Guest Viewpoint: From Best Practices To Industry Standards

— This article was originally published in PPB Magazine Defining Risk For The Promotional Products Industry Compliance with manufacturing standards continues to be a hot topic for the promotional products industry. It is regularly on the agenda at industry-sponsored training and education forums and written about by our industry media. As the industry’s first and only third-party validated compliance accreditation organization, the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA) frequently receives inquiries from industry professionals concerned about standards, standards-development bodies and industry self-regulation. Confusion and misunderstandings often reside at the core of these questions. As industry peers, we would like to address some of the more common points raised: Why would an industry be satisfied with self-regulation? Does self-regulation really make an industry more compliant and disciplined? What does a standards organization do? Is QCA a standards development organization? Some have implied that QCA appears to be intended for large industry companies only. Why is QCA structured the way it is? How can the board of a nonprofit entity be made up of for-profit industry companies and not have anti-competitive designs? Does an industry of our size really need third-party solutions like QCA? Industry Practices That Became “Standard” The very essence of a standards organization is to make life easier, safer and improve overall efficiency. Industry-based standards organizations have long existed. Some standards provide compatibility for improving the utility of a product, while others establish management practices that positively affect consumer safety, port security and environmental issues. Whether product or process, industry standards are simply best practices. Best practices are, by their nature, voluntary. When an industry best practice gains momentum, frequently the government or the market will adopt those best practices as standards. Examples of industry-based standards that have gained acceptance in law and the market include: ASTM F-963 Originally defined by the Toy Industry of America, this standard is now embodied in U.S. law as a component of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. FLA Labor Standards An outgrowth from a White House-sponsored initiative, the Apparel Industry Partnership (AIP) is a roundtable comprised of a handful of large apparel labels, non-governmental organizations and college students addressing concerns for labor rights in a manufacturing setting. QCA benchmarked its social accountability standards and audit processes with FLA in 2015. What Are The QCA Pillars Of Compliance? The QCA Compliance Accreditation Program is comprised of Five Pillars of Compliance© that include Product...

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HALO Acquires Sunrise Identity

Sterling, Illinois (August, 23 2018) – HALO Branded Solutions announces the acquisition of Sunrise Identity, a band merchandise company based in Bellevue, Washington. Marc Simon, HALO CEO, noted, “Sunrise is a rapidly-growing distributor serving a blue-chip roster of global brands. Mitch Mounger and his team have build and exceptional business, and we appreciate their trust in HALO’s resources to continue their grrowth. Our goal is to leverage the best practices of both HALO and Sunrise for the benefit of the valued clients of both organizations.” Sunrise Identity CEO, Mitch Mounger, added, “HALO will provide the resources necessary to expand our reach with our clients and key prospects and support the expansion of our creative and sourcing capabilities continues to grow. HALO’s client-focused culture will mesh well with the growing needs of our clients.” HALO will continue to maintain the Sunrise office in Bellevue, and Sunrise will go to market as “Sunrise Identity Powered by HALO.” About HALO HALO Branded Solutions HALO Branded Solutions, with operational headquarters in Sterling, Illinois, and HALO Recognition, based in Long Island City, New York, are industry-leading providers of branded merchandise and global recognition solutions. With a national salesforce, HALO helps businesses of all sized by providing innovative branding and recognition solutions priced competitively and supported by world-class  technology and operational...

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Building Consumer Confidence Keeps Us In Business

Since 1989, SnugZ has been committed to providing an exceptional customer experience and producing high-quality products for its customers. With beginnings in a humble, little attic in Utah, the company has grown from five to more than 450 employees. Its product line has grown as well. In addition to its extensive collection of lanyards, the company is also known for its eyewear retainers, health and beauty products, and leather goods—all of which are consistently safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious. In this week’s Partners In Brand Safety conversation, we chat with Brandon Mackay, president and CEO, about how a lack of compliance can damage a brand’s reputation and how the implementation of documenting policies and procedures ensures SnugZ is delivering consistent products that buyers can trust.   1. What does brand safety mean to you? Brand safety is vital to our success at SnugZ USA. Building consumer confidence by ensuring that products are not only safe but also meet the needs and expectations of end users keeps us in business. As large brands start shining spotlights on careless product selection and the damaging effects on their reputation, the more the promotional product industry moves to help educate suppliers and distributors on the need for brand safety measures. We take this very seriously and strive to provide the highest quality products and ensure testing requirements have been met for all the items we manufacture.   2. How has QCA Accreditation benefitted/improved your company? Becoming accredited by the Quality Certification Alliance has opened the door for us to quote on large projects for many distributors who support national brands that are looking for suppliers they can trust in product safety. On the flip side, it’s also helped us internally by introducing the requirement that we write and follow new policies and procedures regarding product quality and compliance that we didn’t have before. Since QCA Accreditation, our customers are getting a more consistent experience when they do business with us. 3. How difficult/rigorous did you find the program to be? We found the program quite difficult in the beginning due to how many new policies that needed to be created and procedures documented. Since then, the re-accreditation process is quite simple since a lot of the legwork is already done.   4. What was the biggest lesson(s) learned about product safety, social responsibility, etc.? One of the biggest lessons learned for...

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Taking A Long-Term View

Taking A Long-Term View

A certified woman-owned (WBENC) California corporation, MadeToOrder, Inc. (MTO) focuses on building long-term customer relationships through highly responsive sales and the sourcing of branded merchandise. The MTO team delivers cost-effective, high perceived value, customized and personalized products, service and technology to clients the world over to achieve the mission of assisting organizations with adding dimension to their brands in customized and memorable ways. The company is always cognizant of the fact that clients have many choices when it comes to the selection of a branded products partner, and that it’s often difficult to determine what factors, beyond price, should influence their decisions. For MadeToOrder, one of those factors is brand safety and the ability to consistently deliver safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious merchandise. In this week’s Partners In Brand Safety conversation, we chat with Rod Brown, CFO and managing director, about the challenges of educating buyers on the importance of brand safety and why a long-term view is the key to success.   1. What does brand safety mean to you? Selling brand safety means doing the right thing – the right thing for your clients, the right thing for consumers and the right thing for your business reputation, economics, and brand.     2. What motivated you to seek out DAC affiliation? I pushed QCA hard in the early years to have some role as a distributor. I believed it might help to create greater funding for the effort, a wider buy-in from the industry and lead to a modest competitive advantage.   The QCA mission, work and brand needs more financial support from many more participants in the industry. I felt we could help lead the way with some financial support and, in the process, learn more and be better. Eventually, I see QCA developing enough brand recognition that is similar to the Underwriters Laboratories UL brand.   3. How have you been able to leverage your DAC affiliation with end buyers? Generally speaking, our clients are still of the belief that everything they buy is the same. Clearly, a few clients are demanding some level of testing or documentation, but a large majority still have not made the connection that they need to be more discriminating with their vendor selection.   It is perhaps a failure or at least a missed opportunity that we have done a poor job in communication with clients as...

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Chameleon like, Inc. acquires The Platform Group Gallery

Gilroy, CA Supplier of journals expands into custom packaging and presentation boxes by acquiring all assets of Houston, TX based The Platform Group Gallery. Houston, TX — Chameleon like, Inc. (aka Chameleon Books & Journals – asi/44558 – PPAI 209189) is pleased to announce the acquisition of The Platform Group Gallery (TPGG – asi/78708- PPAI 216134). The transaction closed on 7/18/18 and is part of Chameleon like, Inc’s vision to expand into the custom packaging space, as well as establishing a manufacturing facility in Houston, TX. “For years, customers have asked us for packaging solutions, but our first goal has always been to create a strong process around our existing custom journal business, then scale that into relevant categories – we’re ready now and the need for quick to market custom packaging is here” said Pierre Martichoux, founder and President of Chameleon like, Inc. “When Allison Gower and Jeremy Konko (founders of TPGG) contacted us, we thought this would be a great opportunity for our team to develop the know-how as well as equipment to expand into this category” 2 Allison Gower, who established TPGG in 1997 added: “I cannot imagine a better home for the GalleryBoard packaging line than at Chameleon like. I designed the GalleryBoard line to be high-style, ecologically conscious, and made in the USA with highly trained employees. Pierre and his team at Chameleon like share these values and I am confident that the GalleryBoard packaging line will thrive and grow with Chameleon like production, service and sales team members”. As part of the transaction, The Platform Group Gallery is relocating into larger manufacturing space in Houston, TX with the Chameleon like team taking over customer service and production in the near future. ### Chameleon like, Inc. (est. 1998) is a manufacturer and supplier of journals, folders, and various desk accessories. Its main offices and manufacturing facility are located in Gilroy, CA. The company has established itself as one of the leading suppliers in its product category, blending creative and custom capabilities with excellent customer service and process. Manufacturing 75% of its products from scratch in the USA, Chameleon like is also QCA accredited. The Platform Group Gallery was established in 1997 and has accumulated numerous industry awards. Manufacturing from its Houston, TX facility, it specializes in lower volume, high quality custom gift boxes, portfolios, and binders. For more information on Product: www.chameleonlike.com...

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