Regulation Brings New Challenge and Opportunity to Consumer-Products Industry

Consumer protection laws, country and state regulations, industry regulations, restricted substance lists (RSL) – it’s enough to make your head spin.

It’s also enough to cost your company millions of dollars and even brand reputation if you aren’t prepared.

Consumers are becoming ever savvier about the kinds of products they interact with. Companies that can track and show how their products are made and what goes into those products put themselves at an advantage.

With the introduction of new and broadening of existing consumer protection laws, apparel companies, and consumer-product industries as a whole, have had to learn the in-and-outs of myriad country regulations so their products aren’t rejected at the border.

Like the European Union, North America is beginning to establish common regulations. NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) allows most products to cross borders between participating countries fairly easily. However, as U.S. companies are expanding into Europe and vice-versa, global regulations are a huge challenge and will only continue to get more complicated.

Greater visibility into the supply chain is becoming essential. Some current regulations require that companies understand the history of the product inside its country of origin and the chemicals used in the product. Certification information must also be presented for each of the materials suppliers deliver. Just gathering this data from global suppliers can be a challenge.

The good news (yes, there is good news) is this data, once collected, is valuable not only to regulators, but also to the internal functioning of a company.

Increased visibility into the supply chain allows an organization to realize opportunities for managing and reducing supply-chain risks. Global usage of materials and suppliers can be properly assessed, and cycle time reduced—all of which could result in lower cost, higher quality products.

How has your organization handled the growing challenge of quality and compliance regulations?

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