AMERICAN AD BAG & OTTO INT’L BEGIN QCA CERTIFICATION PROCESS

The companies have applied to participate in the comprehensive compliance program developed by the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), the promotional product industry’s only independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping companies provide safe products.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (October 18, 2012) – Buying promotional products shouldn’t be a risky proposition. Unfortunately, it can be, and Fortune 1000 clients are more concerned than ever before about costly mistakes in this competitive economy. They know that one wrong purchase can lead to a product recall, which is damaging to the bottom line as well as to brand equity that takes years to build.

To help mitigate this risk, Fortune 1000 companies continue to focus on vetting their supply chains and requiring their partners to prove compliance. In order to meet these customer requirements, two more suppliers have begun taking the necessary, proactive steps to provide safe and compliant products. Woodstock, Illinois-based American Ad Bag and Ontario, California-based Otto International, Inc. have applied to participate in the comprehensive compliance accreditation program developed by the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), the promotional product industry’s only independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping companies provide safe products.

“The values of QCA—product safety, social compliance and environmental stewardship—are in line with American Ad Bag’s corporate values. Applying for QCA Accreditation is the natural evolution of our marketplace brand,” said Michael Cross, manager of American Ad Bag. “Our distributors are looking for that same market accountability of product safety, social compliance and environmental stewardship, and while we have been able to meet their needs, the area of compliance constantly changes and we must continue to educate ourselves and improve while filtering these same principles to both our domestic and international partners.”

Both American Ad Bag and Otto International have begun the initial self-certification phase, which is followed by a rigorous self-assessment. Once these are complete, the companies then submit their headquarters and supply base to multiple third-party audits. Finally, the QCA board uses a scorecard representing the performance of each applicant and its supply chain on the third-party audits as the foundation for granting accreditation.

“Deciding to become a part of QCA was pretty simple: We don’t want to lose business because we’re behind the market,” said Courtney Herrin, national sales manager for Otto International, Inc. “We’re constantly learning about new expectations in the market, and while we’ve been able to meet our clients’ requests for documentation showing our compliance, it’s not as seamless as we would like it to be. By being one of the few select headwear companies that have chosen to proactively become QCA Certified, we will not only strengthen our relationships with our clients but also provide our entire company with much needed knowledge of what it means to truly be compliant.”

For more information about QCA Accreditation and to inquire about the process and benefits received, contact dfenton@qcalliance.org.

About QCA:

Chicago, Illinois-based Quality Certification Alliance is an independent, accreditation organization whose mission is to elevate the standards by which industry firms that import and/or manufacture promotional products provide consistently safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious merchandise. QCA Accreditation is granted to companies who complete an independent third-party audit and comply with stringent standards, which are based upon a combination of state and national laws, international standards and industry-accepted best practices that are recognized for their strength and effectiveness by QCA Accredited companies, the promotional products industry and end-user clients.

QCA was formed in July 2008, and today 22 companies have met the rigorous qualifications to achieve QCA Accreditation—BAG MAKERS, Inc.; Barton Nelson, Inc.; BDA Inc.; Bodek and Rhodes; Broder Bros.; Bullet Line LLC; Cutter & Buck; Dard Products, Inc.; Design Resources Inc./Caps Direct; Garyline; Gemline; Gordon Sinclair; Hit Promotional Products; Jetline; JournalBooks/TimePlanner Calendars; Leed’s; Logomark, Inc.; MMI; Prime Resources Corp.; SnugZ USA; and Sweda Company LLC, Towel Specialties—with others soon to complete the process.

In May 2012, the QCA Distributor Advocacy Council Charter was created to formalize the relationship the organization has with distributors who understand the value compliance programs have in building stronger relationships with suppliers, creating competitive advantage in the marketplace and building loyalty with their end-buyer clients. It is currently comprised of 15 companies, which represent more than $800 million in annual promotional products sales.

D E (Denise) Fenton serves as executive director – compliance.

For more information, visit www.qcalliance.org.

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Media Contact:
Lisa Horn, CAS
214-674-8400
lisa_k_horn@hotmail.com

Company Contact:
D E Fenton
206-448-6271
dfenton@qcalliance.org