Product Recall: A Nightmare On Your Street
Keep in mind that in many cases the situation need not escalate to where the governmental agencies issue the recall. Manufacturers and importers are obligated to report product hazards to the applicable regulatory agencies, as Lisa Lori pointed out in "The Price of Silence," published in Promo Marketing's Responsibility Issue. Part of this reporting includes what the company has done to investigate the nature of the issue, how the issue presents itself and solutions that may eliminate the harm resulting from the use of the product. Other factors such as the volume of the item produced and the portion already in end-user's hands should also be included in the report.
Being proactive and having an established policy and procedure for addressing recalls provides a script for companies to follow when faced with claims related to product harm. This recall policy should have the capacity to address the issue and implement the applicable remedy, which could be something as mundane as issuing instructions, adding a warning label or sending out a replacement part. In only the most serious and severe cases, would a recall include pulling the product back from your distributor customers as well as the consumer market.
Conducting a mock recall to test those procedures makes certain everyone knows their roles—and keeps stage fright to a minimum. Regular rehearsals not only ensure that a potential recall will be confidently handled like any other matter of business, but they also help keep procedures up-to-date as processes are revised to meet current marketplace standards.
In any case, a recall represents an opportunity to learn more about your product, your management systems and where you may want—or need—to make improvements. And although scary and sometimes painful, it is possible to survive a recall relatively unscathed.
Stay tuned for the next Compliance Chat on November 2 to learn how your brand reputation plays a significant role in recall survival.