Screen Printing - August/September 2012 - (Page 10)
T H E P R E P R E S S W IRE
STRATEGIES FOR NAVIGATING THE REGULATORY MAZE
In this column, Coudray shares lessons learned from years of dealing with regulations and those sent out to enforce them.
Mark A. Coudray is president of Coudray Graphic Technologies, San Luis Obispo, CA. He has served as a director of (SGIA) and as chairman of the Academy of Screen Printing Technology. Coudray has authored more than 250 papers and articles over the last 20 years, and he received the SGIA’s Swormstedt Award in 1992 and 1994. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ike any business owner, the regulatory aspect of business is a pain in the you-know-what. As much as we would like it to go away, that simply will not happen. Noncompliance is not an option, but this doesn’t mean you have to submit to every arbitrary whim and directive that’s thrown at you. You have two choices when dealing with regulators and inspections: comply on your terms or comply on theirs. The column this month will be a bit different from what I usually write about. This month, I’d like to share some of the hard-learned lessons of dealing with regulations and those that are sent out to enforce them. When I first started in business, I was under the impression I had to obey authority and follow the rules as they were told to me. That is just the way it was. For the most part, it was a reasonable assumption based on rules that were in place to protect the good of the people. My parents had raised me to respect authority and the reasons why we had laws and regulations. That was a very naïve assumption, and I was quickly awakened to the real world and how regulators can easily abuse their enforcement power. This led me to develop several very effective strategies that over time moved me from being in the pile of those being regulated to one of a trusted authority. How did this happen and what were the consequences? Let me state straight out: If you have a business of any size at all, and you are serious about growing your business, you need to belong to the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association
(SGIA). They are a tremendous resource when it comes to government regulation and navigating the gauntlet. Marci Kinter heads the Government and Business Information department of the Association. She is a respected authority both within the industry and the regulatory segment of government. This is your central source for regulations affecting screen printing. Your best defense and strongest position when dealing with regulators is to know the rules. Specific knowledge is something the local and state regulators generally do not possess. It’s very common for them to show up at your doorstep with generalized guidelines. They’ll often try to apply statutes that are completely inappropriate for your business, and that don’t apply at all. If you’re unprepared and unknowledgeable, you have few options. Local regulation generally comes from either the fire department or building and safety department of your local city or county. In today’s economic environment two things are
You have two choices when dealing with regulators and inspections: comply on your terms or comply on theirs.
happening. The first is that regulators are completely overworked and overwhelmed in their jobs. Their budgets have been cut and everyone is being asked to do more work. On top of this, the work is technical and requires constant updating on their part. The updating frequently does not get done, and we pay the price. The second item is driven by the first. There are now fees for everything. Inspections are driven by permits and the associated fees. There are fees for the permit and review. Annual inspection fees are tacked onto your business license. If you’re determined to handle hazardous or toxic materials, there are fees for those as well. Knowing what fees apply and how you’re being classified can make a great deal of difference in how much you pay, or if you need to pay at all. Knowing these two key pieces of information, your strategy should be to make the inspector’s job as simple and straightforward as possible. Any value you can bring to them that will accomplish this will lessen the impact on your business. You should also set out to minimize the size and number of fees that apply to your business. You will not be able to eliminate them, but you can definitely reduce them.
The details of preparation
Business inspections typically focus on health and safety. The most common areas of interest are fire extinguishers, flammable and toxic materials, electrical, egress, and access. Fire extinguishers need to be the proper size for the building and located
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - August/September 2012
Screen Printing - August/September 2012
Strategies for Navigating the Regulatory Maze
New or Used?
Thin Is In
Performance Equals Profits
A Look at Dye-Sub Printing for Garments
US & Canadian Directory
Screen Printing - August/September 2012