Admin note: My site host says this site could go down for 30 minutes between Wednesday, December 3 2008 @ 10:00 PM through Thursday, December 4 2008 @ 2:00 AM PST.
The title of this entry is a good summary of the AAFA meeting. Not to say people didn’t have a handle on the situation, just that you’re not the only one who is perplexed by the CPSIA regulations and proposed implementation. I don’t even know where to start so this I guess this is a sort of debriefing dump.
To give you an idea, I heard a lot of the same questions there that I’ve heard from many of you. For example, one person thought they were off the hook for the new CPSIA regulations because they only do full package private label and thought their package supplier was going to have to deal with this, not them. Okay people, let’s do a quick review of Manufacturing 101 because many here are also confused on the matter. Whether you own a single sewing machine, you are the manufacturer if you cause the item to exist. That is a legal designation and not my opinion. As an example, go argue about it with the state of California. They are never charmed or patient with one’s self determined definitions of “manufacturer”.
Another item of contention was -get this- what is a style number? And you thought it was just me who ragged on you about those. Debate centered on what is a style number because even there, not everyone uses or designs them to mean the same thing as I’ve explained here. The reason it matters is because required testing will not be according to the looser definition of style number but most likely according to SKU which could be crudely described as the “child” of style numbers. So the end result is, if you’re not on the same page as everyone else and using accepted garment industry practices, something as silly as lack of style numbers (industry standard practices) will trip you up if you’re not following them. The discussion of style numbers, SKUs and tracking processes were just a few things that led me to believe that you won’t be able to skate by on your homegrown developed organizational processes -if you ever really could. Nope, you’re going to have to be a lot more professional. A logical consequence of this legislation is that kids wear manufacturers will become the barre or minimal standard in the application of garment industry standard practices. Better get that book I wrote if you don’t have it yet. If you have it, go to page 205 (The Big Dirty Secret) which will vis a vis, tell you a lot. You’d think I’d be used to it by now but it always side swipes me.
Another thing, you’re not the only one feeling beat up about this. A lot of people are in the same boat. I think manufacturers are missing a tremendous opportunity. Consumers stand to lose a great deal; it’s a matter of explaining what those losses represent before we can hope to elicit their support. I believe this because about 20% of the visitors to this site are consumers rather than manufacturers. As far as I can tell, they are just as upset as we are. When I’ve explained what this means to them and us, they totally get it. I’ve composed a list of eight central reasons they appear to be opposed to the legislation too. They’re writing letters to their legislators and talking about it on their blogs to educate other consumers. Consumers are our friends, not just our customers.
This is how I reduced it down. If manufacturers are confused about the law and retailers are confused about it too, then why does the implication exist that the only group who does understand the legislation are special interest groups? I say this over and over till I’m blue in the face but never attribute to malice, that which can be explained by stupidity -not to imply they are stupid, it’s an expression. Based on conversations with the groups I’ve spoken with, at least one on one, they can minimally be described as dismayed at the unintended impact of this legislation. I believe it is incumbent upon us to educate and partner with them to explain the far reaching consequences before it is too late.
All in all, it was a good day. I met some people who are really great, very knowledgeable and friendly. I look forward to telling you more later. I’m tired. Hope your day was a good one.
Related in the forum:
The War Room: CPSIA & Consumer Safety. This is a very active section with nearly 60 different threads and over 1,000 postings. Open to the public.