The SATRA Quality Mark
How the SATRA Quality Mark can help SATRA members stand out and enhance sales of their products.
A key to successful sales for many manufacturers involves making their products stand out from their competitors’ goods. This is particularly important for footwear and footwear component manufacturers, who operate in an increasingly competitive global market.
The SATRA Quality Mark Programme – a third-party certification scheme which allows the use of the distinctive ‘SATRA Quality Mark’ logo – is an example of how companies can raise their profile by demonstrating the quality and consistency of products they supply.
The SATRA Quality Mark has been awarded to many member organisations over the years, and current holders include manufacturers of footwear, safety footwear toecaps, insole boards, thread, tapes, box toes, counters and cushioning materials.
Exclusive to member companies, the SATRA Quality Mark logo signifies that the product has been through initial type-examination and has subsequently been manufactured in an environment which includes ongoing product conformity assessment through a quality assurance system and a rigorous inspection and testing regime to ensure consistent production at an acceptable level of quality. Qualifying members may use the SATRA Quality Mark logo at the point of sale.
The Quality Mark is not exclusive to the very ‘top end’ of footwear or components and can be applied to any product, provided the specification is considered ‘fit for purpose’ by SATRA. The logo can be applied to finished footwear as well as a wide range of components and materials. It is particularly useful to footwear component manufacturers differentiating themselves from their competitors.
The Quality Mark is applicable to any material or product throughout the manufacturing chain, including at retail level, and delivers the following benefits:
- independent third-party verification of product quality and fitness for purpose
- recognisable award by reputable industry body
- use of logo on all products, packaging and supporting documentation
- differentiation of product in the market for competitive edge.
The certification process
The main requirements of the SATRA Quality Mark programme are as follows: i) an agreement of the standards of performance with SATRA. These may be performance or safety standards appropriate to the marketplace, such as EN, ASTM or ISO, or SATRA-agreed performance levels that adequately demonstrate fitness-for-purpose or compliance with product claims, ii) completion of application form, submission of initial samples and associated technical documentation (technical file), iii) an appropriate level of initial verification testing, iv) annual factory production control audits by SATRA, based on recognised quality assurance procedures. This does not need to be a formal ISO 9001 system, but must incorporate many of the requirements, such as control of incoming materials, control of critical manufacturing processes (including testing) and a review of customer complaints, v) samples representing 25 per cent of the product range to be verified by SATRA on an annual basis, and vi) user information and product sheets (including use of the Quality Mark logo) to be approved by SATRA.
Table 1 summarises the key steps involved in achieving and maintaining SATRA Quality Mark certification.
|Table 1: Key steps to achieving SATRA Quality Mark certification|
|Process step||Who is involved|
|Submit application form, product sample and technical/marketing documentation||Client and SATRA Quality Mark manager|
|Initial product testing and technical file review||SATRA technologists and SATRA factory auditor|
|Final agreement of product technical and marketing documentation||SATRA Quality Mark manager|
|Initial factory production quality control audit||SATRA factory auditor|
|Certification assessment and decision||SATRA Quality Mark manager|
|Annual product technical and marketing documentation review, product testing and factory production quality control audit||SATRA and SATRA Quality Mark manager and SATRA factory auditor|
Product sample and technical file
A product sample and technical file must be submitted with the application form to enable the certification process to start. Table 2 describes what information needs to be included in the technical file. It is advisable to discuss this with the SATRA Quality Mark manager at an early stage.
|Table 2: Information for the technical file|
|To enable clear identification of products covered by the certification scheme|
|Manufacturing site address|
|Intended use of product|
|Performance claims and requirements||To include marketing/promotional claims, applicable national, international and SATRA standards, general product safety requirements, flammability and restricted substances as applicable|
|Product design statement||Description of how the product has been designed to meet the performance claims|
|Master materials list||A list of all critical materials used in the manufacture of the product, including approved suppliers|
|User information||User information that will be supplied with the product to the purchaser or end user, including relevant assembly instructions and safety advice|
|Labelling/marking of product||Description/drawings/photographs of labelling and markings on the product, including proposed use of the SATRA Quality Mark logo|
|Description of packaging||Description/drawings/photographs of packaging, including proposed use of SATRA Quality Mark logo|
|Factory quality control procedures||Must include:
|Design change control procedures||Procedures that must be followed when making changes to the design or manufacture of the product. This must include notification to SATRA before any change is implemented in production|
|Test reports||Copies of SATRA test reports initially used to verify performance claims when available|
Product testing and technical file review
The product technical file needs to include test reports from SATRA that will initially verify the product performance claims in the application form. The Quality Mark manager will advise what testing is required after reviewing the technical file and claims made by the client. Fees will be agreed for this testing and the client will be invoiced separately for this work.
Final agreement of product technical file
At this stage, SATRA’s Quality Mark manager will review the content of the technical file. The Quality Mark manager will need to be able to answer the following questions positively: i) is the product specified in enough detail to be clearly identifiable? ii) is there sufficient evidence to verify the product performance claims? iii) has the client identified the critical control points in the manufacturing process, and iv) does it have suitable documented quality control procedures?
Initial factory production quality control audit
A factory production quality control audit will be carried out. This will principally look for evidence of the functioning of the quality plan for the product being certified. The auditor will carry out checks in process control, complaints procedure, internal audits, calibration and maintenance, training records, sampling programme, external audits and verification testing. Any major non-conformity will need to be rectified, with evidence sent to the auditor before product certification can continue. SATRA reserves the right to request a re-audit, which would be chargeable. Minor non-conformities will also need to be rectified, with evidence sent to the auditor within a specified time period. However, product certification may continue during this period.
At this stage, the Quality Mark manager will review the results of the factory production quality control audit in combination with the technical file. The manager will assess whether sufficient controls are in place to ensure that, provided they continue to be maintained, the manufactured product should meet the performance levels claimed in the technical file.
The SATRA Quality Mark certificate will be awarded following a successful certification assessment and payment of all charges. Upon issue of the certificate, the client may use the SATRA Quality Mark logo and make reference to the award in their advertising/promotional materials and other documentation, subject to the following conditions:
- general permission is granted to use the SATRA Quality Mark logo and certificate on the applicant company’s stationery (such as letterheads and business cards), advertisements, promotional materials, press releases and website
- general permission is granted to use the SATRA Quality Mark logo and certificate on the applicant company’s materials at the retailer/customer interface
- any other references to SATRA must be agreed in writing by SATRA in advance.
Every year, the client must submit any changes to the technical file for review six weeks prior to the anniversary of the original certificate date. Copies of all test reports as specified in the quality plan must be included. A new factory production quality control audit will be organised. The Quality Mark manager will review the technical file, agree its contents, and advise the factory auditor of any relevant changes. The factory audit will be completed and results passed back to the Quality Mark manager for assessment. Following a successful reassessment of all documentation by the Quality Mark manager, a new SATRA Quality Mark certificate will be issued that will remain valid until the next anniversary of the original certificate date. Note this is subject to membership subscriptions being up-to-date.
Promotion by SATRA
In addition to administering the scheme, SATRA is committed to ensuring that its merits are known throughout the footwear industries. Articles in publications such as SATRA Bulletin and marketing at exhibitions and conferences are used to raise the profile of the Quality Mark and to ensure that SATRA members operating the scheme get maximum benefit.
Members already in the scheme are encouraged to use the logo – SATRA can supply appropriate artwork and print labels, and design any company stationery incorporating the Quality Mark logo. Please contact SATRA for more information.
How can we help?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on the use of the SATRA Quality Mark.
This article was originally published on page 38 of the October 2017 issue of SATRA Bulletin.