Why audits and testing are so important for suppliers and retailers alike!
Published - 1st September, 2017
It’s vital that you know about audits and testing!
If you haven’t come across audits and testing in your promotional industry career, it is essential that you know about them.
What’s the difference between audits and testing?
Audits are all about the ethical and social standards of factories, whereas testing is related to making sure the end product is safe to use. Both are equally as important for suppliers and retailers alike.
Let’s take a deeper look at audits
Auditing companies such as SEDEX and BSCI ensure that factories are compliant with local laws and guidelines. For example, they scrutinise how well the staff are valued and treated and how well the factory is managed. These two areas in particular are of great interest to the supply chain.
Having an audit undertaken on a manufacturer ensures that the factory is in a good condition, with no major health or safety hazards, it guarantees that the workers are treated fairly and that they’re paid fairly, regardless of the territory that they are found in.
Audits give a score to the factory based on the ethical and social standards of the work place. This is then put into a colour category (green, amber or red). Some audits can be over 80 pages long, and every detail needs to be understood if you want to be sure that you are buying from a reputable company.
CAPR – Correction Action Plan Report
The CAPR (Corrective Action Plan Report) which accompanies the audit will highlight the changes (non-compliances) that the factory must complete within a certain time scale. The time scale depends on how serious the non-compliance is and the longer the time that is given (say 90 days for example) the less serious the issue is, whereas if the time to fix the problem is shorter (say 30 days) it means the problem is more severe and needs immediate attention.
Let’s take a deeper look at Testing
Testing is primarily used to ensure the product being manufactured is fit for purpose. It can also be used to check that there are no substances that raise concern and that it’s safe to use.
Similar to audits, testing makes sure that every component within a product complies with a specific set of legal requirements. Of course not every product is the same, so as you can imagine the requirements for a car being tested is naturally going to be substantially more complicated and in depth, compared to a baseball cap. But because a cap might appear to be a simple product, it doesn’t mean that testing is any less important.
In terms of our headwear, the main areas for testing are:
- Checking that the dye doesn’t run under wet or dry conditions (colour fastness)
- Checking that there are no harmful chemicals in the dyes that are used or the components contained within the cap, like the plastic peak (AZO dyes in fabric/cadmium or phthalates in plastic)
- If metals are used, it’s the lead, cadmium and nickel levels that we need to be aware of
- Physical tests such as seam tensions
Retailers and suppliers obviously don’t want their products to be harmful to customers so testing is crucial for peace of mind.
Why are audits and testing so important for suppliers and retailers?
The credibility and integrity of a product that a company sells, is heavily dependent on the audits and testing that run in the background. Proving that products are safe and non-hazardous, whilst showing that they come from a safe, ethical and compliant factory is extremely important when reputation is concerned.
It is so important in fact, that many companies have departments dedicated specifically to audits and testing. For example, Disney have their own audit company as it’s essential that such a well-known corporation who are focused primarily on the children’s market, prove that they are completely compliant with the merchandise they sell.
Audits and testing with Sharon Lee
We have a full SMETA audit and our products are all fully tested under OKITEX. We are supremely confident in passing any audit or product testing and are open to showing our factory audits after a NDA is signed.
A final thought
The overall reputation of a company is enhanced with audits and testing. It’s extremely important and cannot be an overlooked area within any product based business.
For more information about any of the above please contact the sales team on 01376 560380 / firstname.lastname@example.org
For a better insight into all the changes that have happened at Sharon Lee in our Platinum year, head over to our recent blog – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW IN OUR PLATINUM YEAR or if to learn more about our range of Retail Styled Headwear have a read of our RETAIL GIANTS vs SHARON LEE – THE COMPARISON BLOG.