India is making her mark in the global economy. Towards this, there has also been a focused initiative towards ensuring India's recognition on the global stage as a quality conscious country. In keeping with this policy, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) along with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) introduced quality control orders (QCOs) requiring BIS certification for over 370 than across various sectors.
One of the sectors brought under the scanner of BIS certification is the toy sector.
Most of the toy manufacturing by the world's leading brands, was undertaken in countries like China, Vietnam, and Indonesia (and now India too).The coverage of toys under BIS, made it mandatory for manufacturing units across the world to obtain quality related certification in order to affix the ISI mark on toys manufactured for sale in India.
This, in turn, requires a process to be carried out which commences from preparing and filing of the application with the BIS authorities, to a factory visit by a BIS scientist to manufacturing locations for ultimate issuance of the license and finally affixing the ISI mark.
As compared to other industries that have been brought under the BIS fold, the toy sector has several nuances and inherent challenges to obtain certification.
Notably, this entire process is typically considered to be time consuming, laborious and dreaded by manufacturers. It is even more laborious for manufacturers located outside India. from the perspective of organising, coordinating, & undertaking foreign travel arrangements. To be fair, with the need to ensure expedited licensing on account of the large number of products being covered under BIS, the authorities are accommodative and efficient throughout the process. From review of the initial application to undertaking factory visits, authorities have accepted clarifications on doubts raised and issued licenses swiftly.
Usually, BIS is expeditious in granting the licence if the application is appropriate, the clarification provided are logical and the cooperation extended during the visit is uncompromised. BIS authorities have ensured that they invest commensurate efforts in responding timely from their end as well.
Being one of the few experts in the area of certification for toys - ELP has procured BIS certification for 6 toy manufacturing locations successfully out of total 9 manufacturers who have been granted the licence for toys in Vietnam)- our note set out below are a few practical pointers which companies should bear in mind to ensure efficient processing of licences as they go through the entire certification process.
- Determination of the scope of the licence and pre-application preparation: This is the first stage of the preparation, where an applicant is advised to categorize its toys in different series/ family of toys to sketch out the clear scope of the licence.
- Preparing documentation and filing of the application with BIS: All the forms in the application are to be prepared and the final sets, along with supporting documents, to be filed with BIS authorities. Considering that the toy sector is a dynamic one, it becomes critical to exhaustively detail out and review all the information sought in the forms.
- Responding to follow-up queries raised by BIS before arranging a factory visit: To ensure the process is efficient and timely, it becomes imperative to resolve as many queries raised by the BIS authorities before the factory visit is arranged, especially in case of manufacturers located outside India. This helps in understanding the expectations of the authorities during the visit and ensuring preparations on the part of applicant.
- Extending support to visiting BIS officials during the factory visit: It is seen that the manufacturers who extend uncompromised support as sought by BIS officials during the visit, makes the process hassle free and helps in gaining more confidence in the eyes of BIS.
- Co-ordination for testing: The manufacturers may identify the right channels in advance for arranging samples to be sent to BIS laboratories in India for issuance of the test reports.
- Completing the post factory visit formalities and follow up on issuance of licences.
To conclude, one would state that thoroughness and completeness of application complemented with continuous co-ordination and logical clarifications to relevant authorities has not only been appreciated but also reciprocated by the BIS in equal intensity thereby reflecting their concern and support for the industry.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.