A new Trim Qualification Program launched by testing and certification specialist Intertek aims to help children's apparel and footwear firms minimise risks from product recalls and test failures.

Targeted at retailers, vendors and trim suppliers, the initiative focuses on production capability and quality control systems to help ensure product safety and quality expectations are built into the manufacturing process.

It also offers training to trim suppliers around the world to build awareness of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act's (CPSIA) regulations and CPSC Testing and Certification Rule - and helps facilitate the transparency and traceability necessary to rely on component testing under the rule.

The programme includes onsite visits by Intertek auditors to assess measures and controls in place to manufacture safe and high-quality products on a consistent basis, focusing on risk management, process control and product testing.

By creating a community of trim suppliers evaluated under a single standard adopted by many customers, supplier performance can be benchmarked against country, industry or global results. Suppliers will also be able to share audit reports among common customers, therefore reducing audit fatigue and costs.

The Trim Qualification Program also leverages Intertek's iComply software tool to provide suppliers with a mechanism to maintain product technical files, testing plans and other documentation to meet traceability regulatory requirements.

"For trim suppliers, their qualification status under the programme will recognise them better prepared, and reliable business partners for producing safe, high quality products, which will further translate in increased business and cost benefits from working with global retailers supporting this programme," notes Simona Romanoschi, senior director for Intertek's Business Assurance Group.