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Challenges, problems, and triumphs -- from a manufacturer's perspective.

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Responses to CLN's Code of Ethics...

... from chain store execs, vendors, and reps.

by CLN Subscribers (March 5, 2007)

(Note: The Feb. 19 issue of CLN included a proposed code of ethics and an invitation to readers to suggest additions, changes, deletions, and general comments. The code is still online in the Business-Wise section. What follows are comments from readers.)

Chains are essential.

You are ignoring that it is the big orders from chains that allows manufacturers to do any product development or innovation at all. Independents are so disjointed and unable to come to agreement on anything, much less product. Companies are limiting their ability to grow and will spend lots of product development for no return if they don't do chain business. Chain Store Exec

A big problem?

I will make this very simple: if we have to put in writing what ethics are, then we have a BIG problem. Ethics/integrity should be what we live and breath by every single day. If we need a piece of paper to remind us what integrity is, it may be time for me to retire.

I am sure that if I had not tried to practice my belief in ethics everyday I would not have survived as long as I have in this industry. Please don't get me wrong; I have made many, many mistakes, but have really tried over the years to be fair. To be honest it gets harder, because this is now big business and everybody is getting pushed to their limits. Probably what drives this issue. Chain Store Exec

Too much power.

Mike this Code of Ethics is a GREAT idea. I like what you did hear! As we both know the chains have so much power over manufacturers I am not sure if they would want to be part of this. What do they gain from it? I hope I am wrong with this first thought. My largest fear these days is how most of these chains are just going to China and knocking everyone off. Manufacturer

Loyalty is gone.

Manufacturers will jump on this in a positive way. I believe the small shop/retail chain will also look at this positively. Large chains will not go for this. However, this is not a legal document, so maybe they would "sign" just to look good to all of us. I see many heading to China to cut all of us out. With these chains being bought, it is all about margin and $$ these days. Loyalty is gone.

These chains have "trained" the consumer with the 40-50% coupon. How do the mom and pops go against that? Sales Rep

Needs some consequences.

I applauded you for trying. Left to their own decision, almost everyone would follow the guidelines all the time as decent human beings. I hate to be cynical, however, having been in a few issues over the years and understanding first hand the costs involved.

I think the majority of people that would follow this code as a normal course of doing business; the slime that does not, even if they agreed to do so, would not unless the agreement has some penalty or consequences to it.

But even a small change is an improvement. Manufacturer

If only one changed....

I think the concept is great. I'm not sure how you make compliance happen for the ones that would need it the most; however, if it only changed one person or company, it would be a big step forward. Consultant

Make the guilty conspicuous.

I LOVE IT! It's a fantastic idea. It may turn out to be like seatbelt laws violations w/no penalty, but I think setting it all out there will be beneficial. Some of these practices proliferate simply because no one's ever been called on it before. Go for it! At least it will make the guilty parties conspicuous. Manufacturer

Star Trek.

Thanks for "going where no one has gone before," Mike! The industry needs this. Sales Rep

Pay as promised.

Retailers, if the manufacturer ships what they promised when they promised, please follow through and pay as you promised. Don't force them to make numerous calls asking for payment. And, after those calls, if you say you are sending a check, send the check. Don't use the "my dog ate the check" excuse. ("It must have gotten lost in the mail" sounds just as ridiculous.) Manufacturer

Lack of integrity.

I think the idea of a code of ethics is something that this industry desperately needs. When we first launched products into papercrafts, we were disappointed by the lack of integrity that scrapbook and papercraft retailers, manufacturers, and designers demonstrated.

We have been in the industry in another category for over 20 years and have always been impressed with the integrity of our customers, partners, and competitors; rarely have we had ideas stolen as we have in the papercraft market.

It would be great to try and make the code of ethics part of the CHA membership. A few suggestions:

For retailers: Regarding not copying project sheets or magazines please include books. Also, if the retailer plans to teach from a book, magazine, etc., they should include it as part of the course outline and require the purchase as part of the class price.

For manufacturers: Do not partner with other manufacturers and then send their product to be reverse engineered and manufactured for you, cutting the other manufacturer out of the picture.

For retailers and manufacturers: Do not steal or borrow from trade show booths EVER! Manufacturer

It's simple, really.

BOTTOM LINE: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Service Supplier

(Note: Send your comments off the record to mike@clnonline.com.)



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