Plastic Lions, Tigers, and Bears - OH MY!

Posted by Gary M. Barraco

There’s a slew of new regulatory requirements on the horizon that will keep production and supply chain managers up at night on how to effectively manage them.

It isn’t often that government agencies reduce the burden on manufacturers, but during an October 18th meeting the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) altered the current ruling requiring third-party testing of seven plastics sometimes found in children’s toys and child care products. 

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Topics: Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management

Voluntary vs. Mandatory Product Safety

Posted by Gary M. Barraco

A few weeks ago, I attended a meeting in the DC area conducted by various organizations focused on product safety testing as a critical function of product commercialization and sale. A primary topic centered around the development and implementation of voluntary product testing standards. Regulatory standards exist, like the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), California Prop 65, EU REACH and CE programs, China GB and others. However, companies and organizations are working to build standards before they become a law, as a means of self-policing. 

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Topics: Product Testing

Technology Provides an Inside Track to Product Testing Concerns

Posted by Gary M. Barraco

Drawstrings that cause choking. Ingesting baby rattle contents. Fire-sparking cellphone batteries. Electric-shocking power adapters. Consumers beware! According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), recalls that should put consumers on high alert occur daily. It seems product recalls are now the norm on a wide range of products from cellphones to ATVs, high heels, children’s clothing, and more. 

In one week, the CPSC reported several recalls on its website: incorrect venting Nutrilife® hydrogen peroxide bottles cause fires or burns; melting hoses in Academy Sports + Outdoors pet crawfish kits; cracking rings on BRIO baby rattles cause choking; and tires blowing out on Polaris’ recreational off-highway vehicles cause crashes.

Recalls are a nuisance for consumers but have serious repercussions for a brand or manufacturer. They can cause brand blemish, unexpected operational burdens, and costly remediation. I recently met with a senior executive from Samsung and we discussed the impact on the organization’s transportation side from the Galaxy Note7 recall. He urged me to think about the return shipping process for over 2.5 million units. The published estimated cost for the entire product recall: $17 billion.

The complexity of today’s global supply chains only means an increasing vulnerability to unexpected supply disruptions, with more suppliers and contract manufacturers added into the supply chain.
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Topics: Product Testing

CPSC Doesn’t Toy Around with Safety

Posted by Gary M. Barraco

Most of us are familiar with the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) and the work they do to protect consumers. Recently we’ve heard a great deal about safety recalls for air bags, mobile phones and hover boards – all of these with life-threatening concerns for consumers.  As manufacturers and importers, it is your responsibility to ensure every product meets the most current standards for product testing; an often difficult task given the mounting additions to the current federal and state regulations.

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Topics: Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management, Quality Control Inspection

Sporting Goods Retailer Takes Safety and Product Testing to New Level

Posted by Joe Gabro

In today's complex and dynamic regulatory environment, retailers must leverage technology and best practices to address costly product safety and compliance risks. Real time visibility and reporting are essential components in preventing disruptions throughout the entire product development lifecycle. However, what happens if your data becomes scattered and is not integrated into a primary supply chain management solution?

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Topics: Retail, Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management

Webinar Recap: Vera Bradley Shares Its Amber Road Experience

Posted by Joe Gabro

A few weeks ago, we held a lively webinar with Megan Coale from Vera Bradley and Cheryl Layne from our customer success team.  We talked about the implementation of Amber Road’s solutions used by the teams at Vera Bradley to produce their iconic products.  Vera Bradley is a manufacturer of stylish quilted cotton luggage, handbags and accessories. With small-town roots in Indiana, the brand has grown to $500 million in annual sales, serving customers all around the globe.  Known for its distinctive and colorful fabrics and trims, some of the core company values that originated at Vera Bradley’s birth 20 years ago still exist – high quality products, produced by suppliers in a timely fashion, and of course, those recognizable, trend-setting fabrics.  These are the expectations of customers today, and Vera Bradley has it in the bag.

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Topics: Global Sourcing, Supplier Management, Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management, Production Management, Sample & Costing Management

Testing Tinkertoys, Tonka Trucks, Teddy Bears, and Toy Chests: New ASTM Criteria Unifies Global Standards

Posted by Gary M. Barraco

Toy sales in the United States have shown robust growth figures in the last decade. Much of it is spurred by syndicated toy products from movies released to coincide with the Christmas season, drawing kids to add them to Santa’s list. According to The NPD Group, US toy sales increased 6.7 percent to $19.4 billion in 2015, topping the firm's estimate of 6.2 percent growth.

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Topics: Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management, Production Management, Quality Control Inspection

Quality is Stitched into the Supply Chain: A Vera Bradley Case Study

Posted by Colleen Bush

Vera Bradley is a leading designer of women's handbags, luggage and travel items, fashion and home accessories and unique gifts. Founded in 1982, the brand's innovative designs, iconic patterns and brilliant colors inspire and connect women unlike any other brand in the global marketplace. To ensure high quality products that continue to exceed customers' expectations, Vera Bradley leverages Amber Road’s Supply Chain Collaboration solutions.

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Topics: Global Sourcing, Supply Chain Visibility, Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management, Production Management, Sample & Costing Management

The "-abilities" of Global Trade Management: Product Traceability

Posted by Joe Gabro

Product traceability has become a critical aspect of supply chains and global trade; with definitions that run the gamut depending on the industry or phase in the product lifecycle.  Product traceability may be both a regulatory and environmental issue.  Retailers want to ensure they provide their customers with as much supply chain visibility into sourcing operations, including where their products are manufactured and if those factories maintain safe working conditions, pay workers a fair wage, and use methods that do not damage the environment. Likewise, product testing laws continue to increase in complexity. Traceability is a requirement for many import and export controls, as demonstrated by these regulations:

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Topics: Global Sourcing, Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management, Production Tracking, Quality Control Inspection

Will we see true reform from TSCA?

Posted by Gary M. Barraco

Last week, the US Congress passed the biggest chemical safety legislation since the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted 40 years ago to regulate the manufacture, import, and processing of chemicals. Now it awaits President Obama’s approval, considered a sure thing after the White House’s endorsement of the measure in May.  But will the passage of this bill really mean the US finally has a unified and comprehensive chemical safety program that works?

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Topics: Manufacturing, Global Trade Management, Import Compliance, Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management