You’ve likely heard about product recalls, but how much do you actually know about the process? Let’s take a look at how these recalls work and what they entail.
Recalls are a necessary function put in place for the benefit of consumers. This occurrence is defined by asq.org as, “a request to return, exchange, or replace a product after a manufacturer or consumer watch group discovers defects that could hinder performance, harm consumers, or produce legal issues for the producers.” Recalls typically happen when a product is endangering the health and/or safety of the public. Serious illness, injury and even death are some of the most common causes for product recalls. This is why it’s important to take them seriously.
There is clearly a lot of work done to prevent recalls from happening in the first place. The above mentioned article goes on to say, “Due to a greater awareness of consumer safety concerns, many companies focus on taking preventive measures, using an internal product recall team, and implementing quality control procedures designed to reduce the risk of—and perhaps even prevent—major product recall expenditures.” The ‘team’ this article references is a group of people that typically work in-house to test and retest the product for any defects. They push the limits of the product to find weaknesses and potential safety issues. This team is also responsible for recommending possible ways to fix any problems they uncover.
Another key element in the product recall system is detailed documentation. It’s important that manufacturers and companies keep thorough records of their sales. Through this chain of information, it’s easy to identify where the potentially dangerous product has been distributed. Following identification, companies take the necessary steps needed to contact each buyer and inform them of the recall. While it’s ultimately up to the consumer whether or not they exchange a product that has been recalled, the company must take every measure possible in order to pass the information on to the customer.
The response process involves investigating reports of faulty product. It also includes crisis management, quick acknowledgement and communication to consumers. A company’s response to a product recall can either make or break them. Generally speaking, when a product is deemed unsafe for the market, most companies jump into action. This is as much to protect consumers as it is to avoid costly litigation. That being said, there is usually a PR or crisis management plan in place before production even starts. This means that in the event of a recall, the business is already ready to meet the issue head-on. Consumers value honesty. The more up-front a company is with problems associated with their products, the more the public will respect their efforts to clean up the mess.
It can be a little nerve wracking when a product you love is recalled. However, it’s comforting to know that the safety net of the recall system is there to protect consumers.