Without a trace…..

NYresolutionsIn earlier posts  here  and here, we talked about how social media is changing the game when it comes to consumer recalls.  I just took a peek at the FDA enforcement report in my inbox, and all I can say is that it will help motivate my January diet resolutions…

Today, let’s take a look at another key part of the recall readiness toolkit: traceability. Over on FoodDive, the Traceability playbook describes six key advantages of implementing a comprehensive, modern traceability system:

  • Operational visibility that extends into your supply chain so that you can verify quality of raw materials
  • Rapid training of a multi-lingual workforce, because modern systems eliminate the need for language skills by relying on barcode scanning
  • Providing a foundation for improving operational efficiency by making it easier to find bottlenecks and address sourced of confusion
  • Through integration with CRM and social media, a modern traceability system enables tailored responses to inbound social media complaints and concerns, so that you can get a head start on recalls and find the source of the quality issue more quickly
  • Enables you to meet growing consumer desire for non-ingredient attributes of your products, for things like non-GMO, free-range, fair trade, etc.
  • You can issue targeted (as opposed to blanket recalls) to address quality issues, because you can trace your raw materials and packaging as well as the employees and production equipment who touched a particular lot

Diligent, cross-functional process modeling, coupled with modern traceability systems, can make or break you, if you are suddenly in a recall situation. Are you ready?

 

Don’t let a recall become a social media storm!

With food recalls increasing and averaging one a day over at the FDA website, and a steady trickle of consumer product safety recalls as well, it’s mind boggling that so many CPG companies are handling recall response so poorly.  By poorly, I mean that consumers are not getting quick resolution from official corporate channels such as the corporate website or the consumer care toll free number–but are airing their frustration on Facebook and Twitter. Within 24 hours, the frustration has gone viral and turned into a social media storm.

In many recent cases, a recall has generated so much traffic that jams the phone lines and/or crashes the brand’s website. Sometimes, the website is down, but the social media team is still directing their angry commenters to log a complaint over at the website. It is painful to watch the frustration unfold.

Then, the consumer care team stokes the fire of consumer anger by sending rebate coupons that don’t work at the supermarket

Nicole's Comment

Or don’t line up with the products that the consumers had to toss, or don’t work in the sales channel of choice or the state of residence of the consumer who receives them.

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It doesn’t have to be this way!

Most companies have the means of capturing the product, quantity, state of residence and retailer in their CRM systems. Whether their systems have the capacity to handle the increased load during a recall is another story.

In a food safety situation, lot or batch traceability is critical, and required by domestic and international regulations. Full traceability enables manufacturers to limit the recall to only those production lots with quality issues. The ERP system must provide full forward traceability through the distribution channels, and backward traceability into the supply chain.

Process recall readiness gaps exist in the area of documented processes, roles and responsibilities, and the pre-existence of a disaster response handling project plan/timeline.

If your business faces the threat of a product recall or another similar crisis in consumer confidence, are you really ready to handle it? Take a short self-assessment, and see how you score across the key readiness categories.