Health and safety remains a foremost concern and a key focal point at this year’s Kids India fair. Apart from toys, Indian and international exhibitors can present products at Kids India from the segments of baby articles, juvenile products, sports and hobbies.
With strong demand for more innovative and technical toys both within India and Asia, toys that meet regulatory developments and consumer expectations continue to be much talked about.
The most prominent topic at the Kids India panel discussion was “How toy safety can improve in India from a global perspective?” The panel consisted of Simon Lo, Deputy Director, Toys and Juvenile Products for UL Consumer and Retail Services Greater China; Vivek Jhangiani, President of The All India Toy Manufacturers’ Association (TAITMA); Charan Singh, Regional Director of TUV Rhineland and Hemant Bhasin, Senior Manager at Flipkart.
The panel agreed that overall, compliance is an important factor and it does not only lie in testing. Creating safe products suitable for children’s use is a gradual process involving design, supply chain and production.
Hemant Bhasin from Flipkart said, “Manufacturers and brands should market the products with safety as an unique selling point to the customer. The buyer would understand the value of a safe quality product for kids versus the harmful effects of dangerous substances in unchecked products.”
All members of the panel agreed with this point, reinforcing that safety should be an important selection point for any buyer. In order, for safety standards to be met, there needs to be a strong foundation for design and manufacturing quality. Simon Lo from UL acknowledges, there are often two types of failure, which stem from the design and manufacturing process.
In the case of a design failure, the brand and manufacturer should work together to identify any potential hazard and ways to tackle the hazard at the product design stage. Manufacturing errors can be avoided if the brand, manufacturer and third-party lab develop a quality plan to monitor the quality of continuous production.
Lo added final product testing is only a snapshot of the product safety and quality process and having a well thought out quality plan would ensure the quality of continuous production. To demonstrate the capabilities of a testing lab, Lo likened it to a fire department. Testing services merely look at fighting the fire whilst being proactive and comprehensive is needed to attain safety and quality standards. A testing lab approaches safety as if it was fire prevention through services like consultation, quality planning and protocol development.
Within a span of four years, the event has established itself as the vital meeting space and preferred platform for industry networking. Kids India 2016 provides access to market opportunities and new challenges for brand manufacturers and retailers that are outstanding, as quality and safety play an increasingly important role in the toys market.