Product safety is a basic expectation of our guests, and a priority for Target. We ensure our owned brand products meet regulatory, safety and quality standards by testing at or above mandatory requirements. We expect our vendors and factories to utilize best practices, ensuring product safety and consistent quality for our guests.
Assessing our Owned Brands
Our risk-based product safety and quality program is incorporated at every stage in the product lifecycle; from development through the life of our owned brand product. Our Global Target Team implements our program across 36 countries and 2,228 factories producing Target product. During the process, we require independent third-party testing to validate safety and quality before our guests purchase product.
Our vendors are expected to employ best practices, including clearly defined and well-documented manufacturing and quality processes, including staff training and record keeping. With our Vendor Qualification Assessment process for imported products and our Factory Evaluation Processes, we are able evaluate our vendors' and factories' ability to deliver consistent, safe and quality results. In some highly regulated product categories, we require the industry standard Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) audit as a minimum requirement for production facilities. In 2014, 2,506 factory evaluations were conducted at vendor facilities.
Target uses a risk-based approach to production management and may require a Production Readiness Meeting involving a Target employee or third-party agent visiting the factory and validating the production planning information, including approval samples, production plan and quality plan (including any internal testing and inspections).
We have established a risk-based multi-stage Product Testing Program to ensure products are tested though the entire product production runs. Our program builds in periodic testing from independent, third-party laboratories validating that safety and regulatory standards have been satisfied, including but not limited to: analytical tests (chemical), performance tests (durability/functionality), label validation and flammability standards. In 2014, independent third-party labs conducted 53,475 product tests for Target-brand products.
During production, risk-based Product Inspections are conducted. Product inspection may occur at multiple stages, including during the product production and/or prior to shipment. The inspection is conducted by a Target employee or a third party and includes a visual evaluation of the product to ensure that aesthetic appearance, measurements, packaging and labeling meet Target standards. Should we find that the product does not meet our expectations, shipment of the product may be stopped until re-work or replacements occur. In 2014, Target team members and independent third parties conducted 79,827 product inspections.
General Merchandise Investigation and Recalls
If we learn about a problem with one of our products, we investigate and, when necessary, quickly remove it from our stores and Target.com. To ensure recalled products aren't sold, we issue a lock on the item number at the cash register and online. We also contact any guest who used a REDcard to purchase a recalled product. You'll always find up-to-date recall information posted on in-store iPads, Target's Facebook page, and in the Help Section of Target.com.