I'm sure that we can all agree exploding phones, life-threatening airbags and poisoned food are best avoided. But when these incidents do happen, how do you effectively plan for a product recall?

If you are a manufacturer or retailer without a product recall team primed for action, how best do you tackle the undesirable?

There really is no time to spare once the need for recall arises...

The Product Recall Plan

At times of stress, a plan to turn to is a much-needed comfort. The assumption is that the plan is created with clear heads and the luxury of informed decision making from all relevant parties. The purpose of a defined product recall plan is to guide action. All too often, however, companies find their recall plan is too general. In practice, it often amounts to little more than a sample product recall plan that could be applicable to any company.

There is no point having a plan if it is not specific and actionable. A safety recall can have dangerous consequences if not dealt with swiftly.

Ensure valuable time is not wasted by defining the recall process beyond common sense headings:

• Set specific points of action by product or type of recall

• Predetermine priorities and timescales

• Make accountability of tasks clear

• List all external stakeholders and what they need to be told

• Include important external stakeholders in planning so they understand their role

Once you have the recall procedure defined, the comprehensiveness of the plan can be tested by training your recall team against it.

The Recall Team

Training your product recall team against the recall plan not only validates its usefulness, it helps everyone involved act decisively when the time is of the essence. A product recall should be a rare occurrence so staff shouldn’t be expected to know what to do without training and support.

To achieve this a product recall team must be set up prior to the need for a recall. From the plan, you will see the stakeholders who must be involved, their priorities, the inter-dependencies and timelines for action. If relevant personnel, including external parties, are aware of what is expected of them there will be no crossed wires or avoidance of responsibility. All parties will be focused on what is important – minimising harm to consumers.

Support your staff on the front line of product recall:

• Set up product recall team before, not after

• Train team against the recall plan

• Ensure specific members know what is expected of them

• Create workflows to guide members through their part of the process.

By preparing a specific, actionable plan and a properly trained team ahead of time you will avoid common product recall planning mistakes.

For more information, visit www.ideagen.com.