MAKING YOUR MARK

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Making your Mark
Particularly in the current economic climate, the push to meet consumer demand for value-for-money
goods is having a ripple effect throughout the supply chain. This is especially so for those businesses
involved in supplying high-street retailers. The “pile it high and sell it cheap” mentality means that retailers
are increasingly cutting out the ‘middle man’ in the supply chain to source their own-brand products
directly from manufacturers in countries with lower production costs. This change in the traditional supply
chain is creating a financial headache for the businesses involved, and could result in damage to their
reputation on the high street and increased costs to their business in the long-term.
Falling Foul
There is a widespread assumption that CE marking stamped on a
product by the manufacturer is proof of its safety. Retailers, or indeed
other businesses in the supply chain, that buy ‘own brand’ direct from
non-EU manufacturers run the risk of falling foul of this misunderstanding.
What many don’t realize is that cutting out parts of the traditional supply
chain changes their responsibilities under EU law. As retailers import
more products from abroad, they must realize that it is they, and not the
manufacturer, that is responsible for ensuring product compliance under
CE marking regulations. The danger is the assumption that CE marking
stamped on an own-brand product by the manufacturer is proof of its
safety and, as a result, unsafe goods make it onto the shelves. This of
                                                                                  Jean Louis-Evans
course raises the spectre of prosecution, as in the eyes of the law there
is no excuse for misunderstanding where the legal responsibility lies for        to investigating complaints, whereas French and German authorities
ensuring proof of compliance.                                                    systematically take products off the shelves to test against the CE
                                                                                 marking directives. So, while there is a standard European CE marking,
Incompetence Breeds Danger                                                       there is still no single European consumer safety mark. This necessitates
What companies do not understand is that CE marking is simply a                  those in the supply chain, who don’t wish to rely on the CE marking,
manufacturer’s or an importer’s declaration that its product complies with       to do their own supplementary safety testing. This means that ‘safe’
EU directives. Less scrupulous manufacturers may not bother to test              products sold in Europe should carry both a CE and another safety mark
products, simply affixing the CE marking and signing the declaration of          such as the TÜV certification, German GS mark or French NF mark. In
conformity. Owing to language issues, other manufacturers that mean              countries such as Germany or France, this actually helps retailers to sell
well are misunderstanding the requirements of a complex set of directives        goods as consumers look out for the mar
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: In the current economic climate, the push to meet consumer demand for value-for-money goods is having a ripple effect throughout the supply chain. This is especially so for those businesses involved in supplying high-street retailers. The "pile it high and sell it cheap" mentality means that retailers are increasingly cutting out the 'middle man' in the supply chain to source their own-brand products directly from manufacturers in countries with lower production costs. There is a widespread assumption that CE marking stamp on a product by the manufacturer is proof of its safety. CE marking replaced the old system of individual country requirements to enable the free movement of goods across the EU.
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