Recalls can happen for a variety of reasons such as health or safety concerns and issues can originate from defective parts or ingredients further up the supply chain. Wherever and whatever the cause, businesses need to act swiftly to recall and remove affected products from the entire supply chain.
Online inventory management software helps facilitate this rapid response because it tracks product information up and down the supply chain. Combined with the following strategies, a product recall can be effectively undertaken to ensure the least impact to your brand’s reputation.
Preparedness is crucial to limiting the damage a product recall can have on your business and should form part of your company’s risk management strategy. Having a plan means that when a product is recalled, you can react quickly, take responsibility and control the message.
Consumers are more inclined to purchase products from companies who they perceive to have handled recalls in an honest and responsible way. A delay in announcing a recall or a failure to take prompt action can seriously damage your business.
Communicate quickly and clearly. Expert communication is critical to keep external stakeholders, customers, statutory authorities and suppliers happy. However, this doesn’t mean that the technical expert is the right person to be talking to the public and media. Nominate a senior staff member or someone who has the authority to make business decisions as the spokesperson for your organisation.
Be honest, take responsibility – this builds the credibility of a brand and is conducive to consumers having faith in a company’s capacity to operate and sustain business following a crisis.
Efficient internal communication is also vital to ensuring all areas of the organisation receive the right information in a timely manner. Failing to manage internal communication can lead to missed information, inconsistent messaging, duplication of effort or worse, actions not being undertaken.
Depending on the industry you are in, it pays to not only keep communication lines open but to work with controlling agencies. Cooperate with government or third-party agencies to ensure all correct steps are taken to remedy recall instances. Be proactive in working with authorities, this will ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible throughout the recall process.
A government agency will typically get involved to make sure the situation is made right by the company responsible. They will almost always get involved when a recall involves potential danger to the health of your consumers.
Keep customers in mind
In the event of a product recall, your customers will likely be confused and generally inconvenienced. Customers who don’t receive the answers they want from your brand will have a negative opinion long after the dust has settled.
If appropriate, hold a press conference to inform your customers about the recall procedure to help reassure your customers and allay their fears or frustrations. Bring in additional customer service staff to help field enquiries. Set up a ‘live chat’ help feature on your website. Recent statistics highlight how critical fast and clear communication is when dealing with a product recall.
A serious mistake for companies to make when confronted with a product defect is to stay focused on the company’s bottom line. Over 90% of consumers trust a company that handles a recall showing they care more about customer safety than they do profits.
Online inventory management
Online inventory management provides a robust inventory control system that offers high levels of traceability. It is a powerful tool for responding quickly to a recall situation and will help to minimise costs.
Product traceability through online inventory management enables you to communicate problems to key stakeholders and supply chain partners. Ensuring the recall progresses smoothly and efficiently.
Use reliable batch tracking system that holds vital information around the sales orders related to every batch of your product, to enable your business to respond in a prompt and professional way once you start a recall. This can save you a huge amount of time by allowing you to focus your resources on tracing the product and notifying your customers.
Surviving a product recall
By taking the right actions in the event of a recall, you can improve public perception of both your brand and your business.
Smart companies understand that positive consumer perception is essential to making sure customers aren’t permanently disenchanted with their brand, following a recall.
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.