With the Christmas period now over, manufacturers and retailers of toys are being advised to look at how they can improve their supply chains to ensure products match consumer expectations to avoid their return.
The toy industry has seen some contraction – globally it is reported to be down 3% but in certain territories, such as the UK, the figure is higher at 8%. This is not a universal trend. In China the market grew 3% between 2017 and 2018.
In Western markets, Christmas is an important time for toy manufacturers. For example, in the UK 30% of toy sales occur around Christmas and in the US 42% of all shoppers buy toys at this time.
At a time when markets are under pressure, manufacturers and retailers need to ensure their products are not only compliant with market regulations but also match consumer expectations. Periods of higher sales also correspond to higher returns. A variety of reasons exist for this - for example, the unwanted gift, which a manufacturer or brand cannot plan against. They can, however, try to mitigate against the risk of a product not being fit-for-purpose or failing to match the advertised description. To do this, they need to take a holistic approach to quality management in the supply chain.
Obviously, manufacturers need to ensure their products comply with the standards that regulation to marketplace. For example:
- European Union – Directive 2009/48/EC, the so-called European Toy Safety Directive (TSD)
- USA – US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) 2008
- Japan – Japan Food Sanitation Law (JFSL)
Most countries operate some form of regulation to protect children and manufacturers must ensure their products comply with those regulations.
In addition to umbrella regulations, such as those listed above, manufacturers also need to consider other regulations that may impact their products. For example, in the EU, suppliers may also need to consider the regulations such as Cosmetics, REACH, RoHS, and EMC. Failure to meet any of these regulations will lead to recalls.
Merely complying with regulations is no longer enough in today’s pressurized marketplaces. Consumer satisfaction must also be considered. High-quality products that match their advertising are what consumers want.
To achieve this, manufacturers must take a holistic approach to both quality and safety during product development, with quality assurance along the whole supply chain. If the product that arrives on the shelf conforms to market’s regulation and consumer expectations, it is far less likely to be returned.
To deliver a quality toy product to the market, stakeholders must:
- Establish a robust management system for quality and safety
- Identify risk at an early stage within the product’s development and production
- Maintain strong safety and quality protocols throughout production
- Instigate safe and smooth systems for progressing products along the supply chain
If these elements are implemented and maintained along the supply chain, the end product has a high chance of meeting or exceeding consumer expectations.
The important thing for toy manufacturers is to get it right, first time. In this way they will protect their customers and their brands.
SGS Toy Testing Services
SGS offers a wide range of services to ensure that products comply with relevant standards for childcare articles and children’s equipment. They provide consulting, training, product development, testing, audit and inspection services to ensure that products comply with strict regulations worldwide, demonstrating the safety and quality of juvenile products being brought to the market.
Testing protocols include:
- Physical and mechanical tests
- Chemical tests
- Materials tests
- Food contact tests
- Flammability tests
- Performance tests
- Microbiology or microbiological tests
- Electrical safety tests
- Electromagnetic compliance (EMC) tests
- Environmental safety tests
- Packaging tests
- Battery tests
- Internet of Things (IoT) tests
SGS also helps with product failure analysis and test-to-failure analysis, to help companies understand why problems occur. Whatever the toy and wherever the market, SGS has experts who can help. To learn more about SGS Toy Testing Services.
SGS Product Recall Database
SGS also maintains an at-a-glance, online database for consumer goods manufacturers and retailers to get instant access to the latest unsafe product notifications (non-food) from the EU and USA. To see the SGS Product Recall Database.
For more information, please contact:
Toy Business Development and Technical Manager
Tel: +31 (0)88 214 45 17
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 97,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.