When QCA debuted its new participation model earlier this year, the goal was clear - revitalize the organization by being more engaging and inclusive with distributors and end buyers (the users of promotional products) while keeping the overall mission and standards of the Accreditation Program for suppliers intact.
WHAT IS THE QCA AFFILIATE PROGRAM?
Since QCA was formed in 2008, there hasn’t been a formal participation path available to companies that aren’t either promotional products suppliers or distributors. That is, until now.
Users of promotional products can now go beyond requesting their branded merchandise be sourced through QCA Accredited Suppliers by formally pledging their support for brand safety through responsible sourcing. By becoming a QCA Affiliate, these corporate brands communicate their requirements and expectations to an entire industry of promotional products professionals. In addition, these QCA Affiliates formally align with their industry peers, as well as promotional product organizations that are committed to ethical business practices and higher standards of conduct in the marketing procurement community.
Additionally, companies, organizations and media outlets within the industries surrounding compliance and responsible sourcing have the opportunity to partner with QCA through collaborative partnerships.
Affiliate participants have access to a number of benefits including participation in the Affiliate Roundtable, the list of participating promotional products companies (distributors and suppliers) that is updated and provided quarterly, a brand safety newsletter and easy access to the industry’s brand safety leaders. Plus, these companies have enhanced management of brand integrity and risk mitigation, indirect supply chain accountability and the opportunity to drive positive change throughout an industry.
COMPLIANCE FOCUSED ORGANIZATIONS
While we’ve had collaborative partnerships with Product Safety Letter (PSL) and Recall Results for some time, their outward support of QCA’s mission is now more clearly communicated as part of their Affiliate status. As compliance organizations that value and promote the safe and ethical manufacture of consumer products, both Product Safety Letter and Recall Results understand that third-party validation of products bearing their name ensures a greater level of brand and consumer protection.
As an independent weekly newsletter primarily focused on news from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Product Safety Letter (PSL) keeps their readers abreast of activities by standards organizations, testing labs, consumer groups, industry associations, research entities and more. Understandably an organization hyperfocused on regulations, legislation, and standards, would understand the importance of aligning with the mission and values of QCA as an Affiliate.
Nobody understands the importance of proactive, preventative manufacturing processes like a recall services firm. Recall Results is an outsourced product recall services firm that has experience and expertise extending across the entire recall landscape—recall notifications; call center and website support; product recovery, destruction and replacements; refund processing, and onsite repairs and reporting. Recall Results has performed recall and safety programs for many prominent corporations spanning multiple products, industries and regulatory agencies. As a QCA Affiliate, Recall Results clearly demonstrates an alignment between their marketing efforts and their purpose.
“We are honored to have this association with QCA, an organization focused on product quality, safety and high social and environmental standards,” says Tom Brockhaus, VP of business development and client services for Recall Results. “We look forward to working more closely together and supporting common goals relating to consumer safety.”
A long-time supporter of QCA, NBCUniversal is the first Fortune 1000 company to participate in the Affiliate Program. The NBCUniversal (NBCU) Product Safety Center (PSC) is a product safety resource for NBCU business units purchasing custom-branded promotional products to help protect its brands through product compliance. The PSC supports NBCU businesses with consulting, resources, training and screening of vendors for product safety responsibility.
Becoming a QCA Affiliate builds upon the company’s already stringent compliance program, which includes promotional products.
“As the NBCU Product Safety Center learned about QCA and its work with promotional products suppliers, we appreciated the value QCA provides to the promotional products industry,” says Roxane Simmons, program manager – NBCU Product Safety Center. “Because of QCA’s work, we are confident that QCA Accredited Suppliers have compliance programs in place, which help protect our brands through compliance. We applaud QCA’s ongoing support to Accredited Suppliers for continued development. This commitment to compliance creates a positive impact in the promotional products industry that benefits all of us.”
All three of these companies understand that monitoring one’s own direct supply chain is complicated, but managing and having visibility into multiple indirect vendor supply chains is even more difficult. “This is why partnering with and/or insisting on proof of compliance through proven third-party accreditations and certifications is extremely beneficial for companies of all sizes,” says Tim Brown, MAS, QCA’s executive director of operations. “Not only is this kind of partnership mission critical in today’s complex supply chain activities, but it also makes the entire purchasing and verification process easier for these users of promotional products as well as our industry distributors.”
As a QCA Affiliate, these companies have taken the next step to protect its brand reputation when using branded merchandise through ethical sourcing and more sustainable manufacturing efforts. Its participation lays the foundation for other companies that want to formally align with their peers who are committed to ethical business practices and higher standards of conduct in the promotional products industry.
If you’d like to join Product Safety Letter, Recall Results and NBCUniversal in becoming a QCA Affiliate, learn how here.
About the author: Since 1998, Lisa Horn, CAS, (a.k.a. The Publicity Gal) has been reporting on the issues that matter most to the promotional products industry. As QCA’s editorial director, she writes about brand safety and responsible sourcing. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @thepublicitygal.