Essent Webinars: Product Safety Information Managment: Technology to Make Product Sales Safer

The Essent Business Management System greatly improves product safety information management so that product sales are safer. By using properties to categorize information, surveys to ask the right questions about product safety, and workflows to make sure product safety protocol is followed, Essent users are in command of product safety information.

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Slide 1: Product Safety Information Management
Good afternoon and welcome to today’s webinar. Today we’ll be discussing how technology can aid product safety information management, leading to safer product sales. Thank you for joining us.

Slide 2: Moderator: Douglas B. Brill
My name is Doug Brill. I’m the Essent marketing coordinator and I specialize in the promotional products industry. I’m also your moderator today.

Slide 3: About Essent
Before we begin, a very brief overview of Essent. Essent is the leader in providing Comprehensive business management solutions since 1981 Essent has been serving Distributors, Decorators, and Suppliers in the promotional products industry since the year 2000 $3 Billion in Commerce flows through Essent’s solutions each year

Slide 4: If You Have Questions
We expect that you may have some questions, but in an effort to keep the webinar concise for everyone we can only answer questions off line. Feel free to use the webinar control panel to submit questions, and we’ll be happy to answer them for you after the webinar has ended.

Slide 5: Product Safety
Let’s take an overview of product safety. Product Safety Regulations and Age Determination Guidelines are important to consider when selling products to your end customer. Products being sold have to meet certain product safety regulations. You should not only consider product safety regulations, but you should also ensure that products being sold are age approved for the end customer.

Slide 6: Product Safety (continued)
Distributors do have an obligation to determine the product’s intended audience and share this information with the importer, decorator, or manufacturer. It’s also important to note that those importers, decorators, and manufacturers that you are working with also need to be compliant so they’re also going to need a way to track product safety information.

Slide 7: Product Safety Compliance
When we are talking Product Safety and Product Safety Compliance, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says that "Compliance is important: (1) to protect the safety of American consumers; (2) to protect your company, your brand, and your customers; and (3) because it’s the law. Failure to follow these laws puts you and your customers at risk.”

Slide 8: Failure to Comply
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) article, Buying Promotional Products: A Guide to Federal Safety Laws, If you are a "supplier” or "distributor” of promotional products, you must understand and comply with important federal consumer product safety laws. The bottom-line is that you could face potentially catastrophic fines if you don’t comply, not to mention the potential lawsuits. It’s just not enough to say that a product is compliant. You need something to help you track your product safety information. And you need to track every product that you sell.

Slide 9: Presenter: William Austin
And with that, here to take you into greater detail is your presenter, Will Austin. Will is a business analyst for Essent, and he’ll tell you about using leveraging technology for improved product safety information management.

Slide 10: Topic
Again, the topic today is Product Safety Management and this webinar will show you the tools will greatly enhance product safety information management so that product sales are safer.

Slide 11: Are Your Products Compliant?
Now let’s take a look at a product. Here’s a mug. And you have a customer who wants to buy those mugs. And maybe you’re not sure if those mugs are compliant with Product Safety Regulations. So inspect the mug and it’s good. You then follow-up with the Supplier and they tell you that the mug is certified and they can provide documentation that states that the mug is certified.

Slide 12: Are Your Products Compliant? (continued)
Now you take that same mug and add a decoration to it. You also have a responsibility to make sure that any decorations on a product are also compliant with product safety regulations. Now you need to not only consider the product safety regulations associated with the product but now you also need to consider the decoration on your products. Maybe you’ve had this product decorated before which is great but maybe the ink that was used was part of a different lot then last time. This is definitely something to consider. You need to make sure that the decoration is compliant. So you call the supplier and they confirm that the decoration is certified.

Slide 13: Children’s Products
Okay so we’ve talked products and decorations but here’s the kicker. Children’s Products… The Consumer Product Safety Commission states that a "children’s product” is any item that is designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. Those Children’s products also have important safety regulations covering certain substances, such as lead, and, depending on the intended age of the consumer, a children’s product may have to comply with additional regulations addressing other hazards, such as Small part and Flammability If you are promoting or decorating your products in a manner in which they appear to be designed or intended primarily for young children that decorated product will now be classified as a children’s product.

Slide 14: Children’s Products (continued)
Let’s suppose, you have an undecorated item like a piece of drink ware, or a mug in this case, and the decoration is designed or intended primarily to appeal to young children, that decoration can "transform” the product from a "non-children’s product” into a "children’s product.” Now you have this decorated mug that is considered a children’s product that might be non-compliant. Even though a change in artwork on the product may appear to a distributor to be a "small” change, the change could have important implications for the consumer’s safety and for a company’s compliance with federal laws.

Slide 15: Resources to Consider
Now let’s talk about resources or tools to consider when managing Product Safety Information: You need to able to track products and whether they are compliant or not. You need to able to flag products by assigning attributes to products so that you know if they are Prop 65 compliant, or Children’s Products, or whatever safety regulations are associated with your products You need to have a product checklists that can be used to ask the right questions about products and decorations to verify the compliance of items. You may questions like "Is the product intended for a child?” or "Is the item being decorated” or even "Is the product being shipped to California” You also need Process Controls or a workflow that will be followed to make sure that you’re fulfilling and shipping products that are compliant. It could be something like a QA process that you’ll use to inspect your products before they ship. At the workflow level, you also need to be able manage documents associated with the compliance of products and decorations so that you use those documents to verify the compliance of the products before fulfilling and shipping them.

Slide 16: You Need the Tools
The bottom-line is you need a business management system that has the tools to track and manage product safety information. Let’s take a look at the tools in more detail

Slide 17: Product Attributes
We already talked about importance tracking the compliance of products and flagging products. You need to be to create Product Attributes. Those attributes should be user-definable and able to be assigned to products to track the safety regulations associated with a product. For example attributes like BPA Free, Lead Free, or Prop 65 Compliant. And once attributes are assigned, your business management system should allow you to search for products using attributes as search criteria. This will allow you to ensure that your customers are receiving products that are safe and age appropriate. To take attributes one step further, you should also consider a system that can add those attributes to a whole group of products so that the attributes will apply to all the products in that group. In that case, you create the product, assign it to a group, and your business management system will then assign the attributes based on the group.

Slide 18: Product Checklists
In addition to Attributes, you need Product Checklists so you can ask the right questions about an items on a sales order to verify that the products and/or decorations are compliant or age appropriate. Those product checklists can even be used as way to trigger the collection of Product Safety information or documentation For example, you might have a checklist that includes: Is the product safety certified? Is the decoration safety certified? And even is the product intended for use primarily by children 12 years or younger? In summary, those checklists can be used to determine if the product is certified, whether it is being decorated, and if it going to be used by a child. In this case, the results of the survey does reclassify the product to a children’s product. Just like with Attributes, you should consider a system that allows you to assign product checklists to a whole group of products. In that case, you assign the product checklists to a group, and then the system will know to trigger product checklists for all products in that group.

Slide 19: Workflow
The next tool that you need is Workflow. Workflow is a sequence of processes or activities that comprise a work process. Those processes or activities within a workflow can be used to follow-up on the items on the Sales Order to ensure that you are fulfilling and shipping a product that is safe and age appropriate. For example, we see a three activities that need to be completed. The activities will be completed in sequence so in this case we are going to perform a product inspection then verify the compliance of a product and finally inspection product decorations. Optionally along the way, you should be able to place on holds on orders. For example a Fulfillment Hold or Shipping Hold can be placed on an order until the Workflow is completed to prevent orders from being fulfilled and shipped before confirming that items on an order are compliant with Product Safety Regulations and are age appropriate.

Slide 20: Document Management
For document management, you need to be able to manage documents that will be used verify and track the compliance of products and decorations. If we take that same workflow from the previous Slide and then simply add the ability to manage documents along the way. This is especially helpful for attaching certificates of compliance for products and decorations.

Slide 21: You Need the Tools
We now know that product safety is important because non-compliance can be catastrophic; ]You need at your disposal to better manage product safety information; This includes using Product Attributes to track product safety regulations associated with products; Using Product Checklists to verify the compliance of product and decorations. And even placing Holds on orders by using Workflow to help ensure that products are safe for your customers; It’s also important to note that within Workflow, attaching files or documents associated with product safety regulations are a snap.

Slide 22: What if Something Changes?
So what if something changes? You can continue to use these tools as regulations change or if you need to track new Product Safety Regulation info. It’s easy to create new Product Attributes or update Product Checklists and Workflow when needed.

Slide 23: Each Tool is Powerful on Its Own
Now you already know that this combination of tools can used to manage product safety information so imagine the possibilities of information that can be tracked because each tool is very powerful on its own. You can use Attributes to track product information such as country of manufacture or packing requirements Product Checklists can be used to collect product requirement information such as custom decoration instructions like logo location. Or use Workflow to manage an order from start to finish for something like Quality Assurance and then using Holds to ensure that products are not shipped until they are checked for quality.

Slide 24: Solutions for You
Thank you, Will. Essent is committed to using technology to improve product safety information management so that product sales are safer. Essent solutions provides all the capabilities discussed today and we’ll be happy to answer questions specific to your company. All you need to do is schedule a free demonstration at There, you’ll see some of the highlighted product safety information management capabilities of Essent solutions, and you can use the page to get in touch with an Essent representative. Again, that’s to take the next step. Thanks again to everyone for attending today’s webinar. Stay safe.