Have We Met?

By: Jeff Jacobs

Recently I attended a great end-user event at Shumsky. The QCA Distributor Advocacy Council member gathered folks from broad industry categories, including research software providers, insurance brokers, law firms, transportation and logistics companies, property management services, city government, and publishing houses. We collectively spent a couple of days meeting at the home of the Dayton Dragons baseball team, Fifth Third Field in downtown Dayton, Ohio, checking out new products and ideas.

Shumsky was kind enough to invite me to speak to their guests as part of the program, both from the QCA perspective on safe and compliant products, and from a former end-user’s perspective on brand protection. Every time I get to share ideas on the transparency of the entire supply chain, I look forward to the opportunity to connect all the dots.

Which got me thinking: have we met? Well, maybe not literally, but have you taken the time to “meet up” with the basics of why it’s a good idea to source from QCA accredited promotional suppliers? I spoke to the end-users not just about the “right way” to do business in promotional products, but rather, about the concept of simply doing the right thing for them-protecting their brand. If protecting the integrity and reputation of your brand is as important to you as mitigating risk, an easy way to learn more about about how you can do just that is to check out a series of white papers we’ve produced called the QCA “Knowledge Series.”

Mitigating risk by sourcing safe products up front is exponentially a better alternative than enduring the cost and heartbreak of a recall, lawsuit, public relations nightmare and of course, the loss of consumer goodwill from a failed product after it happens. Distributors shoulder a tremendous risk when the customer’s growing expectations of safety and compliance ride with them. It’s what we refer to as the “new normal.” The need to source safe products is not simply going to go away or continue to be something that can be ignored. And that drumbeat for safety and compliance in our industry? It’s only getting louder. Consumers want to be safe-and they have every right to expect to be protected by the people they do business with. Which, of course, works its way right back up that supply chain to each and every one of us.

When it comes to promotional products, the end-user clients in today’s marketplace likely wear many hats within their organizations. It’s a given that in most instances, they don’t have time to fully understand all there is to know about the shifting environment of product safety regulations. “Just tell me it’s safe,” is the expectation from the client. They don’t need to know how, but they very much want to understand why. The role of Shumsky, as well as with the eleven other members of the Distributor Advocacy Council, is twofold. They want to ensure they are getting the right documentation from their vendors on an ongoing basis while sourcing from QCA-accredited suppliers, and at the same time, they are passionate about helping other suppliers understand the importance of safety and compliance by using accreditation as one parameter for preferred supplier status.

About the Author:

jeff_jacobsJeff 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.