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The emergence and spread of Covid-19 caused huge changes in our lives both personally and professionally - and, in many cases, in our values. In the early days we were faced with shortages of crucial items; later we read about numerous cases of Personal Protective Equipment not being fit for purpose – unacceptable in normal circumstances but something that doesn’t bear thinking about in a Covid world... The need for cleaning products to be able to do their job without fail and for cleaning staff to be thoroughly trained in their correct use, became crucially important. People started to appreciate quality over cheaper prices; there was too much at stake not to.
I’ve received news today from the UK’s Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association saying that membership applications have soared as companies seek the CHSA’s Mark of Approval, conferred as membership of the Association. It acknowledged that as demand rocketed in the pandemic, the unscrupulous made the most of the opportunity, creating new businesses overnight, claiming expertise, knowledge and product excellence. “To gain credibility, many applied for CHSA membership, only to find gaining admittance is demanding,” says CHSA chair Lorcan Mekitarian. “Membership is a stamp of approval, so we’re thorough in our process of assessing new members. We access marketing claims and request test data to support these claims and obtain trade references from customers and suppliers. Once we’re satisfied with these the Independent Inspector visits to conduct an audit to inspect all products being offered for sale. Only after all the checks are complete is membership granted. Accreditation guarantees that the products are fit for purpose and ‘what’s on the box is what’s in the box’. Our members prize this and buyers and end users can rely on it as a mark of approval. Maintaining this standard is at the heart of everything we do.” Lorcan says many applicants fell at the first hurdle, while others have not been able to comply with the relevant Accreditation Scheme’s specifications to trade ethically and sustainably; to provide quality, fit for purpose products; and to make sure what’s on the box is what’s in the box. There’s no relaxing, either, with members audited each year.
The CHSA’s manufacturing members include multinationals with a global footprint and major UK-based independent manufacturers. With us all now so aware of the need for products to be fit for purpose, and that the ‘buy cheap, buy often’ option only works when there’s continuity of supply, I’m wondering whether there’s any mileage in the CHSA expanding its scheme to include major overseas manufacturers that don't necessarily have a global footprint?
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20th May 2021