NORWOOD & BIC GRAPHIC BEGIN QCA ACCREDITATION 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 (January 12, 2012) – Last year was rough on business, as was seen in the unprecedented global changes that are impacting every industry and the worldwide markets. And the promotional products industry took its share of hits with raw material cost increases, changing demographics in China, public budget cuts for swag, and the continuous building of pressure on our supply chains through supply and demand as well as evolving product safety and compliance regulations.

To thrive during the next decade and beyond, industry practitioners are taking a hard look at their business models and best practices. And product safety and compliance is leading the charge.

Fortune 1000 customers have become more proficient at vetting their promotional products supply chains. Distributors expect suppliers to get moving, and they are committed to rewarding suppliers that can demonstrate they are compliant. Not having a proactive, comprehensive compliance program has now become a competitive disadvantage for those companies who fail to address these expectations from their corporate clients.

In order to meet these new demands, Clearwater, Florida-based Norwood and BIC Graphic 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. Since QCA introduced its compliance program in 2009, 19 companies have become QCA Certified and another 17 applicants are currently enrolled in the QCA Accreditation Program.

“Both Norwood and BIC Graphic have long demonstrated a commitment to the values that are represented in QCA Certification: product safety, quality, supply chain security, social responsibility and environmental stewardship,” said Nicolas Paillot, Norwood and BIC Graphic CEO. “After a thorough review, we believe QCA provides a tremendous benefit to our industry and will improve the credibility and reputation of the companies who achieve its accreditation.”

Norwood and BIC Graphic 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 the applicants and their supply chain on the third-party audits as the foundation for granting accreditation.

“Obviously, Norwood and BIC Graphic are a significant addition to the growing number of companies who are recognizing QCA as the industry standard for product safety and compliance,” said Brent Stone, QCA executive director – operations. “In conversations with Nicolas Paillot, it was very apparent that Norwood and BIC Graphic has long been committed not only to protecting the Fortune 1000 brands who are selecting its products but are also equally committed to protecting the significant brand equity the company enjoys both at retail and in the promotional products space. We are pleased that the company’s leaders see QCA Accreditation as the next extension in these efforts. I know the QCA Distributor Advocacy Council is very excited that NBGNA has begun the accreditation process.”

For more information about QCA Accreditation and to inquire about the process and benefits received, contact brent@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 19 companies have meet the rigorous qualifications to achieve QCA Accreditation—Avaline, Barton Nelson, Inc.; BDA Inc.; Broder Bros.; Bullet Line LLC; Cutter & Buck; Dard Products, Inc.; Fanda Enterprises, Inc. dba PromoFactory; Garyline, Gemline; Gordon Sinclair; Jetline; JournalBooks/TimePlanner Calendars; Leed’s; Logomark, Inc.; MMI; Prime Resources Corp.; SnugZ USA; and Sweda Company LLC—with others soon to complete the process.

In July 2010, the QCA Distributor Advocacy Council 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. In is currently comprised of 10 companies, which represent more than $700 million in annual promotional products sales.

D E (Denise) Fenton serves as executive director – compliance, and Brent Stone serves as executive director – operations.

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:
Brent Stone
206-448-6271
brent@qcalliance.org