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New Verification Models Mean Working Together Responsibly

We’re now nine months into the 7th Cycle of Responsible Distribution, but despite our best laid plans, it’s hardly gone as expected this year. As the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted every facet of our lives, NACD has worked hard to adapt to the ever-changing situation.

We had ambitious plans for the roll out the program starting in January of this year and were excited at the prospect of our many wonderful new resources, trainings, and workshops.

But with travel disrupted and social distancing rules in place because of COVID-19, some site visits and verifications have been hampered.

With the safety and security of our members and verifiers our main priority, early in the year, we presented an option to delay verifications due this calendar year to 2021.

As essential workers, our members have continued to run their businesses, fulfill orders, and ship product across the nation. For many of you, it's been business as usual in a very unusual time.

For that reason, as well as inquiries from customers and suppliers, many of you wanted to proceed with verifications anyway – and as long as all parties could do so in a safe manner, we wanted to offer as much support as possible.

For the remainder of the current cycle through 2022, we have therefore introduced several new verification models. We remain cautiously optimistic that everything will return to normal for the 8th Cycle.

While the member company does not get to choose the model, they will work closely with the verifier who will determine which of these four seems the most appropriate.

  1. The usual onsite verification model - but with social distancing and enhanced cleaning and safety procedures taken into account.
  2. A virtual verification where a representative of the member company provides the verifier with a walkthrough of their facility using an electronic device with live video streaming. The verifier can direct them in real time and carry out the necessary interviews. Documentation can be submitted electronically or through NACD’s online portal. In some cases, this model may not be appropriate – particularly at sites where there are Wi-Fi or connectivity issues, or if there are safety or security implications of using an electronic device.
  3. Full document verification requires a member company to upload even more supporting documentation, including photos, images, diagrams, policies, and procedures. Upon receipt, the verifier will then carry out a very robust desktop audit.
  4. Where it is determined that a member only has an administrative or sales office, for example, and doesn't carry any product, an administrative document verification can take place. This is similar to the previous model but will most likely be less intensive.

Admittedly, it's a big challenge for all of us to coordinate our efforts amid the COVID-19 restrictions. None of this was in the game plan a year ago, but NACD has been working in concert with the industry to evolve and adapt as quickly, effectively, and safely as possible.

We're working hard to get through this, and we hope the situation with COVID-19 fades rather quickly so we can resume our traditional verification and training programs as soon as possible.

NACD has many excellent resources available to help you through Responsible Distribution, from our companion guides and Code Coordinator Manual, to the workshops, webinars, website, NACD U online courses, and support from the Responsible Distribution mentor Jim Benning and three adviser companies. Find out more at https://www.nacd.com/responsible-distribution/resources/

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