Do you know where your products come from?
If the answer is "no", there could be real, tangible risks to your business and the people who use your products. These risks are serious but avoidable once you learn a little about the path a product took to get to you.
At PCNA, we're committed to applying the highest safety standards to our products and working with vendors that conduct business in an ethical and socially responsible way. A cornerstone of this promise is ensuring our products are manufactured in safe, healthy environments, by manufacturers with well-established safety and ethics records.
As Larry Whitney, Polyconcept's Director of Global Compliance explains, "We require all products that we sell to be manufactured in a safe, responsible manner, and to meet the applicable national regulatory requirements in the markets where they are intended to be sold. Everything that we do is centered on this basic philosophy!"
Factories are our trusted partners. We work closely with them at all stages to make sure they meet not only strict product quality standards, but also have a positive impact on the people they employ and the communities where they operate. This relationship building takes a significant investment in people, time and financial resources, but we see the effort as non-negotiable because it means our customers can buy, sell and use our products with confidence.
Here's a look at our formula for creating long-lasting, positive partnerships with our factories:
1. Put People On The Ground
For more than ten years, the Polyconcept Group has employed a special team of dedicated compliance professionals, consisting of over 20 people worldwide – including 12 specialists in China. Working directly with our permanent offices in North America, Europe and Asia, they live and work in the places where the products are made.
Ribbon cutting at Polyconcepts's new office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
2. Maintain Contact
A PCNA, in-house audit teams regularly inspect the factories that we use, checking for social accountability, workplace safety, quality control systems, environmental practices and supply chain security practices. This contact is maintained every step of the way, from the creation of manufacturing agreements, through product completion.
3. Stay Up-To-Date
Our compliance team monitors for changes in local manufacturing regulations, informing the management, product development and sourcing teams when specifications need to be changed to meet regulatory changes. Having permanent teams in the places where products are being made streamlines this process immensely.
They also stay current and influential through industry groups. Larry Whitney is a past President of the Board of Directors for Quality Certification Alliance (QCA) and serves on QCA’s compliance committee. He also serves on PPAI’s Product Responsibility Action Group (PRAG). In addition, for a number of years, he has participated in PPAI’s L.E.A.D. meetings on Capitol Hill, educating members of Congress on key issues related to the promotional products industry.
4. Set High Standards
All our vendors abide by a code of conduct that's based on the UN Global Compact principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. The code includes a strict zero-tolerance policy towards child labor and forced labor. Adherence to the Code of Conduct is regularly verified by an in-house audit team.
5. Build Long-Lasting Relationships
Our factories are a vital part of our supply chain. A positive, collaborative relationship is critical for mutual success. When we work together for years, not months, the ultimate result is not simply a better product, but a more positive environment in the factories and communities where our products are made.
The Bottom Line
So why should you know who's making your products? For one, it just makes good business sense. Without accurate factory information, you and your customers can end up in a seriously negative situation. If the factories that produce your products violate safety laws or human rights standards, you and your business will sustain instant credibility damage and your customers will quickly look for alternatives. Even if you're further down the product supply chain, the age of instant information sharing will almost certainly link you to the violation one way or another.
It's not all risk and fear, though. Working with products from factories that provide healthy, positive environments for their workers makes you a better global citizen. It's not always apparent on financials, but it's critical for long-term success. For more information on PCNA's commitment to conducting business in an ethical and socially responsible way, visit our Compliance Page.