Wrap It Up! Package-Printing Conference Headed To U.S.

This November, Packprint Summit Americas, sponsored by Mark Andy & Hewlett-Packard, will come to the U.S. and will be the country’s first-ever package printing industry conference. The two-day conference and exhibition will be held at the JW Marriot Marquis Hotel in Miami, Florida on November 5 & 6 and will be a great new resource for technical developments, industry trends and advice for business owners who are looking to get into the package printing business. More than 20 exhibitors, who hail from all corners of the globe, will be at the conference, and include such companies as Harper Corporation of America, Epson America Inc., Labels & Labeling Magazine, Hewlett Packard, Xeikon and Stork Prints. If you are interested in exhibiting, contact one of the conference team members here. The conference is a fantastic opportunity for business owners, digital press manufacturers, flexible packaging and carton converters, international brand owners, packaging designers; packaging buyers and specifiers, packaging technicians, and, in short, anyone who has anything to do with the package printing industry. It’s the perfect event for networking and getting the inside scoop on new technologies, driving down costs, and increasing profitability. During the conference, attendees will get the chance to learn about global label trends and technologies; meet the world’s leading industry experts; and hear case studies from printers and brand owners. The conference program includes discussion topics, such as: –       Brand development and positioning –       The new realities of package design –       Digital package printing –       Making the move from label to package printing –       Product redesign to maximize shelf appeal –       New printing technologies –       Implementing an effective MIS/ERP software system to increase enterprise-wide profitability –       And more There also will be a panel discussion led by Danielle Jerschefske from Labels & Labeling with guest speakers David Pittman from Packprint World, Tom Polischuk from packagePRINTING and Robert J. Moran from FLEXO Magazine. This discussion will cover industry trends, challenges in the industry and the future of package printing. Attendees will have plenty of time to network and share ideas with peers: the conference includes a networking lunch each day as well as an hour-and-a-half long boat tour on November 5 (when in Rome, err … Miami, right?) Participants will get a chance to tour the South Florida harbor and enjoy drinks and snacks while networking. Space may be limited, so it’s recommended to sign up prior to the...

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Counterfeit Product Safety Certifications Lead To Federal Sentence

Counterfeit Product Safety Certifications Lead To Federal Sentence

A Springfield, Mo., company has been sentenced in federal court after importing Chinese merchandise that had counterfeit product safety certifications printed on the labels. GuildMaster Inc., a furniture and lighting importer and manufacturer, must forfeit more than 5,000 of the lamps valued at $1.8 million in addition to paying $43,786 to defray government expenses. In 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection found that GuildMaster was importing lamps from China which included counterfeit labels from Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an accredited product safety certification organization that often reviews electrical appliances. Over three months, U.S. Customs agents seized 5,018 lamps with counterfeit UL marks, as well as 567 lamps with genuine UL marks that were provided to a separate company which GuildMaster was not authorized to use. A Hong Kong-based wholly-owned subsidiary of GuildMaster was responsible for brokering the deals for the lamps and exporting them to the U.S. While GuildMaster insisted its U.S. employees were unaware of any of the illegal labeling, the company acknowledged that it was responsible for its subsidiary’s actions and pleaded guilty to the felony offense of trafficking goods with counterfeit marks. The GuildMaster case provides an example of the risks associated with importing from unqualified sources. An overseas manufacturer can claim to have certain safety certifications and could even print those on the item, but without independently verifying that information, an importer runs the risk of those claims being false. If that is the case, the importer will then be the party that feels the full extent of the law when the certifications prove counterfeit. Distributors who go directly to China, and suppliers who are not properly vetting their sources, could find themselves in the same situation GuildMaster now faces. “Even when working with familiar suppliers, it’s still good to adopt a policy of ‘trust, but confirm,'” said Jeff Jacobs, executive director of the Quality Certification Alliance, the promotional product industry’s safety and compliance accreditation organization. “The same promotional product can be moved from one manufacturing facility to another between orders. Trusted companies should have the protocols in place to detect and deter non-compliant product, and should have test results and certificates of compliance for a specific product readily available.” This story originally appeared on Promo Marketing Image: bloomsberries via Compfight...

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Man Sues Walmart; Says Failed Shopping Bag Led To Wife’s Death

Man Sues Walmart; Says Failed Shopping Bag Led To Wife’s Death

Eastern Nebraska resident William Freis is taking on Walmart in a lawsuit that claims an overfilled shopping bag subsequently failed and resulted in his wife’s death. According to the lawsuit, the plastic shopping bag failed on April 16, 2010, outside a Walmart store. As detailed in the suit, a cashier put two 42-ounce cans and a 2-pound bag of rice into one bag. When William’s wife, Lynette, carried the bag to her car, it broke and one of the cans fell on her big toe, resulting in a fracture and a cut. The injuries led to an infection and, despite antibiotics, two surgeries and hospitalizations, Lynette died on March 12, 2011. In his lawsuit, William says that Walmart failed to properly train its employees on bagging (and when double bags should be used). Additionally, the lawsuit names bag manufacturer Hilex Poly Co. and St. Louis-based Bunzle Distribution, which supplies the bags to Walmart. William originally filed the lawsuit in Sarpy County, Nebraska, but it has since been moved to the U.S. District Court in Omaha. None of the companies named in the suit have issued a public response to the litigation. There’s no denying this is a tragic story—and one that highlights the importance not just of product safety and quality, but also understanding how a distributor and/or supplier issue can have a damaging and lasting effect on your company and its public perception. The lawsuit also illustrates how critical it is to frequently test your products and implement strict quality control and supply chain safety measures that not only validate a product’s compliance, quality and safety, but also, by extension, help protect your consumers. In this particular instance, it’s hard to say if the bag’s quality truly was compromised, if the damage resulted from improper use (i.e. being overfilled) or if what happened was simply a tragic accident. Either way, we’ll be keeping an eye on the lawsuit’s ultimate conclusion. Do incidents like this prompt you to reexamine your own product safety, compliance and quality control procedures? Image: Walmart Corporate via Compfight...

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Think Before You Print: The Children’s Place Pulls Sexist Shirts

Think Before You Print: The Children’s Place Pulls Sexist Shirts

Back to school is typically a prime shopping season. Yet The Children’s Place recently learned a hard lesson about merchandise that furthers gender stereotypes after widespread criticism prompted the retailer to pull a girl’s T-shirt that featured what many called a sexist imprint. The shirt depicts a list of My Best Subjects with checkmarks next to shopping, music and dancing, but not math. As a result, parents headed to The Children’s Place’s Facebook page in droves, leaving more than 2,000 comments about the apparel. The story was then picked up by several news sources, after which The Children’s Place announced it would no longer sell the shirt. The company published a Facebook post apologizing for the incident. “It has come to our attention that some of you view our Best Subjects T-shirt as insensitive towards girls and women. This was not our intent. There are countless women in all walks of life who excel in math, including our very own CEO. We have pulled this product from our stores and we want to express our apologies to anyone we may have offended.” Online conversation about the controversy has continued, divided primarily into two groups: those who were offended by the shirt’s slogan, and those who think other parents and consumers are overreacting. Lesson learned? Think before you print. If you sell or distribute promotional products that feature slogans or other catchphrases, it doesn’t hurt to do some extra analysis before the products are created. Will that particular item be made in good taste? Or does it run the risk of alienating a sizable portion of your customer base, thereby sending you into crisis mode—and your customers to your competitors? This is where you can really use your staff and solicit their input before moving forward with product buys or orders. Take a quick poll when it comes to promotional products like these and see what your people think. It’s an easy way to use your own resources to do some research beforehand that could potentially save you a lot of grief. This incident also underscores the continual importance of a crisis plan. Many have applauded The Children’s Place’s apology and decision to pull the shirt. Even better, however, is for the situation not to happen in the first place, although it’s not always easy to predict how consumers will react. Other apparel makers, including Nike, Solid Gold Bomb, Adidas...

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Apple Unveils Third-Party Charger Trade-In Program

Apple Unveils Third-Party Charger Trade-In Program

After three incidents involving shocks from faulty iPhone chargers, including one fatal electrocution, Apple has announced a trade-in program for third-party charging devices. As part of the program, which kicks off on August 16, users can return third-party iPhone, iPad and iPod USB power adapters to Apple stores or authorized service providers. Customers can then buy Apple-made replacement chargers at a reduced cost—around $10, or the approximate equivalent in local currency. The USB Power Adapter Takeback Program will be valid in the U.S., China, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The program was launched in the wake of three recent incidents, all involving faulty iPhone chargers. A 23-year-old woman was fatally electrocuted and a 30-year-old man was hospitalized, both in China. In late July, an Australian woman was hospitalized with shock injuries. “Customer safety is a top priority at Apple,” according to the company. “That’s why all of our products—including USB power adapters for iPhone, iPad and iPod—undergo rigorous testing for safety and reliability and are designed to meet government safety standards around the world.” Apple has also published information about how to recognize USB power adapters that are made by the company. Each adapter, for example, comes with a specific certification label that ranges in appearance depending on the model, as pictured below: Crisis management is never easy, especially when you’re dealing with customers who have been injured and killed as a result (whether directly or indirectly) of your product. Yet given the fact that third-party chargers are widely available, it’s smart of Apple to get out in front of the issue and do what they can to prevent similar tragedies. What’s your take on Apple’s trade-in program? Do you think they could have taken additional steps to help protect their customers, despite the involvement of third-party products? Image: kevin dooley via Compfight...

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Safety After Bangladesh: A Chat with Andrea Engel of AlphaBroder

Safety After Bangladesh: A Chat with Andrea Engel of AlphaBroder

The devastating garment factory collapse in Bangladesh has not only prompted widespread scrutiny of the largely deplorable working conditions among the country’s garment industry facilities, but also new regulations and policies designed to protect workers and prevent a similar catastrophe. Take, for example, the U.S. government’s decision to suspend its preferential trade agreement for Bangladesh, which the Wall Street Journal’s William Mauldin calls “a largely symbolic move to punish the country for poor labor practices.” That news in particular sparked customer questions about the decision and what it means for companies, especially those in the promotional products industry. We recently sat down with Andrea Engel, Vice President of Portfolio and Supplier Management for QCA founding member AlphaBroder. to get her thoughts on what sort of reaction they’ve heard from their customers, as well as the critical importance of product safety and tools like QCA Accreditation that make safety, responsibility and compliance a more integral part of a company’s policies and processes. What sort of questions have you heard from your customers in response to the Bangladesh tragedy? We really didn’t start to hear from our customers until the President announced that they were suspending the trade privileges to Bangladesh. To the average layperson, unless you really understand how the trade rules between countries work and importing and exporting, the news would make you think that nothing can be purchased from Bangladesh. We understand that the special privileges are one small nuance to the trade agreements that the U.S. has not only with Bangladesh, but also with many countries. Some of the inquiries were generated by a concern about lack of product availability, but we also heard from some customers who were concerned about brand reputation, too. A lot of our customers are also large specialty companies, so they’re dealing with Fortune 500 companies by providing their corporate outfitting and employee apparel. There’s consideration for possible backlash if a Fortune 500 company were discovered to have apparel tied to Bangladesh. What’s important to note is that the suspension of the preferential trade agreement doesn’t impact the apparel industry. There were 5 or 6 product types that the decision affected. The overall purpose was really to put pressure on Bangladesh, because that would be the first place that the U.S. government would look in terms of ‘what are we allowing in our country that’s not generating any revenue?’ And, of course,...

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