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(By Hamed.K.Lateef, CEO Textile Testing International)
Does only relying on test reports insures compliance?
The answer is a big No!
Conformity is guaranteed only when the entire supply chain is compliant. It is only possible when a thorough management program is there which at least includes the steps such as understanding the requirements, raw material management, process control, supply chain/ accessories surveillance and of course Testing, without which a compliance program cannot be completed .
It is important to ensure that all the materials and chemicals placed in the production line are in compliance, knowing that conforming products cannot be made by raw materials that inherently do not meet the product safety requirements.
Compliance check can be performed by testing or requesting similar information from the supplier. If the information is not available from the raw materials supplier, it is advisable to carry out a test beforehand or when the materials reach the facility storage area. Make sure that the materials going to be tested should be taken from the same batch of material for production.
Information in the test report should be interpreted carefully as testing can be “fact finding” or “blind believing”. Always bear in mind that test report shows only the presence/concentration of the restricted substance requested by the sample submitter, therefore the plastic button with a ‘Pass’ test report for Lead does not mean it complies with other product safety requirements. It is detrimental to the business if the sourcing department does not review the report content but just rely on ‘Pass’ on the report front page.
If the manufacturer is confident that all materials used for production meet the product safety requirement, it is still advisable to test some of the finished products. Theoretically, the finished products should be in compliance since they are made with materials that meet the requirements, yet there may be unavoidable contamination or unforeseeable manufacturing process defects that affect the product. Random testing of the bulk products makes it possible to detect these problems. Testing is not the only way to manage product safety, yet a perfect compliance program should always contain a reliable and authentic testing.
It is a means to validate both the program and the end product compliance. The percentage of the material/product tested can be adjusted according to the program needs – use testing as a tool to add value to your product safety management program.