Seller Proof Of Compliance = Trade Show Sales Ready

ABC Kids EXPO

January 4, 2022

All Baby & Child | ABC Kids Expo has partnered with Jacoby Solutions – Seller Proof of Compliance for a FREE Webinar series on Seller P.O.C. The goal is to help Trade Show exhibitors understand how to build out their compliance program with Seller Proof Of Compliance to have all the necessary elements to show Proof of Compliance to Amazon, major retailers, and regulatory bodies in markets where they currently sell or hope to sell in 2022! REGISTER HERE: https://bit.ly/3HEDCWk

To ensure exhibitors have a successful Expo, ABC Kids Expo has partnered with Jacoby Solutions to help them prepare for the 2022 Show so that you have all the compliance requirements in place to show Proof of Compliance so you can expedite the onboarding process into new sales channels. 

As product sellers expand into new markets and sales channels, they are confronted with new standards, regulations, and retailer requirements that may require new compliance processes. An effective compliance program improves your product’s quality and safety, broadens your product’s market, ensures compliance with regulations and laws, and can also help provide protection from future product liability issues.

By attending the Seller P.O.C. Trade Show Sales Ready webinar you will be able to:

  • Realize that proof of compliance is more than a test report and a CPC.
  • Understand how a formal compliance program adds value to your company brand.
  • Know the major elements of a consumer product safety compliance program
  • Conduct a compliance census for your company so you know where you stand and can identify areas in need of improvement.
  • Develop corrective action plan to Be Trade Show Sales Ready ASAP, so you can align upcoming production to meet major retailer requirements.
  • Adapt your documents to be one size for proof to all.

We also will provide a state of compliance enforcement update so you:

  • Prepare for the new aggressive enforcement stance of the CPSC at the ports.
  • Understand the Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 Market Surveillance law that went into effect July 16, 2021.
  • Know about Authorized Representative requirement for the EU and UK
  • Can plan for implementation of the UKCA mark on your products that goes into effect Jan 1, 2023.

Covid has disrupted the supply chain for everyone, everywhere.  How do you know that the products you tested 8 months ago are still compliant with the current shipment? If you are planning to expand to new channels at the ABC Kids Expo, you need to plan now so your upcoming production meets the requirements of your targeted sales channels.

ABC Kids Expo will Offer a Series of Webinars ahead of the show with topics such as: “Preparing for Day 1 as a first-time exhibitor.”-“Selling in the EU and UK, Understanding CE / UK CA Marking and new harmonized enforcement law.”  “Selling on Amazon  / Instituting a Quality Program to ensure great reviews”. and ” How to use technology for better Customer Service and Warranty” Support

About Jacoby Solutions

Complete Compliance with an Eye on Business Transformation!

 Jacoby Solutions is a brand protection consulting practice specializing in helping companies achieve operational readiness for ongoing CPSIA and CPSC required compliance via improved process and systems.  A one-stop shop for manufacturing, distributors, and Amazon sellers in need of a partner who can help them evolve their business while keeping an eye on compliance, Jacoby Solutions saves companies time and resources by helping them develop compliance related standard operating procedures in all areas from manufacturing and distribution to supply chain management and customer service.

Jacoby Solutions is a CPSC approved Product Safety Coordinator and since 2011, we have been helping companies with CPSIA, implementing compliance programs, and implementing technology to help companies centralize their compliance activities and reduce their risk.

5 Ways to combat material changes and non-compliant products

We are getting ready to start another year, and it looks like it will be at least another year until we can again travel to our factories and suppliers. On top of that, the CPSC has gone into aggressive enforcement mode, so how can you be sure that you have the right policies and procedures in place to protect your brand and reduce your risk of importing a non-compliant product?

The supply chain shortages you have heard about are real, so how can you be sure that the product you tested eight months ago is the same as the one on the shipment you are expecting for delivery before Chinese New Year?  A material change is your most significant threat to the compliance of your products, so here are a few things you can do to lessen your risk with upcoming shipments.

Implement material change policy
  1. Implement a supplier guide to outline your requirements that address everything from packaging, labeling, product testing, and material change. 
  2. Implement language into your Purchase Orders related to the compliance of your products. Get the factory to agree that it will be liable for your company’s economic loss that results from its failure to comply with its product safety obligations.
  3. Implement a material change policy with forms to document any material changes, so your factory can notify you of any changes that might affect the certification of your products, as new testing may be warranted if new raw materials or components are used. 
  4. Perform pre-shipment checks using a third-party inspection company so you can verify both the quality and compliance of your products. Tracking labels for children’s products and incorrect Children’s Product Certificates are low-hanging fruit for the CPSC, so make sure these are in order.
  5. Do an unannounced factory inspection and test for lead or phthalates to ensure that your products comply.  Be mindful of who selects the product sample to be tested, as it must be a representative sample of the product you are introducing into commerce.

Your factories and suppliers are your business partners, so you need to set the right expectations and hold them accountable for manufacturing excellent quality and compliant products. Never prepay for goods before delivery. If possible, the best practice is to place a deposit to start production and the next payment upon your product clearing customs, so they know they have your best interests in mind!

With the new year fast approaching, now is the time to implement these changes and others to update this and any part of your compliance program for the way you currently do business, as it seems like the next few months will be more of the same as Covid does not seem to be going away soon.

CPSC Launches New Online Tool to Make it Easier for Businesses to Report Hazards and to Protect Consumers; Mandatory for Fast Track Program in January 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Firms are required to report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) potentially hazardous products that they manufacture, distribute, import or sell. To encourage more online reporting of these potential hazards, CPSC will require firms to use a new, upgraded online reporting system for Fast Track recalls. 

“Our goal is to protect consumers, by identifying and removing hazardous products from the marketplace more quickly, and by streamlining the recall process,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric.  “We are extremely proud of the hard work that CPSC staff put into creating this new tool to facilitate online reporting.”

CPSC’s Fast Track program helps consumers by removing hazardous products from the marketplace quickly, and it rewards businesses that act swiftly to implement corrective action. 

The updated Section 15(b) reporting system for companies, now available at www.saferproducts.gov/business, has a user-friendly interface that includes hover-over features and guidance for firms to navigate the submission process.  Firms using the new site will also receive an emailed copy of all information submitted to CPSC through the system, along with emailed case updates, deadline reminders and contact information for the CPSC staff handling their report.

This system is also mobile-friendly, so users can now submit reports and provide attachments via their smart phones or tablets.  Businesses that participate in the Fast Track program will also be able to review and approve a system-generated draft recall press release before submitting their report, to help expedite the overall recall process.  

Effective January 31, 2022, businesses that want to participate in the Fast Track program will be required to submit their Section 15(b) reports exclusively online through the portal.  Reports received via email, fax, or mail for participation in a Fast Track recall will be rejected after this date, and the firms will be directed to resubmit their reports via the online system.

Although many of the new system features, and its mandatory use, apply specifically to Fast Track recalls, non-Fast Track filers are strongly encouraged to use the updated online system, as well. Users can easily file an initial report and can submit additional information and documents, if desired, using the system. 

Visit the Fast Track information page to see how the new system can benefit companies  considering a recall. 

The new online business portal for the Fast Track Program can be found at www.saferproducts.gov/business 

Amazon EU Sellers…Prepare Now 2021!

EU 2019/1020

New Amazon Requirements

New Amazon Requirements

This market surveillance regulation, (EU) 2019/1020 going into effect July 16, 2021 is mainly aimed at e-commerce and takes the responsibility of compliance that used to be borne by the consumer and now places it on the Economic operators, i.e. manufacturers, an authorized representative, the importer, the distributor or fulfillment service provider. Amazon does provide fulfillment services but does not want the role of designated official to communicate with the market surveillance officials on product compliance or conformity issues. They are now requiring non-EU based sellers of CE marked products to appoint a responsible person or official for CE-marked products so they can avoid being held responsible by EU authorities. Your EU based designated person will be responsible to act as single point of contact for all compliance and conformity related issues as well as CE compliance.

With this new law if your product is not compliant in one EU country , it is not compliant in all and the Union Product Compliance Network (UPCN) is the key initiative arising from the EU Market Surveillance Regulation. The UPCN will act as a hub for all enforcement agencies to access compliance data. These organizations work with businesses to evaluate their products and perform random testing and they will then make the information available to the network. This information to be made available will be Product Testing, DOC’s, Enforcement and Corrective Actions, Market Surveillance Data and shared initiatives or projects.

To better prepare for this regulation, now is the time appoint your EU based Responsible Person and to align your documentation and set up your technical files and document systems to allow them to access files for your products sold online in the EU should they need to answer to compliance officials in the future.

If you have not created EC Declaration of Conformity documents you will soon be asked to provide to Amazon such documents along with Genuine Product Images. You will also need to provide County of Origin (COO) data in order to list products to sell on Amazon.

You can find additional information or full text of the regulation here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:32019R1020

Need Help with your Amazon Proof of Compliance? Schedule a call today!

CPSC Cautions Consumers Not to Use Inclined Infant Sleep Products

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning parents and caregivers about the dangers of popular inclined sleep products for infants, citing the findings of a new study. The study is part of a growing body of evidence showing that inclined sleepers with higher angles do not provide a safe sleep environment for infants.  Several inclined sleepers have previously been recalled by the CPSC.

The agency continues to emphasize that the best place for a baby to sleep is on a firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet or play yard. Parents and caregivers should never add blankets, pillows or other items to an infant’s sleeping environment. Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs.  

New Study Confirms: Babies Should Sleep on Firm, Flat Surface

CPSC received reports of 1,108 incidents, including 73 infant deaths, related to infant inclined sleep products that occurred from January 2005 through June 2019. CPSC hired independent expert Erin Mannen, Ph.D., a mechanical engineer specializing in biomechanics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, to conduct infant testing to evaluate the design of inclined sleep products. Dr. Mannen measured infants’ muscle movements and oxygen saturation while in various products and positions, such as a flat crib, an inclined crib, and several inclined sleep products. Dr. Mannen found that none of the inclined sleep products her team tested is safe for infant sleep. Dr. Mannen’s report was conclusive that products with inclines 10 degrees or less, with flat and rigid surfaces, are likely safe for infant sleep. Dr. Mannen also found that soft and plush-like sleep surfaces pose dangers to infants.

What Should Parents and Caregivers Do Now? 

  • Stop using infant sleep products with inclined seat backs of more than 10 degrees. Parents and caregivers should not use infant car seats, bouncers, and other infant inclined products for sleep, and should follow manufacturer instructions.
  • Follow safe sleep advice. Bare is Best: Do not add blankets, pillows, or other items to the baby’s sleep environment. Back to Sleep: Always place infants to sleep on their backs on a firm, flat surface.
  • Check www.cpsc.gov often to see if your nursery products have been recalled, and promptly follow the recall instructions to receive a refund, replacement, or repair. Consumers who register their nursery products with the manufacturer’s registration card (included with nursery items) can be contacted directly by the manufacturer if there is a recall.

CPSC Releases New Recall App

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has launched a new CPSC Recall App to make recall information currently on their website more accessible to consumers on their mobile devices.

Using Technology to Enhance Your Consumer Product Safety Compliance Program

Since 2012, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has required companies that have entered into settlement agreements for failure to report under Section 15 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) to develop internal compliance programs. Through these settlement agreements, it is obvious that the CPSC considers the implementation and maintenance of a compliance program to be the cornerstone of how a company ensures compliance with product safety rules and regulations enforced by the CPSC.

The difficulty is not in the development and implementation of an effective Product Safety Compliance Program, but in developing a mechanism to review, evaluate and update the compliance program.

So how do you know if your program is up-to-date and if you are using the best process and technology available today? In the early days of CPSIA, many companies built internal systems and controls to track testing and to generate certificates. Many of these systems are 4-6 years old now and were not built to send paperless certificates, as put forth in the rule on “Certificates of Compliance”, 16 CFR Part 1110 (the 1110 rule). At many companies, a review of their compliance program has not been done since 2013 when the CFR 1107 rules when into effect. Failure to regularly review and update all relevant information, which might impact the compliance of your childrens’ product, negates the effectiveness of a Consumer Product Safety Compliance Program.

Perform an Audit

To begin the review of your current product safety program, an audit must be conducted to assess your product safety readiness, including your current systems, operations and technology platforms. During the review, charting the incoming data to technology, processes and the people involved, should be conducted. Knowing where all of the compliance related data for the company is stored, and how it can be accessed, is important when information is needed quickly. In the event of an incident, the decision to report under Section 15(b) to the CPSC needs to be made quickly, so knowing where to find your data is essential.

Map Your Incoming Data to People, Process and Tools

The next step is to chart your processes so that incoming product data will be available to effectively support your Product Safety Compliance Program. This data should be collected from the design stage through final product delivery to consumers. Is there a proactive approach to compliance so that you can quickly react to incidents reported by consumers who are using your products, once you are made aware of them? You may have data residing on in-house developed systems, 3rd party applications, vendor sites or web applications like Dropbox or SharePoint. Your goal should be to maintain and enforce a system of internal controls and procedures to ensure that your company can promptly, completely, and accurately report the required product information to the CPSC if necessary.

  Incoming flow

Sources to Discover Safety Related Incidents

There are many sources to discover safety related incidents. Do you have process and technology tools in place to capture these? How are these issues escalated and what platforms do you use to review, research and document issues brought to your attention? Many companies today use online help desk platforms to log customer service inquiries and most of the top programs today have an API connection so that you can bring in items from Facebook and Twitter. Application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API specifies how software components should interact and APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components. So when looking for new technology platforms, look for ones that have the ability to use an API to connect to other applications or to bring or send data to your systems or compliance program.

Escalation Policy

Your internal company communications policy should be set up to enable management to quickly be informed of any safety related incidents or quality issues.This policy should start with the appointment of a company compliance manager and notification/training to your staff on your escalation policy. Do you have your systems set up to capture safety related incidents and route them to the compliance manager/director? A lot of programs today utilize a smart rules feature so you can escalate a category type such as safety and quality so that these items can be routed directly to your compliance manager the minute they are created. It is important to note that with or without a technology solution, you must train your customer service staff  to recognize safety related issues and direct them on proper incident handling protocols and company polices so they are prepared to escalate to management when discovered.

Identify Your Training Platform

During the  review of your compliance program you should identify and document the communication platform that you will use to train your staff, contractors, stakeholders and board members on your company’s compliance policies. Will it be all-hands meetings, video conferencing or 3rd party apps, and how will you capture proof of attendance? You should embed this training for new hires if they work in an area related to purchasing, testing or customer service, and a confidential reporting process should be part of this training so you foster a proactive approach to safety.

Record-keeping

Many companies which have been in business for some time find that their data is spread out over legacy systems, shared drives, company servers or staff computers. In your audit you should identify where all of this data is stored and how it is backed up. Cloud based applications and storage solutions are much more cost effective today and offer increased security over dedicated IP-based servers. You should have a data migration plan for migrating or storing data when systems are upgraded and know where to find archived data. If you have an IT department, make sure your document retention policy is inline with CPSC requirements, which is 5 years, and integrate your company email retention policy with your compliance program. Educate your employees on proper storage of files and documents.

 

Think outside the box

When developing your compliance program there is no one-size-fits-all approach. After completing an audit of your current program you can then identify possible technology solutions to adopt or to fill the gaps in your current systems. Keep in mind that your compliance program should  encompass your company’s product testing and certification program so that compliance with all applicable federal and state children’s product safety rules and regulations is ensured. The days of using Excel spreadsheets solely for the documentation and implementation of your compliance program are quickly ending, but there are many great solutions available out there today, you just need to find the one that best works for you.

For more information on a conducting compliance program audit or help with creating your CPSC Compliance program please contact us by visiting the Jacoby Solutions website.

Recent CPSC Consent Decrees require use of “Independent Product Safety Coordinators”

Two California  toy importers  have agreed to use Independent Product Safety Coordinators to create compliance programs to settle allegations of violating CPSC requirements, the Justice Department noted in a October 6 press release. They are decreed from selling and importing toys or other children’s products until these programs have been set up.

The companies are Unik Toyz Trading and Brightstar Group, both of Los Angeles. The complaints and settlements also name company officers: Julie Tran and Kiet Tran (Unik) and Sherry Chen (Brightstar)

Both decrees mandate the creation of compliance programs requiring the following:

  •  Use of Independent “Product Safety Coordinators” (no financial or personal ties) who would help set up a comprehensive product safety compliance program and audit products to determine which require testing and certification to CPSC rule. 
  • Engage  an CPSC accredited third party lab for product testing 
  • Periodic product testing plan according to 16 CFR 1107.
  • Conformity certificates retained and available to provide at CPSC’s request. The companies must have processes to verify that all underlying requirements are satisfied.
  • Warning labels on all products requiring them.
  • Tracking labels  on all products that require them.
  • Correction procedures to fix problems, conduct recalls, and respond to CPSC letters of advice.
  •  Incident reporting procedures to investigate incident reports, meet CPSC reporting requirements, and correct “systemic issues” found by the investigations.

Under both decrees, the companies must certify to the Compliance Office that they have met all provisions, accept CPSC facility inspections to ensure such compliance, and submit to at least two years of CPSC monitoring.

 

The CPSC sent 21 letters of advice to Unik from November 2011 to January 2015. The allegations involved lead content, phthalates, small parts, accessible batteries, art material labeling, third-party certification, and tracking labels

 

The Brightstar allegations involved lead content, warning labels on marbles, strollers’ folding mechanisms, third-party certification, and tracking labels. The CPSC sent nine letters of advice to Brightstar from September 2013 to April 2015.

 

Over the last several years, the creation of a compliance program has become a mandatory element of every settlement with the CPSC. 

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The CPSC expects companies to have a robust compliance plan in place. Do you have all of the required elements in place?  Let Jacoby Solutions be your Independent Product Safety Coordinator and call us to schedule a CORE audit to see how your People, Process and Technology stack up..

JPMA Moderates Panel at ICPHSO

Jacoby Solutions at ICPHSO

 

At the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO) Conference held on Feb. 23-26 in Orlando, JPMA moderated the panel: How Data Sharing Can Lead to More Effective Policy. The panel explored not only the importance of how sharing of data can improve federal rulemaking and regulatory policy, but also improve and refine corporate policy.

The session was moderated by JPMA Managing Director of Government and Public Affairs, Julie Vallese, and the panel participants were Joan Lawrence from the Toy Industry Association, Jennifer Schechter from Consumer Reports, Bill Jacoby of Jacoby Solutions and George Borlase from the CPSC. Drawing lessons from industry experts and regulatory agencies currently working in collaboration with regards to data sharing, this panel addressed ways to effectively share data and discuss how the interpretation of data can affect public policy, corporate policy and protections, and the public perception of issues.

 

Time for Small Batch Manufacturers to Reapply for Exemption for 2014

Small Batch Registration Deadline

 

NOTE that if you are a registered small batch manufacturer with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for calendar year 2013 and you wish to continue in this status, you must register again for calendar year 2014.  Registration must be submitted annually.  On or about December 1st, 2013, the CPSC will release instructions on how to renew your registration.

 

If you qualify and if you are a manufacturer of children’s products and produce in small batches, it is critical that you register for a small batch exemption if your sales are less than 1 million dollars from the previous calendar year or you have manufactured less than 7,500 qualifying (children’s products) units. See the CPSC website for details relating to your product.

If you are a new company  and new to this subject matter, you may have this question. Are small batch manufacturers currently required to third party test their children’s products in order to certify compliance to applicable regulations?

 It depends on the children’s product and the materials used to manufacture that children’s product.

Small batch manufacturers must always third party test for the following children’s product safety rules (Group A):

Qualifying small batch manufacturers are NOT required to third party test for compliance with certain other children’s product safety rules. Note, however, that all manufacturers, even those that are small batch manufacturers, must ensure that their children’s products are in compliance with the underlying children’s product safety rules in Group B and issue a general certificate of conformity (GCC)

Qualifying small batch manufacturers registered with the Commission are NOT required to third party test for the following children’s product safety rules (Group B):

With respect to Group B, qualifying small batch manufacturers will need to ensure that the products comply with those regulations and issue a general certificate of conformity (GCC).

As a qualifying small batch manufacturer, you will need to register with the CPSC on an annual basis.  You can visit the CPSC page for more information. Ignorance of the law is no excuse so please register today.