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CHSA warning: watch out for sharks

Published 26th January, 2012 by Neil Nixon

CHSA warning: watch out for sharks

With the macro-economic environment getting increasingly uncertain and the likelihood of a double dip recession growing, buyers of plastic refuse sacks, industrial cotton mops and paper products need to tighten their monitoring and watch out for shark suppliers, warns the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association.

Gordon Butt, the CHSA’s auditor for its Manufacturing Standard Accreditation Scheme, explained: “As the economic uncertainty continues we are seeing an increase in the cutting of corners by disreputable suppliers of cleaning and hygiene products and it is distributors and end users who are being affected. We randomly and regularly audit both members and non-members of the scheme and we have seen a jump in the number and extent of deficiencies amongst non- members. Some net deficiencies caused by, for example, reducing the number of sheets or shaving a little of the width or length of each sheet of a paper product are running as high as 20%. This is the equivalent to a distributor or end user buying five boxes of product and only getting four; it’s clearly unethical and could be an offence if the dimensions are on the label and the labelling does not reflect the reduction. But there is no legal requirement to label the dimensions of the product and some suppliers are exploiting this and being vague with the labelling; if they tell you the number of sheets but not the dimensions of each sheet then you have no way of knowing if something you have always understood to be one size has suddenly ‘shrunk’. Even if the label is changed, a buyer can’t relax and may need to change old habits. For example, the 150m centre feed roll or the 200m mini jumbo toilet roll traditionally bought by product code may have changed in width or length and could be labelled accordingly. But if you go on buying by product code you could be getting something much shorter than you think.”

The only way buyers of soft tissue products, plastic refuse sacks and industrial cotton mops can be certain they are getting what they pay for and not being surreptitiously ripped off is to buy from Manufacturing Standard Accreditation Scheme members. Graham Fletcher, general secretary of the CHSA, said: “We regularly audit our members and deficiencies will ultimately result in expulsion from the scheme.

This means buyers can be certain they are getting what they pay for, even when times are tough. Anyone concerned about the quality of their purchase can call us for a free audit. Gordon will come out and thoroughly check the products, either giving you the ammunition you need or putting your mind to rest.”

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