When you are selling products and making claims about the quality and raw materials used to produce the products (for example ingredients in a food manufacturing business), you absolutely must make sure that you are being honest. In the world we live in now, lying about your products can have serious consequences as it can be hard to keep the truth covered up.
Making false claims in quality is something which needs to be taken very seriously. As a business, you should never mislead your customers as they will find out and avoid using your company in the future, not to mention the potential reputational impact if it reaches the press or social media.
In this blog post, we are going to look at the issue with making false claims in quality of products. We will also discuss some of the things that a QHSE professional can learn from this kind of mistake.
Locally Made Products
When a product appears to have been made locally, customers often to choose it over other products which might have been manufactured in another country, which for example may have been reported to have poor human rights and working conditions. So, what happens when a company lies about having the products made locally?
One example of a company that has done this in the past is the New Zealand fashion brand ‘World’. This company was found to have clothing with some labels that stated the product was “Made in New Zealand” and others that said the same product was “Made in Bangladesh”. This is a serious issue and this kind of false claim had a big impact on the business as a whole.
In this kind of situation, the company should have cleared up the issue and admitted fault and putting everyone right on this issue. Sadly, however, the CEO of ‘World’ decided to play down the issue by stating that it was the tag that was made in New Zealand rather than the product. Any customer and businessperson alike could see through this response and would agree that this company has been dishonest and further made things worse by the claimed remarks made by the CEO.
What Does This Teach A QHSE Professional?
Making false claims in quality is never acceptable and as a QHSE professional, you need to recognise this. This kind of issue is a critical non-conformance and it is something which needs to be reported as soon as possible. It is possible that the QHSE professionals in ‘World’ might have spotted this issue and reported it, but either way, the issue was ignored until spotted by a customer. “To Late!”
As a QHSE professional, you need to recognise when it is important to step up. Don’t let the fear of disapproval from management put you off standing up for quality and protecting the business against false claims. You might not want your senior managers to look bad, but things are only going to be worse if the public or your customer notices the false claim themselves. Try to prevent the problem from going any further by speaking up as soon as you are aware of a false claim in quality.
In this case, we are referring to a clothing brand, but what if this was related to a critical health or safety device. Or even a food product. How can we be sure that the raw materials could meet the standards expected and what may the consequences be?
Many companies make false claims, and these are often picked up by regulatory bodies or even customers who have done some investigation into the quality of the product. As a QHSE professional, you need to make sure that you are always being honest about the products that your company is selling. It is very important that customers are not misled.
If you do spot any kind of false claims, then report these immediately. If your manager brushes off the issue, then you need to take it further to protect the business and yourself.
If there are any more serious issues, then you might need to consider being a whistleblower. Of course, we all hope that it doesn’t come to that as you will want to protect your company.
False claims can ruin the reputation of companies so do your job as a QHSE professional and protect the integrity of your business and the customers you serve. If you need QHSE training then make sure to get in touch with FQM Ltd.