At the very simplest, product compliance means that your product meets all regulatory requirements that apply to it. Sounds simple, right? But as many practitioners will tell you, compliance is harder than it seems on the surface.
Compliance is an important aspect of product development. It ensures that products meet all safety, legal and regulatory requirements. This can be a complex process, but it's vital to ensure that products are safe for consumers and the environment.
This complete guide will go through product compliance in detail and how it's essential to creating successful products. We'll also look at some common compliance challenges and how to overcome them.
What is Product Compliance?
Product compliance is the process of ensuring that a product meets all the necessary regulations and standards. This can include everything from safety standards to environmental regulations.
To ensure compliance, manufacturers must first assess the relevant regulations and standards for their products. They then must design and test their product to ensure it meets these requirements.
Product compliance is a complex and ever-changing area, and manufacturers must stay up-to-date with all the latest requirements. Once a product is on the market, compliance must be monitored to ensure that it meets all relevant standards. Non-compliant companies can result in serious penalties, including fines and product recalls.
Why is Product Compliance a Challenge for Manufacturers?
One of the biggest challenges manufacturers face is the issue of product compliance across different countries and states.
Different Regulations in Different Markets
With so many different regulations, certifications, and standards in place worldwide, it can be difficult to ensure that all products meet the required standards.
This creates systems of rules that are essentially in flux at all times. This also means one has to make a considerable effort to understand which regulations apply and when they may update.
Management of Product Compliance Processes
Secondly, it all comes down to data, as it is the most basic currency in product compliance. Quality management of product compliance data and the processes around it, up and down the supply chain and into logistics and consumer realms, form the scaffolding for any compliance endeavor.
For complex products, the regulation and compliance footprint of any given item can span a dozen countries, hundreds of suppliers, and global markets.
Proper product compliance hinges on evidence that a product meets the prescribed requirements. That may involve testing, labeling, on-product disclosures, or certificates and seals of approval.
Product Compliance Updates
In addition, the regulatory landscape is constantly changing, so manufacturers must keep up-to-date with new laws and requirements.
This can be daunting, particularly for small businesses that may not have the resources to dedicate to compliance. However, being non-compliant with regulations can lead to hefty fines, so manufacturers must do everything they can to stay compliant.
How do Product Compliance Teams Work?
Generally, product compliance teams work to identify risks associated with products and supply chains. They know which regulations are related to design, production, logistics, and actual selling of goods. They are also responsible for dealing with any market surveillance authorities in the case of non-compliance, often in tandem with legal.
The larger focus for most compliance teams is to reduce the risk to a company by making small adjustments to the product manufacturing and go-to market process. Failure to comply with regulations or standards often means
- Heavey fines
- Closed markets
- Restrictions on points of sale
Needless to say, all of these affect the bottom line.
That means that product compliance teams must be hyper-vigilant when managing supply chain partners, product data, and regulatory landscapes.
The exercise of inventorying the unique substances and materials in any given supply chain is resource-intensive and often one that taxes compliance teams.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between quality control/assurance and product compliance. The former is typically focused at the SKU level and the market level.
What Standards do Product Compliance Teams Focus on?
A number of regulations and policies worldwide, like RoHS, California Prop 65 and EU REACH, restrict chemicals in manufactured products. Like many compliance regulations, these come with legal consequences. As a result, adhering to them becomes a priority for product manufacturers looking to work globally.
Regulatory Requirements that Product Manufacturers Consider
Chemical Substance Regulations
There are many standards and directives relating to chemicals of concern and substances that can impact the health and safety of customers and environments.
Lead, BPA, benzene, formaldehyde are just a few of the many substances that have significant regulatory requirements in the US. Violations of these chemicals come with consequences, and so many compliance teams proactively test for them
For this reason, it is paramount to follow any consumer product safety act and product compliance requirements in place in specific markets.
Product-Specific Safety Standards
Different categories of products have specific standards that apply to them. For example, there are detailed standards for children's toys, apparel, automotive, etc., and each has unique standards. Some items fall into more than one category. Many product safety standards require testing and documentation before going to market.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) maintains categories of product-specific safety standards, which are ever-evolving in the US.
There are several labeling requirements that exist worldwide, both for on-product as well as for shipping and transport.
As you might imagine, regulations vary based on geography and product type and eventually impact supply chains. One of the more well-known label standards is associated with California Prop 65.
As with product design, a chain of custody is required to ensure that product data meets labeling and marketing teams efficiently, so a product hits shelves with the appropriate documentation and label.
Tools for Successful Product Compliance
Today, product compliance is a more expanded function than ever. In order to successfully bring a product to market, businesses must ensure compliance with a variety of regulations.
Depending on the industry, this can include everything from environmental standards to safety protocols. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools and technologies that can help your compliance team.
Suppliers are at the front lines of information management, IP protection, and communication needs regarding compliance. It often falls on them to gather the full chemical composition of an item for safety and regulatory compliance, but also proactively respond to emerging regulations and new chemicals of concern.
At Toxnot, we offer automated product compliance management for regulations worldwide, making your life easier and allowing you to focus on other tasks.
Technology can solve supplier and organizational issues like the redundancy of requests, proprietary substance protections, and submission to standards with tools like:
- Workflow automation
- Secure cloud services
- Comprehensive regulatory and hazard screening
- API integration
If it is packaged in an intuitive, affordable interface, it can increase engagement, customer satisfaction, and consumer safety.
Companies can better mitigate risks in their product's compliance by automating the scanning and indexing of unstructured data.
This pays dividends quickly.
Accuracy and lower document processing costs are metrics that help any team with their due diligence measures. Extracting data from documents and forms through manual data entry is slow and expensive but is also prone to errors. Hence, this compounds determination issues quickly.
How Toxnot by 3E Helps with Regulatory Compliance
We know that consumers and forward-thinking brands are increasingly demanding cleaner, less harmful products and materials. And we get the very real challenges associated with product compliance. That is why we started Toxnot.
Our software looks at the specific pain points in product compliance and makes data – the ultimate currency in compliance- a resource rather than a risk.
We screen products against over 100+ regulatory lists, and our solution offers precious features to help with due diligence measures, such as:
- An easy-to-use dashboard
- Auditable product histories
- Integrated reporting
- Automatic notifications when regulations change
All these make regulatory compliance approachable for any organization with strict technical requirements and documentation. Contact us today and book your demo.
Steps to Implementing Product Compliance
Ready to implement product compliance? This whitepaper presents an overview of everything you need to start your first steps towards product compliance! Add value to your company by learning why facilitating product compliance can be simple and easy to manage with the right tools.
Product Regulatory Compliance for Consumer Safety
Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for consumers. This includes ensuring that products meet all applicable regulatory requirements in both the European Union and other countries.
Unfortunately, being compliant can be complex and time-consuming. Additionally, changes in regulations can make it difficult to keep up with the latest requirements.
As a result, many manufacturers choose to partner with a third-party compliance company.
At Toxnot, we help companies navigate the compliance evaluation process and ensure that their products meet all applicable standards.
Steps to Implementing Product Compliance
Ready to implement product compliance? This whitepaper overviews everything you need to start your first steps toward product compliance!
Add value to your company by learning why facilitating product compliance can be simple and easy to manage with the right tools.