What happens during the first hours?
What happens during the first hours of crisis consulting in a recall case? What is the ideal way to proceed?
- Facts are checked – test results, the feasibility of the issue being the business' fault, the number of complaints (all the same product/SKU?)
- Risk assessment – the likelihood of the issue causing harm to a consumer/end user
- Scale of potential issue is determined – products affected, production records/ traceability
- Communication – recall team needs to communicate with the rest of the business about what is happening and highlight the importance of speed and the accuracy of responses. External communication should be carefully prepared, clear and concise, and consistent across all channels.
- Leadership – it is vital that a strong leader is at the head of the recall or crisis team; someone who can work with colleagues to make decisions, delegates well and drives the action plan without getting disheartened, as it can become very stressful during a product incident.
What are some of the best actions?
What are some of the best actions to take to avoid or mitigate the total cost of the recall?
A good example from real life was when a consumer goods manufacturer approached us believing they had a global recall on their hands following reports that a part was failing, which had the potential to injure the end user.
However, after evaluating the complaints and carrying out a thorough risk assessment, it was concluded that the risk to consumers was very low and due to the lifecycle of the product, the chances of the fault happening again, were even lower.
Therefore, the client decided to modify the product and monitor the situation very closely. They were prepared to recall, if the risk level changed; but, that proved unnecessary and saved the company and their insurer many millions in recall costs.
What are some of the most dangerous mistakes?
What are some of the most dangerous mistakes a company can make after learning that their distributed products are defective and quick action is needed?
Burying your head in the sand – i.e. trying to pretend the issue isn't happening and not dealing with it, hoping it will blow over of its own accord.
Conversely – Overreacting and starting to take actions, before you have fully evaluated the issue and confirmed it is a real incident (e.g. checking test results, confirming it is not a hoax) and/ or risk assessed the situation to determine the potential impact on consumer safety.
Poor communication can also be an issue, both internally and externally. Ensuring that you communicate clearly and openly with key stakeholders (customers, consumers, authorities, the media) is vital once you have established there is an issue and that you have a clear action plan to communicate.