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RVCF Spotlight: Conference One-on-One Meetings

Posted By RCVF Admin, Monday, January 28, 2019

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RVCF Spotlight: Conference One-on-One Meetings
by Susan Haupt, RVCF

One-on-One Meetings began as casual, ad-hoc conversations between Retailers and Merchandise Suppliers during RVCF Conferences.  Fast-forward to today where One-on-One meetings have become a signature session on every agenda with literally hundreds of meetings taking place during the course of each RVCF conference.   

The meetings themselves look something like “speed dating”.  Retailers are situated at tables in a separate area of the event venue during designated meeting times. Merchandise suppliers report to the meeting area and move among the tables in 15-20 minute intervals following their pre-assigned meeting schedule.  The area is closely monitored by RVCF Staff to make sure that the meetings run smoothly and on time.   Discussions may include performance reviews, upcoming initiatives, deduction evaluation, and more.

Retailers wishing to conduct One-on-One Meetings with their merchandise suppliers need only advise an RVCF Staff member of their interest and availability to meet.  We will notify you of your meeting requests including the supplier number and topic(s) to be discussed. Only the requests that you approve will be included in your schedule, which is sent the week prior to the conference.

Merchandise Suppliers wishing to participate in One-on-One Meetings with their retailer trading partners must register for the event and pay their conference registration fee.  In the weeks prior to the conference, an on-line survey will be sent through which meetings are requested.  All registrants that requested meetings will receive a schedule of their approved meetings the week prior to the conference.

To make the most of this unique opportunity for collaboration, please be mindful of this timeline. 

  • On-going - Retailers commit to One-on-One Participation.
  • 6 weeks prior to conference – RVCF launches meeting request survey to paid registrants.  Please complete the survey as thoroughly as possible including your availability for meetings.  Be sure to take into account travel plans and sessions that you don't want to miss.  
  • 5 weeks prior to conference – meeting requests are distributed to Retailers for review and approval.
  • 4 weeks prior to conference – scheduling of retailer-approved meetings take place.
  • 1 week prior to conference – schedules are distributed to Retailer and Merchandise Supplier participants.


While the process has evolved over the years, the purpose remains unchanged; to provide an environment for Retailers and Suppliers to meet, exchange valuable feedback concerning their business relationships and pave the way for future dialog.   All participants benefit from being able to meet with multiple trading partners in one location during the course of a single trip saving precious travel dollars. 

Tags:  One-on-One Meetings  Retailers  RVCF Conferences  Suppliers 

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California Proposition 65 Compliance for Retailers and Their Supply Chain Partners: Are You Up-to-Date on the Revised Warning Requirements?

Posted By RCVF Admin, Saturday, November 24, 2018

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California Proposition 65 Compliance for Retailers and Their Supply Chain Partners: Are You Up-to-Date on the Revised Warning Requirements?

by Melissa Proctor (Miller Proctor Law PLLC) 

Proposition 65 was adopted by the state of California as part of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.  The law prohibits certain chemical discharges into California drinking water, requires warnings about chemicals in certain workplace settings, and requires companies to provide clear and reasonable warnings on certain products. Although Proposition 65 is very well known in California, many companies located outside of California are still not aware of the state law’s broad reach and potential for liability. The law prohibits companies (regardless of whether they are located in California or elsewhere) from knowingly or intentionally selling a product in California that could expose consumers there to a chemical that is identified on the Proposition 65 List of Chemicals—those that are known to cause cancer or reproductive harm.  This mandate applies to all companies in the supply chain of the products, from raw material suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers.  There are a few exemptions from this broad prohibition, however. For example, the Proposition prohibition on products does not extend to, among other, government agencies and utilities, companies that have ten (10) employees or less, and entities that use chemicals but their exposures do not pose any significant risks of cancer or reproductive harm.

Proposition 65’s List of Chemicals currently contains over 900  naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals, and new chemicals are added yearly. If a product that is sold in California contains a listed chemical, a consumer product warning may be required. However, some chemicals have an established daily exposure level (i.e., safe harbor level). Safe harbor levels have been established for roughly 300 products. Consumer product warnings are not required if a product contains a listed chemical with an exposure level below the specified safe harbor level. The Proposition 65 list of chemicals can be found on the website of CA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment or OEHHA.[1]

In August 2016, the California legislature revised the Proposition 65 mandates –those new requirements took effect on August 30, 2018.  As part of the revision, the legislature clarified the roles and responsibilities of product supply chain partners and held that it is the manufacturer, distributor, importer and supplier that is required to take steps to comply with the law. The primary responsibility for providing Proposition 65 product warnings falls on the manufacturers, producers, packagers, importers, suppliers and/or distributors. Proposition 65 generally provides manufacturers (and others in the supply chain) with 2 options for compliance with the warning requirements. They can either affix an appropriate warning to the product, or they can provide written notice to the retailer regarding the required warning for the product and provide the actual warning materials that will be used.

The retailer must issue an acknowledgment that it received the notice and materials, and is thereafter responsible for placement and maintenance of the warning materials they have received.  If the retailer fails to post the warning or obscures it, only then will liability fall on the retailer for failing to warn consumers. However, retailers will retain primary responsibility for providing a warning when they sell a product under its own brand or trademark owned or licensed by the retailer or an affiliated entity, or if the retailer adds the listed chemical to the product.

New warning language requirements also took effect on August 30, 2018. Previously, the product warnings were informative only and many companies adopted a compliance strategy whereby they labeled and marked everything with a Proposition 65 warning—even when they did not know whether the products actually contained any listed chemicals or not.  These warnings were found to no longer be effective, and the California legislature decided to make the warnings more useful. The new warning requirement applies to products that were made or manufactured on or after August 31, 2018.  So, if there are products currently sitting on store shelves that contain the old Proposition 65 warning language, they can continue to be sold as long as the original warning was compliant with the previous rules.

The new warning format for products that contain listed chemicals that cause cancer requires the placement of a black and yellow (or black and white) triangle containing an exclamation point. The triangle symbol can be downloaded directly from the OEHHA’s website. The symbol must be followed by the following legend:

WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including lead which is known to the State of California to cause cancer. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.


As shown above, the warning language must name at least one chemical. If the product contains multiple cancer-causing listed chemicals, there is no guidance provided under the new rules as to which chemical you should disclose in the warning – there is no requirement that you list the most prevalent of the listed chemical when selecting the one to identify.

Where a product contains listed chemicals that cause reproductive harm, the new warning format must also contain the triangle symbol noted above followed by:


WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including Bisphenol A (BPA) which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

Again, the warning language must name at least one chemical.


If a product contains listed chemicals that both cause cancer and are reproductive toxins, then at least one of those chemicals must be listed for both reasons of concern.  For example, the triangle symbol noted above must be followed by:

WARNNG: This product can expose you to chemicals including Lead which known to the State of California to cause cancer, and Bisphenol A (BPA) which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.


An alternative short form warning option is available for smaller products, as follows—

 

WARNING: Cancer - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

WARNING: Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.


If you use the alternative short form, the font size must be at least 6pt but cannot be smaller than other customer information provided on the product, such as other warnings, directions and ingredient list.

In addition, if the product’s label provides information in more than one language, then the Proposition 65 warning is must also be provided in those languages as well.  

Companies can also choose to add more information to the warning language (e.g., how to lessen or avoid exposure, etc.), but that additional language should not dilute or lessen the effect of the warning.

For internet purchases, warnings must be provided by including the warning statement itself or a clearly marked hyperlink using the word “WARNING” on the website product display page. In the alternative, the warning can be prominently displayed to the purchaser prior to the completion of the purchase.  In addition to ensuring that the warnings are posted on their website, the retailers must also ensure that the customers receive the warning through the traditional methods related to the sale of consumer products. Further, for catalogues, the warnings should be placed near the description of the item.

In terms of Proposition 65 compliance programs, there is no prescribed method for designing and implementing compliance processes for the Proposition 65 requirements. For example, companies can test for all listed chemicals that may be contained in their products, which may be impractical as it would be very costly and time consuming given the number of chemicals currently on the list and the fact that other chemicals are added every year. As a result, many companies test their products selectively, looking for the common listed chemicals are used in their types of products (e.g., lead, cadmium, phthalates, etc. in textile apparel and footwear, BPA in plastic bottles and accessories, etc.). Other companies choose to look closely at Proposition 65 settlement cases involving products that are similar to their won, formulating their products based on those agreed-upon chemical limits or issuing warnings based on testing performed to those agreed-upon settlement levels.

For retailers, compliance strategies may include:

  • Requiring suppliers to indemnify and hold them harmless for Proposition 65 violations.
  •  Confirming that their existing insurance existing policies cover them for Proposition 65 lawsuits.
  • Assigning Proposition 65 responsibilities to company stakeholders.
  • Implementing an internal Restricted Substances List or adopting a third-party created list.
  • Requiring suppliers to provide documentation evidencing testing and compliance.
  • Conducting regular risk assessments and internal audits, which can be performed by third parties.
  • Verifying and tracking supplier compliance.
  • Integrating supplier compliance into sourcing decisions.
  • Incorporating compliance and certification requirements into new supplier vetting process.
  • Establishing processes for working with supply chain partners on providing warnings.
  • Establishing a process for issuing acknowledgments to suppliers.
  • Providing regular training for company personnel.
  • Rolling out record retention processes specific to Proposition 65 supporting documentation.
  • Documenting all Proposition 65 policies and procedures in writing.


For suppliers, manufacturers and distributors, compliance practices may include:

  • If feasible, negotiating language in their terms of sale or supplier agreements that requires retailers to notify the supplier of the receipt of any non-marked products that trigger Proposition 65 warning requirements—in this case, the supplier may accept the return of the products and replace them with marked products or provide labels to the retailer to apply to them directly.
  •  Requesting retailers to provide certifications confirming that they have received the warning notices and marking materials, and have marked or displayed those warnings.
  • If feasible, negotiating with the retailer the assignment of separate SKU’s for products that trigger Proposition 65 warning requirements and having them segregate orders placed with the suppliers so that only products marked with the required warnings are delivered into California.
  • If feasible, having the retailer agree to indemnify the supplier in the case of Proposition 65 claims.
  • Implementing an internal Restricted Substances List or adopting a third-party created list.
  • Assigning a dedicated person to assume responsibility for managing chemicals used in products, reviewing them prior to purchase, and managing them in the workplace.
  •  Rolling out testing protocols and providing compliance documentation relating to downstream supply chain partners upon request.
  • Performing regular risk assessments and audits.
  • Adopting process for providing warnings and notifying California retailers.
  • Establishing formal record retention processes.
  • Providing regular training for personnel, suppliers and subcontractors.
  • Documenting all policies and procedures in writing.


Above all, in order to stay updated on developments in the Proposition 65 arena, retailers and their supply chain partners should read and review proposed rules, as well as proposed amendments to the legislation and regulations. They should also work to identify listed chemicals commonly used in their types of products. They can review 60-day notices that are filed with the California’s Attorney General and settlements that affect products that are similar to their own to identify what kinds of products are being targeted and what chemical limits have been agreed upon by the parties.

Melissa Proctor is the founder of Miller Proctor Law PLLC, an international trade law firm located in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more than twenty years, she has advised companies on the full of array of international trade issues, imports, exports, embargoes and economic sanctions, anti-corruption compliance, and other agency requirements that impact the cross-border movement of goods, information and services. She may be reached at 480-447-8986 or melissa@millerproctorlaw.com.



[1] To access the list, see: https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/proposition-65-list.

 

Tags:  Proposition 65  retailers  supply chain  Warning Requirements  warnings 

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In 2019, Retailers and Suppliers Will Need Each Other More than Ever

Posted By RCVF Admin, Monday, October 29, 2018

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In 2019, Retailers and Suppliers Will Need Each Other More than Ever
by RVCF
 

It’s no secret that many retailers and suppliers are facing serious challenges as they adapt to a quickly changing retail landscape. You have significant consolidation among both retailers and suppliers. Many companies have replaced seasoned professionals who knew how to achieve progress through collaboration with inexperienced folks who are forced to learn on the job, all in the name of cost-cutting and reducing headcounts.

Many retailers that were at one time among the most successful and respected in the industry no longer exist. They failed to adapt to new competition, new order fulfillment models, and new customer demands. Consolidation has made organizations on both sides larger, but the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

That said, retail is ripe with opportunity. Those who are willing to do the work to evolve and grow aren’t talking about survival. They’re talking about taking their success to new heights.

As we prepare for 2019, retailers and suppliers need each other more than ever. And RVCF membership creates more opportunities for collaboration than any organization in the industry.

This was evident at the 2018 RVCF Fall Conference. With more than 35 retailers in attendance, 30 educational sessions, more than 530 one-on-one meetings between retailers and suppliers, and peer-to-peer discussions about supplier relationship management and customer relationship management, collaboration was constant – and productive.

We plan to carry that momentum into 2019 and provide our members with the information, resources and collaborative opportunities they need throughout the year.

We’ll cultivate the concept of unified commerce in which there are no separate shopping channels with separate inventories and customer bases. Rather than brick-and-mortar commerce, e-commerce, mobile commerce, social commerce, etc., there is simply commerce. Unified commerce.

We’ll focus on the importance of data and how to use it. We’ll continue to look for ways to enhance drop ship strategies and develop best practices. We’ll advocate for the Perfect Order – on-time, in-full, damage-free, with accurate documentation.

Everything we do is designed to accelerate the error-free flow of goods through the supply chain, while controlling costs, and improving margins for both retailers and suppliers. RVCF members benefit from our initiatives, events and educational content, as well as our technology solutions and consulting services, throughout the year.

But you can’t sit on the sidelines. You have to get involved. You have to show up. You have to participate. You have to work with your peers and trading partners to find solutions and create competitive advantages instead of waiting for them to fall onto your lap.

2019 will undoubtedly be a rough year for some retailers and suppliers. For others, it has the potential to be the best year ever. What kind of year will it be for you?

I ask that question because I believe the answer is a choice, not a predetermined outcome. I hope you’ll choose success and become a member of RVCF to put your organization in a better position to succeed.

Please visit the RVCF website to learn more about membership, and feel free to contact any member of the RVCF team with questions or ideas about what we can do to better serve the retail community. Remember, RVCF exists to bring retailers and suppliers together to solve problems and grow profits. We hope you’ll join us.

 

Tags:  Collaboration  Membership  retailers  RVCF  Suppliers 

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