The Process To Become QCA Certified
The QCA Certification process is a comprehensive validation that confirms a promotional products supplier has processes in place intended to detect and deter any non-compliant product from entering into the marketplace.
Additionally, QCA Accreditation verifies compliance with local and national laws as well as the laws of the country that may be importing the item for consumption.
The QCA Certification Process harmonizes the ever-increasing array of compliance tools, identifies the most rigorous standards, measures these standards, and continuously revises and updates the measures and methodology to reflect evolving concerns.
How The QCA Accreditation Process Works
Adapted from the analysis of quality defects model, the QCA Accreditation Process focuses on the effective documentation, implementation, enforcement and monitoring of a promotional products supplier company’s policies, procedures and practices. Training and corrective-action feedback are essential characteristics and components of the process.
A third-party testing organization evaluates performance of each facility submitted by a QCA Applicant for Accreditation based on the following grading system for compliance as defined by QCA Standards.
- Critical: If there is failure to implement programs and policies or if there are violations to U.S. import or manufacturing laws, the result is a Critical violation.
- Major: If there is failure to capture the output of process and adjust key processes when there is noncompliance, the result is observed as a Major violation.
- Minor: Issues that may be quickly addressed and improved over a short period (less than a month) result in a Minor violation.
Only QCA-qualified third-party audit providers are authorized to conduct audits of supplier companies on behalf of QCA. All providers are required to employ QCA standardized process tools.
Each QCA Applicant facility receives an overall assessment based on a numeric score compiled from the compliance scorecard:
- Approved: No observations were made and the facility is assessed as meeting QCA Standards, resulting in a score of 91-100.
- Approved With Corrective Action: Third-party findings result in a weighted score of 81-90. Applicant has 90 days to complete documented corrective actions.
- Below Standard: Third-party findings result in a weighted score of 71-80. Documented corrective actions must be completed and resubmitted prior to a follow-up audit.
- Critical: A facility receiving a weighted score below 70 in a compliance area. Documented corrective actions must be completed and resubmitted prior to a required follow up audit.
The assessment process begins with a QCA Applicant’s Company Headquarters, where an Approved or Approved With Corrective Action assessment is required in all five areas of compliance. Once this is achieved, then third-party audits of the supply base commence.
For observed non-compliances, corrective actions may be required. This corrective action may be in the form of documents, photographs or implemented procedures, depending on the nature of the finding. Some corrective actions may only be validated through follow-up audits.
Third-party validation is required to achieve QCA Accreditation. Upon successful completion of the Certification Process, QCA Accreditation and the QCA Seal of Approval will be extended to Certified suppliers for an initial two-year period.
While accreditation is good for two years, it is validated in the second year through monitoring of additional facilities. These random maintenance audits are a critical piece of the ongoing checks and balances established to validate the QCA Certification Program and have become part of the daily best practices for QCA Accredited companies.
To learn about the QCA Accreditation process and how to get begin, review Getting Started With QCA: A Quick Reference Guide.
To inquire further about becoming a QCA Applicant, contact Jeffrey P. Jacobs at email@example.com.
What industry practitioners are saying:
“Given how dynamic, complex and sometimes vague regulatory issues can be, it is useful to have a group of companies committed to quality that can share knowledge and best practices. But the QCA initiative goes beyond helping members design processes and procedures to insure the promotional products we manufacture and import meet appropriate standards today and in the future. The outcomes give our customers the ability to buy with confidence as it relates to quality and compliance—and this benefits the industry as a whole.”
“To earn QCA Accreditation, a company must adhere to an essential level of standards designed to detect and deter non-compliant products from entering into the market place. Achieving QCA Accreditation is a notable achievement for Barton Nelson Inc, as it demonstrates our dedication to providing safe, high quality products. With the emergence of the QCA Certified Seal, distributors can easily identify industry suppliers that share in our commitment.”
Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Barton Nelson, Inc.