If your business finds itself in a situation where you have to do a product recall, will you be able to manage it? Safety is at the top of consumer’s minds and it should be at yours. If you send a product to market that is deemed unsafe, you’ll need to be prepared and know how to get it back. It’s not an easy task and your response to the recall can cause your business to sink or swim. Product recalls can impact reputation, taint customer trust, and decrease brand loyalty. These are just a few of the implications of a poorly managed product recall.
So let’s see if you’re ready — we’ll outline some of the tell-tale signs that your business might not be prepared to handle a product recall.
Have you practised a pretend recall?
If you have products moving off the shelves every day, are you prepared to get them back in the event of a recall? A lot of companies put together a product recall plan and undergo a mock-recall scenario. This helps staff plan their responses and see what steps need to be taken at what stages of the recall. If you haven’t practised for a recall, you might not be prepared.
Do you use online inventory management?
Online inventory management is a powerful way of tracking your inventory through the supply chain. It helps you narrow down where the problem is located when a product recall strikes. With online inventory management, you can track down recall problems much quicker and it can help minimise the overall cost of the incident. If you aren’t using an online inventory management tool, you might find yourself scrambling through paperwork or random spreadsheets to find out what inventory stock went where.
Is there a communications plan in place?
When something big like a product recall happens, you need to address it properly. This means that you need to have a commutations plan organised so you know the steps to take. Will you contact the media first or will you contact customers first? Who will manage the phones when the news comes out and what will they say?
It’s important to have some pre-prepared communications so you don’t have to write a press release at four in the morning when you find out a product disaster has struck. Do you have templates drafted in case of a product recall? Have you thought about what kind of communications needs to go out in different scenarios? A good communications plan allows you to be as proactive as possible. If you haven’t lined up a communications plan, you might fall short in a product recall.
Do you have a designated response team?
Every business should have an allocated team or task force who can jump in and help when a product recall hits. It’s important they are trained and if someone in the group leaves, that their replacement receives prompt training when they start. Make sure they know how to answer the phones and field tricky questions. Product recalls need a strong task force to guide them through — make sure you have one in your business.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.