LEED’S AND SWEDA COMPLETE QCA THIRD-PARTY AUDITS

These firms join BDA, Inc. and Logomark in becoming one-step closer to achieving accreditation through Quality Certification Alliance.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (June 19, 2009) – Leed’s and Sweda Company LLC have become the third and fourth companies to successfully complete a third-party audit of their compliance programs and practices, a milestone on the road to achieving accreditation from the Quality Certification Alliance. They join BDA, Inc. and Logomark, which were announced last week.

“With its exclusive focus on the promotional products industry, QCA has created the only comprehensive framework for compliance-related activities,” said David Nicholson, president of New Kensington, Pennsylvania-based Leed’s and QCA founding member. “While Leed’s has increased its own compliance efforts within the last several years, QCA now provides clear and established standards for our industry—something that was greatly needed. Ultimately, going through this process will make our own program more effective and will ensure the industry takes a proactive stance toward what is an increasingly important issue.”

A QCA member begins the accreditation process by first endorsing a self-certification, then it proceeds to through a self-assessment step, followed by a third-party audit.

“The audit process highlights the importance of well-documented procedures across every activity within our business,” said Nicholson. “As a result, we are now able to benchmark our internal compliance program and better gauge our progress.”

Finally, a scorecard is created based on the results of the third-party audit, and the QCA board uses the scorecard as the foundation for granting accreditation. “Companies that make the commitment to be involved in the QCA certification process reaffirm their companies’ dedication to quality while providing a model to help lift industry standards,” said Jim Hagan, president of City of Industry, California-based Sweda Company LLC.

To date, 10 of the 14 founding members have successfully completed the stringent self-audit stage and are in the third-party audit verification process, and four founding members have passed third-party audits of their headquarters facilities.

“Organizationally, we are quite please with the progress the founding members have made in such a short period of time,” said D E Fenton, QCA executive director. “It is also encouraging that end users consulted during the QCA Standards defining process are supportive of the effort and are pleased this topic is being addressed by a group of leaders within the promotional products industry.”

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. The QCA Seal of Approval is granted to member 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 members, the promotional products industry and the end-user clients.

QCA was formed in July 2008 by 14 companies that import and/or manufacturer promotional products: Avaline; Barton Nelson, Inc.; BDA Inc.; Broder Bros.; Dard Products, Inc.; Fanda Enterprises, Inc.; Gemline; Gordon Industries, Ltd.; Leed’s; Litehouse Custom Printing, Inc.; Logomark, Inc.; MMI International Trade; Prime Resources, Corp.; and Sweda Company, LLC. D E (Denise) Fenton serves as executive director.

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