Christmas, a very special holiday celebrated all around the world, a sacred time spent with family and friends, houses adorned with traditional decorations and illuminated in a splendor of colors, all leading up to the childlike anticipation of Christmas day, the gifts, the food and the wine!
While it may still be quite a few months off for most people, it is now that time of year when suppliers and retailers the world over begin their arduous preparations for the very busy festive season ahead, starting with none other than the hallowed Christmas tree.
In 2015, 12.5 million artificial Christmas trees were purchased in the US alone at a purchase price of $69.38 each, resulting in revenues totaling $854 million for manufacturers in that short period. As a holiday that approximately 2 billion people around the world celebrate, the market for Christmas and these trees is undeniably massive, not to mention the powerful potential for profits it promises.
Between 2010 and 2014 fire fighters responded to an annual average of 200 homes that were reported to be on fire or burnt down in the US alone due to fires started by Christmas trees with a total damage of $16.2 million. Fires started by malfunctions in artificial trees highlight the critical importance of strict quality control measures needed in place during and after production, from the lighting within the tree, the temperatures they produce to the types of plastic that is used to manufacture the tree.
Can your company stand to lose millions because of negligence in the QC process? What about the implications brought about from families that lose their homes or worse?
Preventing unnecessary damages and losses before they happen should be at the top your Christmas wish list. In this blog post we talk to Francois Deudon, CEO of Asia Pacific Inspection, as we seek to understand the technicalities that go into the making of Christmas trees and the essential QC procedures/tests involved in the production of these products, helping to ensure a safer, happier and more ‘festive’ festive season for us all…
A: One of greatest challenges is ensuring that each branch is able to comply with the NFS 54200 / Decree 2003-1123 without any accessible sharp points. In order to comply with this requirement, an industrial practice of bending the end wire of each branch to prevent any accessible sharp points. Many Christmas trees contain hundreds of branches, so the quality control of suppliers plays a significant role so as to manage the potential risks.
A: The quality control involved from the design stage to the mass production stage is needed to manage this concern. In the design stage, a client will instruct the supplier that only qualified raw materials should be used to create this product. In the pre-production stage, raw materials or products should be submitted for testing to ensure that these qualified materials are used. Suppliers should not only use these qualified materials; but they should also be able to avoid contamination during the production process. The clients should then assess the chemical management system of the factory, when they choose a supplier. After the production is completed, the client could then appoint a third party company to pick a sample from the mass production for chemical testing to ensure only qualified materials are being used for production and that there is no chemical contamination.
A: The more experienced a supplier is the better he will understand the regulations of any given country. Here it will be the retailer or the importer’s responsibility to choose an appropriate supplier. This can be done through a technical audit, which could help measure the capability and capacity of suppliers, providing valuable information when choosing suppliers.
A: Yes, the testing on mass production products will assess the flammability of artificial Christmas trees. It could also avoid unauthorized change of the materials during this mass production process.
A: The flammability test, the sharp point sharp edge test and the REACH test are absolutely essential before shipping to any distributors.
While retailers and importers across the globe are preparing for all the holiday joys, what we have learnt is that it will be important to select the correct supplier, based on previous testing records or it may even be important to consider an audit that will help identify any procedural risks early on, as the scope of the festive season is too big to cut any corners as any faults of failure will have the potential to lose you millions. The various Christmas tree testing procedures will be important to ensuring that the festive season will be a safe and happy one all round.