The Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry (ASBCI) focused on effective risk management in the fashion industry at its technical seminar in Nottingham last month.

The event, sponsored by TÜV SÜD, was held at Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, on Thursday 26 September. Chaired by Ian Morris, head of the ASBCI technical committee, the seminar looked at hazard identification in product design, understanding foreseeable use and mitigating the commercial risks of global supply chains.

Alistair Knox, ASBCI chairman, said: “We are delighted at the success of this seminar and its more interactive format. In addition to excellent presentations from our expert speakers, we saw active and animated discussion among delegates in the workshop session, and a lively Q&A.

“There was a recognition that everyone shares the same problem – the challenge of creating a product that will do no harm – and it was a great networking opportunity for everyone involved.”

Keynote speaker Sheikh Minhazuddin, deputy general manager for R&D, technical governance and regulatory compliance at TÜV SÜD, opened the seminar with an overview of product safety regulations. Sheikh discussed the responsibilities of product manufacturers with regards to putting safe products on the market, particularly for childrenswear. Sarah Anderson from M&S also looked at the importance of hazard assessment to control risk in childrenswear, and explained why an understanding of child development is the starting point for developing safe products.

Industry consultant Geraldine Cosh shared the knowledge and tools needed to conduct both risk and hazard assessments effectively, and also led an interactive workshop session that challenged guests to conduct a hazard assessment on various products. Also Geoffrey Willis, international senior apparel industry specialist from Trigon, focused on the commercial risks facing fashion brands in the era of offshore sourcing, particularly the loss of control over manufacturing and the consequent loss of manufacturing knowledge among buyers.

Claire Franco, global technical account manager at TÜV SÜD, said: ‘It has been a pleasure to work with the ASBCI and speakers on an amazing event. The day brought together various risk assessment approaches and resources, from looking at concepts, to what to look for and ask of potential factories, to how consumers foreseeably interact with and use products, and how these steps can be tailored to meet the requirements of businesses.”