As one of the largest promotional products distributors, it’s no surprise to learn that Woodinville, Washington-based Bensussen Deutsch & Associates, LLC (BDA) works with global brands such as AT&T, Bank of America, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, ExxonMobil, FedEx and Major League Baseball. While these household names cover vastly different industries, the one thing they all have in common is that they can’t take any chances with their brand equity when it comes to using promotional products. Product safety and responsible sourcing must be at the forefront.
“Our clients have always known they can trust us, our products and our commitment to upholding ethical and sustainable standards through every stage of the process,” says Jay Deutsch, BDA CEO and co-founder. “QCA Certification reinforces and validates our commitment of having the highest standards in the industry.”
The Many Benefits Of QCA Certification
In order to meet the needs of global brands, having a compliance program is a prerequisite. One of the benefits of working with QCA is that participants don’t have to start from scratch. There’s a framework to work within so they know what to do to effectively implement the policies these large corporations require.
“The QCA Certification process gave BDA’s compliance team the opportunity to identify any gaps in our operations while strengthening our protocols,” Jay says. “The process also forced us to review the roles and responsibilities for each employee and department. Overall, the program was a valuable resource as it gave our team an opportunity to identify areas of improvement.”
Part of the review protocol includes looking company-wide at guidelines the employees follow. “Throughout the Certification process, BDA revised or redesigned several elements of our policies and procedures, including our sharps policy and quarantine procedures for recalled merchandise as well as our internal audit process that includes mock recalls,” Jay says. “The compliance team is now able to use these updated documents to better train internal and external employees on essential compliance requirements regarding safety, quality, social responsibility and security.”
Audits also play a pivotal role with QCA Certification. “In conjunction with the QCA audit for Certification, BDA was able to complete a SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) 4-Pillar audit, which our clients value and will further strengthen our new business development team,” Jay says. “This audit, along with QCA Certification, further demonstrates our commitment to having the best practices in the industry.”
One of the biggest benefits, however, is the amount of time and money BDA saves by using a proven certification partner in developing their compliance program. “Partnering with QCA saves us time and money because it expedites the process of verifying BDA’s policies and procedures,” says Jay. “Without QCA Certification, clients would have to spend time to verify the quality of our processes and service offerings (i.e. providing proper working conditions, production that is environmentally friendly and product safety compliance, etc.). As a result of our QCA Certification, we are able to engage in a transparent process that saves time and money by being able to easily attest to our compliance.”
Creating The Industry Standard
While the official Distributor Certification Program made its debut in 2019, QCA has a long history of creating compliance programs dating back to when the organization was founded in 2008 and the QCA Supplier Accreditation Program was introduced.
“Ten years ago, the initial founding companies recognized the need for the promotional products industry to address product safety and the high risk that comes without a set of standards,” Jay explains. “Yet many in the industry questioned why they need to adhere to such standards and expressed concerns about cost and added time to implement. Fast forward a decade, and we see the world is demanding safe, socially responsible products. We’re proud to be at the forefront of this movement and will continue to operate with the mentality of doing the right thing all the time.”
What will things look like a decade from now? Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure: Global brands aren’t going to compromise on brand safety, and it’s likely their requirements will become even more comprehensive and stringent.
“For sustainable growth, every company should look toward making ethical decisions because doing the right thing will only benefit them in the long run,” Jay says. “As the industry demands more transparency in every stage of a product’s life cycle, the accountability no longer only falls on suppliers. By having checks and balances throughout the entire process, customers are assured they are buying from a company that values them and embraces safe and sustainable practices. There is only value to be added to your overall business by participating in the QCA Certification Program.”