The Road to Transparency: Product ComplianceJuly 19, 2019
Transparency is one of the top consumer demands in today’s fashion industry. Retailers and brands putting the key tenets of transparency into practice are winning the hearts, minds and even the wallets of consumers. Take H&M, for example. The fast-fashion brand announced this year that it launched an initiative to share product information across all garments on its website. It publishes key supplier factory information to prevent labor abuses or dangerous working conditions. Meanwhile, apparel companies across the board are setting goals to eliminate carbon emissions, reduce landfill waste and eradicate single-use plastics within the next decade.
While transparency initiatives like these show signs of real progress in the retail industry, full transparency starts at a more basic level. Product compliance, meaning that an item meets all regulatory requirements that apply to it, is one of the first steps on the road to transparency.
Transparency and Compliance Begin With Products
Apparel brands must comply with a complex mix of government regulations and varying standards depending on the product type. These rules can include things such as banning toxic substances, protecting safe working conditions, requiring specific documentation, or ensuring proper labeling or product testing. Failure to adhere to these regulations is not an option for brands and retailers. In fact, product compliance missteps can damage a brand’s reputation and recovery can be difficult, especially when the brand is under the scrutiny of the public eye. When a company is in full compliance with product testing regulations, it has nothing to hide and can begin to realize the benefits of a more transparent business model.
Digital Supply Chains Enable Compliance and Transparency
For retailers to make product compliance a top priority, they must break down business silos and focus on a fully integrated, cloud-based digital supply chain. With complete visibility across departments, retailers and brand owners can better manage the complex process of requesting, tracking, submitting and approving product tests and creating compliance documents such as the General Certificate of Conformity (GCC). With a myriad of rules and regulations ranging from domestic to international requirements, a digital platform can ensure a product is fully compliant.
NGC’s Andromeda® Platform Is Your Next Transparency Tool
NGC’s Andromeda Quality Control solution for fashion retailers and brand owners helps apparel brands and retailers ensure their products are meeting required standards throughout the development and production process. The platform provides a solution for quality management and compliance testing throughout the entire supply chain. It features integration with legacy PLM, ERP and logistics solutions, multilingual online and offline functionality, and geolocation of factories and auditors.
With NGC’s Quality Control solution and its product testing and compliance features, many retailers have reaped the benefits, including time savings and improved accuracy, instant compliance updates and the ability to get ahead of testing rather than having to chase it with the help of proactive management tools. NGC customer Randa Accessories can testify to the difference this has made on its product testing and compliance procedures.
“NGC has met all of our needs,” said Tim Walter, SVP and CIO, Randa Accessories. “They are flexible and adaptable, and their solutions are ideally suited to a factory environment, with the ability to work offline or online. NGC Andromeda Quality Control provides an opportunity for Randa Accessories to set standards for both current and future compliance.”
The cloud-based solution also allows internal, third-party or factory-certified auditors to conduct multiple audit types, produce comprehensive inspection reports, and create corrective action plans—so products have met all requirements and are fully tested when they make it into the hands of a customer. All of the information collected is available on the Andromeda Cloud Platform, resulting in real-time reporting and failure notification. The system automatically generates corrective action plans that bring the quality assurance process full circle.
“Managing production quality and product compliance are critical steps in any apparel supply chain,” said Mark Burstein, president of sales and development, NGC Software. “Our Andromeda Quality Control solution allows retailers and brand owners to protect their brand reputation through comprehensive product testing and compliance features .”