The Underwriters Labs' Faster Seal Of Approval

Building safety into product design and manufacturing is paying off for Samsung Electronics America Inc. This month, it announced that it had become the first company certified by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. for a streamlined safety-certification program. UL staff trained employees of the U.S. company's parent, Korea's Samsung Electronics Co., in how to incorporate UL's safety-evaluation steps into Samsung's design and manufacturing of microwave ovens, radios, televisions, and other products. That should let the company win more rapid approval for the UL Mark, an emblem of product safety. John Garrison, marketing vice-president for the Ridgefield Park (N.J.) unit, estimates that it could cut the design-to-ship time for products by two to four months.

Underwriters Laboratories, a nonprofit organization based in Northbrook, Ill., says lots of other companies are seeking to participate in its Total Certification Program. But compliance is costly and usually comes only after a company has met the quality standards of the International Standards Organization's ISO 9000 program. Among the applicants, UL says, are makers of lighting, power controls, phone gear, appliances, and fire-suppression products.

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