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82 OPINION ONLY GOOD MERCHANDISE The topic of promotional products is becoming increasingly important for inspection companies such as TÜV and Intertek. This is due to the growing awareness of safety and quality of globally operating major enterprises. Especially the large companies in the automotive, food or chemical industries are refraining from their previous concept of believing everything the supplier of promotional products promises. Why? Because they have had plenty of negative experiences. The major challenge to globally operating customers of promotional products is the diversity of legal requirements on promotional products in the respective marketplaces. This finding is becoming more and more widely accepted in the market. Customers such as Nestlé are increasingly requesting external service providers for assistance in the quality assurance of their promotional products. In the past I have repeatedly spoken to PSI members to highlight the need to introduce quality assurance concepts. And again and again SMEs responded with the same rhetoric: “We have known our suppliers for years, they supply only good merchandise.” Or: “We always receive declarations of conformity from our suppliers confirming that all requirements are complied with.” There is hardly a company that actually addresses the issue of quality assurance. Again and again I heard: Too expensive, too much effort, not necessary ... The struggle for price and margin plays a major role in these utterances. Can this be an excuse? Certainly not. A major supplier recently commented that he would like to have several companies audited because none of their products have the necessary certificates. This is why the products can be offered at lower prices. Properly tested and certified promotional products often have no chance in this unfair competition.The industry needs to be careful. Particularly in times »Those who don’t care seriously for quality management and sustainability will miss a great opportunity. « PSI Journal 4/2016 www.psi-network.de of change and in a phase in which the economy is improving again (there is no doubt about that!), these supposed “trivial offences” are becoming more dangerous and can damage the industry’s image. “We are being supplied with garbage,” is what I heard yesterday, for example, from a market leader in the food industry. “When I request inspection documents from my German supplier, all I receive is a confirmation from his Chinese supplier that everything is okay.” These practices are particularly harmful to the small companies in our industry. According to the federal association “Industrial Communication”, the budgets of German B2B companies grew by over 30 per cent last year. In addition to trade shows, product information, Web and print, promotional products play the most important role in the allocation of budgets. Another great opportunity for the industry which should not be wasted through negligence in meeting legal requirements and addressing sustainability issues. Best regards, Michael Freter Publisher of PSI Journal Managing Director PSI michael.freter@psi-network.de

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