If you’ve had products tested to meet CPSIA regulations, you have probably already learned that not all testing labs are the same. Time and expense are critical components when testing a product. For today’s Feature Friday, Promotional Consultant Today shares a few testing tips from Leeton Lee’s article “Five Common Testing Lab Mistakes” in the July issue of Promotional Consultant digital magazine.
Pick the right lab for the job. This is always the No. 1 consideration when working with test labs. A few of the mega-sized labs are too busy with their multimillion dollar, big-box retail accounts to pay any attention to the average-sized supplier in our business. Take an extra day or two to interview a few of the smaller CPSIA-accredited labs that are sensitive to the short deadlines, miniscule profit margins, small batches and semi-custom products that make our industry so challenging. A few labs reach out specifically to our industry to seek business (including UL-STR, which is PPAI’s approved lab business partner).
Work with the right person at the lab. Ask to speak with the lab’s promotional products client service manager to determine if it’s a good fit for your business and compliance needs. Some client service managers are experts in apparel, textiles, footwear, bags, luggage and other soft-line items, while others are trained in hard goods. It’s critically important that you work with the lab representative who can best answer your technical questions on a timely basis, guide you in developing proper testing protocols for your products and build a trusting partnership for both companies.
Ask the lab how to save money in testing. Testing can be very expensive and has to meet government-approved testing protocols. Under certain circumstances the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has allowed the labs to certify compliance using “component” testing of common parts and components and “composite” testing of like materials such as inks and other materials to dramatically reduce the cost of testing. Ask about any cost-saving measures the lab could suggest for testing. Plus, ask for any discounts that the lab may provide. Most labs will provide a discount, even a nominal one, if a client can demonstrate a desire to form a business relationship and has a respectable level of testing needs. The more testing volume (in revenue dollars to the lab) a company projects on an annual basis, the greater the discount will be. Check with several labs to determine their best discounts for your business, but compare their prices for the same tests to determine your “effective price” for each test.
For more testing tips, read the July issue of Promotional Consultant digital magazine here.
Source: Leeton Lee has been in the product safety and compliance industry for 18 years, starting as in-house legal counsel at The Walt Disney Company where he worked for seven years and helped to form Disney’s industry-leading Corporate Product Integrity Department and managed the company’s legal matters for its worldwide product safety and liability program. As an attorney for approximately 25 years, he has extensive experience in regulatory compliance and product safety, namely in toys, children’s products, promotional products and apparel. He is currently vice president of regulatory compliance and general counsel at drinkware supplier ETS Express, Inc. in Oxnard, California. He is also a member of PPAI’s Product Responsibility Action Group (PRAG).