PRESIDENT'S BRIEFING
Quality, quality, quality

Poor quality lighting products undermine customer confidence and the credibility of new lighting technologies. What can the industry do to tackle the problem?

Good quality is key to the lighting market.

As you will appreciate, my main focus is on product quality; but quality is also important for our industry in terms of lighting design, installation, and commissioning and maintenance.

Poor quality and non-compliant products in the lighting market are a concern and have a number of serious implications:

● Low quality or non-compliant lighting products will result in dissatisfied customers and undermine customer investment in lighting in the future.
● The credibility of new technology such as LEDs and OLEDs will be undermined. Poorly performing products will weaken the realistic performance claims of reputable manufacturers, and the long term confidence of clients in new technology.
● In competitive terms, an uneven playing field is created for responsible manufacturers that invest in ensuring their products satisfy all legal and other requirements and are of good quality.

How is quality in the market monitored and measured, other than by customers who experience poor quality and argue with their suppliers about it?

Every manufacturer has a general duty of care to ensure its products are safe and generally ‘fit for purpose’ for their intended application(s).

Also, legislation and standards establish requirements by covering both specific technical aspects such as electrical safety and energy effi ciency and more general requirements such as waste management.

Various government agencies are responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with regulations. Trading Standards monitors consumer product safety, the National Measurement Office (NMO) monitors energy-efficiency requirements for Energy-related Products (ErP) Regulations, and the Environment Agency monitors compliance with WEEE Regulations.

The Lighting Industry Association (LIA), as the industry trade association, works with these agencies to ensure the industry understands these requirements fully.

The LIA also assists the agencies in their enforcement role, which is in the best interest of the industry.

For example, the ErP Regulations establish minimum energy performance requirements for lighting products. The NMO randomly buys products and tests them to the claims made by the manufacturer. When products do not comply, the NMO has legal powers to demand corrective actions, to set fines or to prosecute.

The LIA, through its test laboratory, contributes to this monitoring of quality in the market. The LIA provides testing services to the NMO and to other organisations involved in different ways in this process, such as Trading Standards, the Energy Saving Trust and others.

The LIA also has a service to members and non-members – the Performance Verified Scheme – that measures product performance to confi rm products comply with safety requirements and meet the claims made for them.

In my opinion quality is important to the whole lighting supply chain, but we can’t rely solely on legislation and enforcement to deliver it for us.

We need to promote and support quality more, we need more communication about its importance, and we need to look for new ways to identify poor quality and non-compliant products.

Over the coming months, the LIA will be working on ideas and initiatives, including European co- ordination of activities, in these areas. If you have any thoughts on this that you would like to share with the LIA please contact joint chief executive Peter Hunt at peterH@lightingassociaiton.com.

Good quality is essential for customer safety and satisfaction. Good quality is essential for credibility in investing in new technology and lighting in general. Good quality is essential for fair competition.

Rune Marki, managing director, Osram UK and president, Lighting Industry Association

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