5 Tips for Surviving a Product Recall

2015-11-19_5-tips-for-product-recallsA product recall is thought of with dread in the manufacturing industry. Even when following the strictest safety and quality guidelines, with so many factors involved sometimes things can go wrong – and product recalls can and do happen. Something as simple as undeclared allergens on food labels, in fact, continues to be one of the major causes of food recalls today.

A recall is a high-impact event. They can cripple a company financially and the reputational damage can be long-lasting. There can also be serious legal complications if the product has the potential to cause harm to a consumer. However with the correct planning and preparation before the fact, a product recall does not have to be a complete catastrophe. Here are 5 tips for surviving a product recall.

1. Do your planning

Not having a plan in place for a product recall is like not having a fire safety drill for your building. We want to believe that the building will never catch fire, so when it does no-one knows what to do. It’s better to be prepared and never need it, than to need it and be unprepared.

Start by identifying and understanding the industry regulations and requirements around your products. It is a simple step, but is hugely important in anticipating where any issues may arise. Also ensure you have procedures in place for uncovering potential safety issues; monitoring of complaints and product testing can both pre-empt issues before they arise.

2. Create a product recall manual

Producing a recall manual can go a long way in ensuring a smooth and effective recall. By detailing every step in the process, you ensure that every party involved knows exactly what needs to be done.

The manual should include a detailed chain of command outlining tasks and responsibilities. Your recall team should know exactly what is expected of them and what their role is in the processes. Assign a leader for the team to manage the procedure. Also include the contact information for the team members – if a product recall happens after hours, they need to be contacted quickly.

3. Track your products

Knowing exactly where a specific product is at any given time is essential for managing a recall. Precise and recorded tracking will ensure that you can identify the location of the products and take the appropriate steps to initiate the recall. This can help to avoid a drawn out recall process in which not every product involved is captured.

4. Identify the issues

By understanding exactly what went wrong with the product, you can ensure that the same issue is never repeated. A thorough investigation should be conducted and the exact scope of the problem identified. Look at every point in your manufacturing process – including your suppliers. An issue with a product could easily originate the raw material and without investigation you could continue to receive sub-par goods.

5. Do reputation damage control

If the product recall is liable to cause serious damage to your organisation’s reputation, it may be a good idea to get a PR company involved. They can help you to devise a plan on managing the potential fall-out and work with you to create an honest and sincere message to release to your consumers, managing their expectations and communicating important information.

TransLution™ Software tracks each step in your production processes, ensuring potential issues are identified early and that products can be recalled more easily when needed. If you would like to know more about how TransLution™ can help you, please contact us.


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