Getting an Edge in the Marketplace

Whether or not we’d like to admit it, we are a competitive society. Competition surrounds us in everything we do, and we’re always looking for ways to get an edge on the competition. We’ve just finished the busy Christmas season and can all admit to performing at least one (if not all) of following acts to get an edge on the competition:


Beating the masses.
Lining up outside a store before it opens, hoping to fight off the crowds. Some of us may have even spent the night in line waiting outside the local electronics store, trying to beat the crowds to buy the latest video game system.


Parking spot races.
We’ve all been searching for a parking spot in a crowded lot when reverse lights magically illuminate the aisle you just turned into. You’re not the only one to see it, and the spot about to open becomes the most coveted spot in the lot. A few questions pop into your mind: Can you get there before the car at the other end of the aisle? Will the car back out so you can sneak in to the spot, or will they put the block on you?
Checkout lines. You finally have your gifts and are ready to pay. You quickly survey each of the checkout lines. How much stuff does each person in line have? Which line moves faster? You choose your line and keep track of the others. Some of us even make strategic line jumps that often don’t help.


Pole position.
The shopping trip is over, and you want to get home. You approach a red light and evaluate the situation ahead. If a lane is open as you approach the red light, you jump over because you do not want to be held back by the car in front of you.

Competitive Advantage
Whether it’s a shopping trip or a business trip, the ball field or the sales field, on a golf course or in a business course, we’re all looking for a competitive advantage. If you are a manufacturer, supplier or dealer of drinking water treatment systems, you can always use a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Product certification gives you that advantage.
Product certification separates your products from other products in the marketplace. Consumers are assured that a certified drinking water treatment system is safe to use and performs as the product packaging says it will. Each certified product is evaluated for the following key areas:

  • Materials Safety – ensures the materials used in the product will not contribute contaminants to the drinking water.
  • Chemical Reduction Performance – measures contaminant reduction capabilities over the life and/or capacity of the product.
  • Structural Integrity – ensures products connected to a pressurized water supply will withstand at least 10 years of normal household use.
  • Product Literature Compliance – ensures product packaging, installation manuals, data plates, and product data sheets are consistent with test results, contain the information required by the applicable industry standard, and do not make false or misleading claims.

Drinking water treatment units are evaluated using the NSF/ANSI 42, 44, 53, 55, 58, 62, and 177 standards for the following product types: water filters making aesthetic claims, water softeners, water filters making health claims, ultraviolet systems, reverse osmosis equipment, distillers and shower filters.

Once a product is evaluated and deemed to meet the requirements of the applicable industry standard, the product, product literature and packaging is allowed to bear the certification mark of the certification body. The certification mark sets your product apart from other non-certified products and gives consumers confidence when they purchase certified products. The certification mark is also an easy indicator for inspectors and regulators to recognize that a product meets the requirements of industry standards. In addition, each certification body maintains a listing of products certified through its program that consumers, regulators and inspectors can easily access to find a certified product.

Companies interested in obtaining product certification have a few options to choose from when selecting a certification body. Water Quality Association, NSF International, Underwriters Laboratories and CSA International are each accredited certification bodies by the American National Standards Institute and the Standards Council of Canada for drinking water treatment units. Product certifications from each body are equivalent in the fact that products are evaluated using the same standards and are held to the same requirements, but you may find that one certifier suits your needs better than the others. Companies interested in product certification are encouraged to contact each certification body to determine which certifier will provide them with the best product certification, regulatory acceptance, customer service and project costs.

There’s nothing better than gaining an advantage over your competitors. Contact one of the certification bodies listed above to get your edge in the marketplace now.

Mark T. Unger, CWS-VI, is technical manager for the Water Quality Association. He can be reached at 630.505.0160, or by e-mail at munger@mail.wqa.org.

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