What is Regulatory Compliance and Why is it Important to My Global Growth Strategy
Selling solutions on a global scale enables businesses to capture market share driving revenue and growth. However, it comes with a responsibility to meet the safety and regulatory requirements of each country. This compliance when importing and exporting electronics isn't an optional process. It's required by law in nearly every country around the world. Ultimately protecting consumers from harm and businesses from profit loss.
More often than not, regulatory compliance flies under the radar for the average consumer because it is being handled properly and not hitting the headlines. If a product is flawed and the regulators don't discover the faulty component, it can result in some very high-profile disasters like the Samsung Galaxy phone battery that randomly exploded.
While an exploding product is relatively rare, errors in the regulatory compliance process can irreversibly harm a company's reputation or plague them with hefty fines. Here's how we can help you mitigate risk with best practices for handling regulatory compliance efficiently.
Why Regulatory Compliance is Needed
It may not always look like it from the outside, but there are a lot of different components that go into electronic devices. In fact, even two devices that look entirely similar on the outside may have a bevy of different internal electronics, all manufactured by different suppliers.
If a tier 1 technology provider is shipping one of their server products, they'll have gone through the device and made sure that all the pieces have been certified to meet the necessary regulatory standards. However, when these platforms become the basis of a solution and additional components are integrated that were not previously certified, regulatory compliance becomes a consideration. This simply means that the server will now need a new certification to meet compliance standards and be certified for export.
Determining if a product meets international standards is a very technical process that requires knowledge of ever-changing rules and regulations. On top of that, the rules for importing and exporting vary by individual countries. That means that if a product is certified for import in one country, it may require a whole new set of certifications to be imported into another.
Why Regulatory Compliance is Needed
The involved process and nuanced international standards are among the chief reasons that companies choose to partner with an experienced and qualified regulatory compliance team. These teams possess both the deep knowledge of trade processes and the technical workspaces to dissect and analyze individual components, which is the next step.
Once it's determined which countries a product will be shipped to, the sample product is broken down to all the individual components for testing. The type of testing depends on the product type, with the ultimate goal to ensure that the product won't cause harm to the user, either directly or indirectly.
For products like laptop computers, that can be as simple as testing to determine whether the battery will properly work with no signs of volatile defects. Other examples include devices that may have transmitters in them, which could interfere with first responder communications if the transmitter isn't configured properly. As products become increasingly more complex, they have more and more components that have the potential to malfunction in an alarming way.
How Long Does this Take?
Meeting government regulations for a product is a legal requirement, as is testing and certifying that product. While taking apart and testing individual components of a device isn't an overnight process, regulatory compliance teams can be extremely beneficial since testing products efficiently for regulatory compliance can be a strategic art form. This is because the testing process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and little factors can alter the timeline in big ways.
If a product is staying within the North American market, the timeline can be as short as a few weeks for a product to be certified. If foreign markets are added to the list of countries, that process can take quite a bit longer. While many countries allow the testing to be done by independent labs, certain markets require the testing be done by their own government regulators. That means that a final prototype must be shipped abroad and test results must await approval.
Ideally, a product would be sent off for compliance certification right after the components were finalized, doing so with enough time prior to going to market ensures the certification process doesn't hold up the entire product line. That's why the compliance testing process begins long before a product is ready to be launch. Regulatory compliance experts can help identify the intended markets and estimate timeframes for product certification so you're not stuck waiting while your product could be en route to market.
Why Choose UNICOM Engineering?
In the eyes of federal regulators, businesses are ultimately responsible for the quality and compliance of their devices. This is why it is so vital that they choose a trusted partner that thoroughly understands regulatory requirements. The UNICOM Engineering regulatory compliance team provides assurance that all the manufacturing regulatory requirements are being considered and adhered to while our clients focus on their core competencies. We act as an extension of your business by monitoring requirements for countries around the world. To learn more about how the UNICOM Engineering team can assist in navigating the global regulatory process, visit our regulatory compliance page or contact us by telephone (800) 977-1010 or by email at email@example.com.