The second full day of the PPAI Product Responsibility Summit, held earlier this week in Newport Beach, California, carried the momentum of the event with another full slate of in-depth presentations and panel discussions on strategies for managing product quality, understanding how products are inspected at ports, and addressing risk at every stage of the product life cycle.

 “By any measure, this year’s Summit was superb,” says Gene Geiger, MAS, co-chair of the PRAG Work Group and CEO of distributor Geiger. “Because of our California location, we placed a special emphasis on [information about] bringing goods into the U.S. and the coming changes to California Prop 65, but the overall content was very wide ranging and relevant.” 

Tuesday morning’s general session addressed how to establish a quality process program, led by panelists Bobby Yu, managing director of SPLD Trading and Consulting; Andrew Reich, founder and managing director of quality control firm InTouch Services; and Andrew Church, founder and president of Insight Quality Services. The panelists discussed the various stages of product inspection as well as how every party in the process—from factory to supplier to distributor—is responsible for ensuring safe products end up in the hands of the final customer. 

Later in the day, the Summit welcomed keynote speaker Jim Joholski, director of the CPSC Office of Import Surveillance (OIS), to discuss how products shipped from overseas are inspected at the nation’s ports, and how OIS works alongside U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure incoming cargo is safe and in compliance with federal and state regulations as required. 

The day’s sessions closed with a presentation from Ken Uriu, business development manager for the Port of Long Beach, who discussed the port’s vital role in accepting cargo from around the world, particularly Asia. Uriu also hosted a group of attendees who took a boat tour of the port on Wednesday. Read more about the tour here

“There is nothing more important to our customers than our protecting their brands and good names. I am so proud to see how PPAI and PRAG are giving member companies the information and tools that would be virtually impossible to assemble on our own,” says Geiger. “Summit attendance was a sellout and set a new record. Our challenge is now to get more companies actively involved, as it is clear that our customers and regulators are only going to be demanding more and more of us.” 

PPAI Board Chair Mary Jo Tomasini, MAS, says, “I was impressed by the collective expertise in the room, and to see service provider experts and industry leaders work together and share best practices in the product responsibility arena to make our entire industry better throughout the supply chain. Our work in product responsibility is unmatched, and the benefit to all stakeholders is but one of the reasons why associations like PPAI exist. 

“There are some things that we cannot do as individuals—we must come together in a collaborative fashion to accomplish meaningful outcomes for those who trust their brands in our hands. The product responsibility space is one of them,” she says. “Those who attended Summit went home with tools and ideas that will assist and improve their individual businesses and this entire industry today, tomorrow and beyond.” 

Leeton Lee, founder of consulting firm ComplyBox and a member of the Product Responsibility Action Group, says, “I can't believe this is our seventh Summit, and it keeps getting better in every way. The presentations and speakers have been superb, and we believe the binder that is given to each attendee is the best one we’ve ever created for suppliers and distributors. 

“Our attendees have not only learned new and useful practices from the experts, but they have also learned from each other and have formed valuable friendships and networking opportunities,” he adds. “This year’s Summit will be hard to beat, but the PRAG team is already thinking about next year!"