Quality Certification Alliance(QCA), Chicago, has expanded its services for distributors and apparel decorators by introducing a certification program. This builds upon the existing Advocacy Council, and allows distributors and decorators to further their commitment to brand safety and responsible sourcing.
“Today, large companies are interested in vendors who not only understand the importance of safety and compliance, but also insist on it as it relates to every component of the manufacturing and import process,” said Tim Brown, MAS, QCA’s executive director of operations. “Certification allows distributor and decorator companies to take the next step toward greater, more lucrative opportunities by working with larger companies because they not only understand the issues, but also have third-party verification of the processes and documentation necessary to meet these buyers’ demands.”
Designed specifically for the needs of distributors and decorators, the QCA Compliance Certification Program begins with companies completing a thorough self-assessment. This includes a gap analysis to identify process and procedure voids, and requires supporting documentation for review by the QCA Compliance Committee.
From there, they build upon the self-assessment by developing a comprehensive compliance manual that ensures they have an effective program for detecting and deferring unsafe or non-compliant product before it enters into the supply chain. Upon successful completion of this process, a series of audits are authorized for the company’s headquarters, where corrective action may be required before certification is granted.
Brown noted that the certification program is completely separate from the accreditation program for promotional products suppliers, and is in no way intended as a means for distributors or decorators to go direct with their sourcing and circumvent the traditional supply chain. Rather, it’s designed to work in conjunction with the accreditation program and strengthen the relationship between suppliers and distributors/decorators.
“Being accountable doesn’t only rest on the shoulders of suppliers,” Brown said. “Our industry is about partnership, and distributors [and] decorators share in the responsibility of providing safe and responsibly sourced products. We created the certification program because of industry demand, and look forward to not only offering greater assurance and peace of mind to corporate brands, but also improving the industry’s reputation. The level of accountability and transparency required to achieve certification will help the industry get past the ‘trinkets and trash’ image of old and prove that promotional products are a valid, respected advertising medium that gets results.”
For more information about QCA, visit www.qcalliance.org.
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