Brand Safety: It’s All About The Customer

Brand Safety: It’s All About The Customer

As one of the largest suppliers in the promotional products industry, BIC Graphic offers a comprehensive product assortment from its BIC®, KOOZIE®, Atchison®, Triumph® and JAFFA® lines plus a number of retail brands such as myCharge®, Cool Gear®, HoMedics®, Cocoon® and Leatherman®. In addition to owning five manufacturing facilities across the United States (three in Florida and two in Minnesota), the company also operates a highly strategic product sourcing operation in Hong Kong and mainland China. In this week’s Partners In Brand Safety conversation, we chat with BIC Graphic’s Francine Dupuis, vice president of legal, and Anita Campbell, compliance specialist, about their efforts to consistently deliver brand safety across such a vast number of products and the importance of putting the customer first.   1. What does brand safety mean to you? While BIC Graphic’s brand reputation is very important us, we first think of the brand safety of our distributors and their end-buyer customers. They pay for our products and services because they trust that we will deliver them with the highest level of quality, safety and regulatory compliance possible using a thoroughly vetted supply chain for social responsibility, security and environmental stewardship. It is all about the customer!   2. How has QCA Accreditation benefitted/improved your company? QCA Accreditation, and our constant efforts to maintain our accreditation, provide us with a solid foundation for our quality and compliance programs. While QCA’s audit requirements are rigorous in their own right, we do not stop there. One key benefit of the QCA program is that it never ends. Once we complete one year’s audits, we begin preparing for next year’s audits.   3. Did you have any misconceptions about QCA prior to applying that were cleared up through the process? Our initial misconception about QCA is that we would be required to follow QCA’s requirements, which might not be the same as our internal program. We learned, however, that QCA’s program is flexible to address the circumstances of each supplier. A hard goods supplier’s operations will be different from an apparel supplier’s operations. QCA tailors its program to meet yours. 4. What did you find most challenging about the process and how did you overcome/address this? Our initial accreditation was a real challenge. It took us about ten months to prepare for and successfully complete all of the self-assessments and audits. Once completed, however, we had a set of...

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QCA And ZOOMCatalog Announce Strategic “Brand Safety” Partnership

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (May 1, 2018) – Quality Certification Alliance (QCA) and ZOOMcatalog have partnered to help industry distributors easily search catalogs from suppliers with verified responsible sourcing best practices. ZOOMcatalog has created a page that allows distributors to refine their search results to only show catalogs from those suppliers that currently hold the honor of QCA Accreditation. As a bonus, distributors will be able to create custom catalogs for their clients that only contain products from accredited sources.   “Understanding the importance of product safety and overall responsible sourcing best practices in general, we are excited to make it even easier for our distributors to find products from suppliers accredited by QCA. Almost every QCA accredited supplier has their customizable catalogs and flyers available in our search engine, so allowing people to search across only those suppliers was a no-brainer” says Bryony Zasman, co-founder, and CPO of ZOOMcatalog.   “As industry distributors ramp up their responsible sourcing efforts, they are also seeking effective ways to manage all the compliance complexities better. As a result, suppliers that are “Accredited” by QCA are becoming the sought-after solution,” says Tim Brown, MAS, Executive Director of Operations at QCA. “Accredited supplier processes are routinely validated by independent third-parties to assure ethical and legal compliance throughout their supply chains. This gives distributors and end-buyers the assurances they are looking for while, at the same time, allowing them to focus less on regulation and more on growing their business. Partnering with ZOOMcatalog, now makes it even easier for distributors to locate products manufactured by suppliers with proven track records of going above and beyond the typical brand safety norms.”   For more information about QCA Accreditation and to inquire about the process and benefits received, visit http://www.qcalliance.org/.   For more information about ZOOMcatalog, visit www.zoomcatalog.com or contact us at hello@zoomcatalog.com.       About QCA: Chicago, Illinois-based Quality Certification Alliance is an independent, not-for-profit, accreditation organization whose mission is to elevate the standards by which industry firms provide consistently safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious merchandise. QCA Accreditation is granted to promotional products suppliers who complete an independent third-party audit and comply with stringent standards, that are based upon a combination of state and national laws, international standards and industry-accepted best practices recognized for their strength and effectiveness.   About ZOOMcatalog: Boulder, Colorado-based ZOOMcatalog is the Promotional Product Industry’s Hub for online catalogs, flyers...

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Brand Safety Is More Than Protecting Your Company Name

Brand Safety Is More Than Protecting Your Company Name

Brand safety can mean different things to different people depending on their company philosophy and unique business situations. However, in general terms, consistently delivering safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious merchandise is at the foundation.   In this week’s Partners In Brand Safety conversation, we chat with Christi Policht, BAG MAKERS’ global operations manager/product safety specialist, about why brand safety extends beyond merely protecting the company name and how independent third-party accreditation has been a guiding force. QCA Accreditation has helped them generate the documentation necessary to prove they have world-class processes and procedures in place designed to protect all those who come into contact with their products–and the promotional products industry as a whole. This is no small task, given that the company produces more than 55 million bags each year through flexographic, hot stamping and screen-printing services.   1. What does brand safety mean to you? BAG MAKERS is committed to ensuring that the bags we manufacture, import and imprint conform to the highest degree of established domestic and international standards regarding product safety, social compliance, environmental stewardship, product quality and supply chain security. Brand safety means protecting our name, all those who come into contact with our products and our industry. Product safety and compliance are very important to BAG MAKERS, and we believe that it is our duty to provide safe, compliant products to our customers.   2. How has QCA Accreditation benefitted/improved your company? We are so grateful for QCA! Back in 2010 when we started the process of becoming accredited, we had many of the required processes/procedures in place, but they were not documented. Part of QCA Accreditation is getting things documented. Being QCA Accredited requires us to stay abreast of changes in regulations, etc. so we do not have to play catch up. It is nice to be able to go to product safety/compliance conferences and have peace of mind, (i.e., “We already do that!”). We have all that our customers are looking for regarding documentation and are not scrambling to pull so mething together. It’s nice to be able to say we are Q CA Accredited, and distributors recognize this. 3. How difficult/rigorous did you find the program to be? I always refer to becoming QCA Accredited as a complete revamping of the way we did things. The program is not difficult, but it is rigorous. QCA is there to help...

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DistributorCentral and QCA Announce Strategic Partnership

    Gardner, Kansas— DistributorCentral and Quality Certification Alliance (QCA) have partnered to help distributors quickly and easily find products from companies who have QCA certified processes.  DistributorCentral has created a filter that allows distributors to narrow down their search results to only show products from suppliers with QCA accreditation with just one click. “We are excited to partner with DistributorCentral to further our mission of brand safety through responsible sourcing in the promotional products industry. DistributorCentral is giving free tools to distributors to make educated decisions about the products they are purchasing for their clients.” –Tim Brown, Executive Director of Operations at QCA The new QCA certified filter is now available to all distributors through DistributorCentral’s free product search.  Coming soon in 2018, DistributorCentral will be releasing to all distributors the ability to create custom catalogs on their website featuring QCA certified suppliers. “Product safety is one of the big threats to our industry.  By partnering with QCA to give distributors the tools to find products from suppliers whose processes have been certified by QCA, we show that we are committed to helping our customers combat those threats.” –Jason Nokes, President of DistributorCentral   About DistributorCentral DistributorCentral is an award-winning technology service provider for the promotional products industry, offering a range of cost-effective online resources, including: the industry’s fastest product search, eCommerce websites, order management, email blasts, and artwork services.  DistributorCentral offers a free-to-use product database for distributors.  Learn more about DistributorCentral at: www.distributorcentral.com.   About Quality Certification Alliance Quality Certification Alliance (QCA) is the promotional product industry’s only independent, non-profit organization dedicated to helping suppliers provide safe and compliant products. QCA’s sole purpose is to go above and beyond to certify the supplier processes involved in product quality, product safety, supply chain security, social accountability, and environmental stewardship.  Companies interested in learning more about the Quality Certification Alliance accreditation are encouraged to contact Tim Brown, MAS – executive director, operations at...

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Demonstrating Leadership In Brand Safety Through Action

Demonstrating Leadership In Brand Safety Through Action

As a global company, Bensussen Deutsch & Associates, Inc. (BDA) provides marketing services and customized branded merchandise to Fortune 500 enterprises, major sports leagues and global entertainment holding companies. Clients come to BDA to extend their reach through custom branded-merchandise campaigns, integrated e-commerce marketing, and sports and entertainment sponsorship activation. To serve such a robust customer base, BDA employs many thousands of suppliers around the world. And as such, Co-Founder & CEO Jay Deutsch says the company has an obligation and an opportunity through responsible sourcing practices to provide brand safety to all of its stakeholders—not only because it is an obligation that we as branded merchandise professionals should all be responsible for but also because is it the right thing to do. In this week’s Partners In Brand Safety conversation, we chat with Jay about the importance of consistently delivering safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious merchandise and why affiliation with the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA) Distributor Advocacy Council (DAC) has been instrumental in demonstrating BDA’s leadership through action.   1. What does brand safety mean to you? Brand safety means doing the right thing, the best way, for all of our stakeholders along the value chain to make sure that they are protected from risk.   2. What motivated you to seek out Distributor Advocacy Council (DAC) affiliation? As the founding member organization of the DAC, BDA wanted to elevate the conversation with our peers about the importance of all the tenets of QCA. We believed that the DAC would demonstrate leadership through action and deliver positive outcomes throughout our industry.   3. What does “responsible sourcing” mean and why is it crucial to brand safety? At BDA, responsible sourcing means taking all aspects of what and how we purchase into consideration. Cost, quality and delivery are obvious; but ethics, labor, environmental and social accountability bring the whole picture into focus for both our direct and indirect suppliers. As a global company with many thousands of suppliers around the world, we have an obligation and an opportunity to promote responsible sourcing practices that provide brand safety to all of our stakeholders. We believe not only that this is the right thing to do but an obligation that we should all be responsible for.   4. What’s the most common question(s) end buyers ask about product safety/compliance? For the most part, customers are focused on product testing...

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