Products come and go, and manufacturers and retailers who want a shelf life beyond the next holiday season must sell safe products. Brand image and reputation that have been carefully nurtured for years can be tainted in an instant. A large recall or a customer injury suit can wipe out in one stroke a multitude of merchant smart plays. To avoid such a crisis, there are numerous measures that electrical and electronic product suppliers need to consider:
- Vendor Selection: The first step is to develop a long-term buyer/vendor relationship. When there is a sense of a continuing partnership and potential future business at stake, vendors have a strong incentive to design safe products.
- Third-party Certification: The second step is to obtain third-party product safety certification. This involves a highly experienced independent third-party to scrutinize prototype designs or early production samples, and screen out significant errors that even the most diligent design houses may miss. Certification schemes also include some factory surveillance, which is generally implemented through quarterly visual inspections that can monitor any design discrepancies.
- Compliance with Sourcing and Performance Specifications (protocols): Another measure is to review production samples against a sourcing or performance specification. This action by a third-party can frequently detect any variation from the original certification samples.
What is Safety Testing and Certification?
- Product is tested against recognized safety standards for criteria such as electric shock, excessive temperature, radiation, implosion, mechanical hazards and fire.
- Technical file (including factory inspection report) is compiled and then assessed by the certification body. Assuming all is in line with relevant requirements, certification is granted and the associated mark may be used on the product, packaging, commercial materials, etc.
- Following successful certification, the manufacturing facility is regularly inspected to ensure continuity of production quality.