Looking for an easy exit out of a conversation?

Start talking about risk management.

No - not “Risky Business” the movie, which will surely trigger thoughts of Porsches and Tom Cruise in his Jockeys. Try business risk for the full “eyes glazed over” effect.

Risk brings to mind numerous off-limit topics, such as insurance sales agents, tragedies and natural disasters. We’ve seen a lot of the latter recently. While Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma drew fascination for the same reason car wrecks do, hope and sympathy quickly take over. We know disasters when we see them. But we don’t think they’ll ever personally affect us.

Businesses are no different. American author and clergyman Andy Stanley noted, “Uncertainty is not an indication of poor leadership, it underscores the need for leadership”. Business leaders have increasingly made risk mitigation a part of business planning. Internal business practices, suppliers and other stakeholders routinely go through risk assessment audits, followed by plans to address various scenarios.

One aspect of Risk is the product itself. Quality professionals have long used a FMEA (Failure Mode Effects Analysis) to identify the biggest risk areas, possible causes in the manufacturing of the products, and plans to prevent them from happening. It’s no mistake products are safer than they’ve ever been.

Once the customer takes ownership however, all bets are off. People do dumb things. Silly stunts (along with a healthy dose of CYA) no doubt inspire companies to protect us from ourselves- sometimes with laughable results.

  Can warning labels save us from ourselves? 

  Can warning labels save us from ourselves? 

That doesn’t diminish the importance of caution/warning decals. Instruction decals are often lumped into the same category, and provide valuable point-of-use guidance to consumers. Like the products they go on, they need to last a very long time.

Here are some factors to take into account to make sure they do:

  • Material specified for long-term (often outdoor) use.
  • Inks that contain durable, light fast pigments.
  • Constructions that resist wear and tear, such as abrasions and chemicals.
  • Adhesive properly matched to the surface to which it will be applied.
  • Thorough testing prior to field use.
  • Don’t go cheap! Saving a few pennies can lead to big problems down the road.

Each of the above categories are topics on their own. If you ever have any questions or concerns about what you are putting on to protect consumers, we're here to help. Stay safe out there!