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NAEM Insights: Uncovering Hidden Global Product Compliance Challenges

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March 15, 2018Alan Johnson and Hans PluggeBlog

This past week, Senior Toxicologist Hans Plugge and I attended the 2018 NAEM EHS & Sustainability Software & Data Management conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. During the conference, we had the opportunity to present and facilitate a session on day 1 on The Challenge of Global Product Compliance: Driving Value - Reducing Risk. Global product compliance requires a proactive framework for monitoring, assessing, strategizing, and aligning organizational assets to mitigate risk. Thirty participants from across our industry attended the session, including software and solution providers, implementers and consultants, as well as current and prospective Verisk 3E customers. We very much appreciated the opportunity to connect and interact with such a highly qualified group of industry leaders.  

The session featured three segments. First, we led a discussion on global product compliance and the challenges that companies face in their upstream and downstream supply chain. Next, we facilitated small group discussions on the specific product compliance challenges of participants. Finally, we ended with a four-step methodology for becoming more proactive in product compliance.  

The small group discussions really highlighted the different challenges facing our industry. After the discussion, each group reported on the various experiences that came up in their individual groups. 

The first group was represented by a consultant who reported on multiple issues with GHS classifications, REACH registrations, and global labelling.  An example was products being held in customs or fines being levied for the wrong use of placard information within the European Union.  

The second group was represented by a EHS&S platform provider who spoke to the increasing demand for product compliance solutions in the market. She mentioned that customers in all industries are asking for more product compliance functionality. A company in this group also mentioned that they’ve had issues with diluted product being shipped to their manufacturing facilities which has caused delays as a result of investigations.  

Lastly, the third group was represented by an organization that distributes pharmaceuticals and has faced serious social pressure related to the types of drugs they distribute. They spoke to consumers’ perceived notion that they are complicit in illegal drug use or trade when they have nothing to do with either. In fact, all of the groups reported that they’ve experienced consumer pressure in one way or another.  

As Hans and I reflect on the conference, it is clear from our session that all industries are facing multiple product compliance challenges. Having a global market presence only compounds this complexity.  A lack of visibility into the upstream supply chain exposes organizations to risks like disruption, scarcity or even fraud. The downstream supply chain can create consumer dissent and even distrust in your brand.  In order to achieve global product compliance, organizations must determine what risks to monitor, prioritize these risks, plan a strategy to mitigate these risks and align the business’ interests both internally and externally around this strategy. This is indeed no small task.

If your company is struggling with these challenges, feel free to reach out to me at I’m happy to share our presentation and discuss how Verisk 3E can help.