The last time I went on a big vacation (pre-COVID), it was a Caribbean cruise with a few extra days spent in Florida. It was wonderful, relaxing and fun. Then when I returned home, I had several questionnaires or surveys in my inbox. I received one from the cruise line, one from the airline, one from the car rental company, and one from the hotel. This is pretty normal and most of you probably see the same thing after returning home from vacation.

product questionnaire

In the world of product manufacturing, companies will often send out questionnaires to their suppliers. This is not usually for the purpose of determining satisfaction, but rather to understand regulatory compliance. They might ask for the full compositions of the products they are receiving from you. Often they will send a customized list of chemicals or refer to an industry list of chemicals such as the Global Automotive Declarable Substance List (GADSL) or the Substitute it Now (SIN) list. They will ask you to confirm that none of these chemicals are present in your product. They might also send a list of regulations asking if your product complies with them. The purpose for all of this is not to make your life miserable, but because they need to recognize their full supply chain in order to assess their own regulatory situation.

If you have received such a questionnaire, how do you handle it? I’ve seen quite a number of responses that run the gamut from throwing it in a drawer and hoping it goes away to full compositional disclosure with additional analytical testing results.  Admittedly, most companies fall somewhere in between, but realize that it’s not likely to go away and you are going to have to come up with some sort of a response. What’s the best way to administer this? I offer two approaches below that can be done independently, but I would suggest the optimal solution is a combination of both.


  • Know your compositions! Sounds simple. You know what you put together to make your product, but do you have information on the compositions of all your raw materials? Now, that could be a monumental task. The composition of your product is the sum of all the chemical substances.

composition of a product


  •  Run analytical testing. This doesn’t have to be done on every single product, but choose the appropriate representative products.  It’s also important to choose the appropriate test methods.

Analytical Testing

At Strategic Realm Consulting, we can help you find that middle ground of obtaining enough compositional information to be able to answer your incoming questionnaires.  We can also help establish the criteria for determining risk-based testing protocols.  We will help you find the right cost-effective solution that meets your needs.  Then we will train your personnel to keep the process evergreen.  Contact us for more information.