Importance of Quality Control in Avoiding Product Recall
Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 823
, Published on 26 April 2015
What makes a company win the hearts of its consumers? Its products. But precisely speaking its quality products, which few of the companies does not recognise the importance of, like Johnson & Johnson which had to recall 200,000 bottles of liquid Motrin followed by its first recall of Tylenol in 1982.When it comes to consumer satisfaction the first major factor that rules over the others is the quality, a company offers them. Companies for this sake do maintain lot of divisions in their plants especially bound to measure and maintain the quality of its products.
A company’s failure over maintaining its product quality may land the company into grave losses, like recall which can not only cause ignominy about the company but may puncture the product line, could cause unrecoverable monetary loss, could cause the consumers to lose faith in a long run and in extreme cases may also require the company to shut down like it happened with Peanut Corp. of America. Beyond all, in the pharmaceutical industry this becomes a heart sinking moment for a drug maker in context of health and safety of the consumers.
To prevent these kinds of circumstances the country established several regulating authorities like Bureau of Indian Standards to ensure the final lot meets the ascertained standards. But yet companies suffer recalling of their lots, which is caused due to several reasons.
1. Ineffective quality controlling techniques followed by the company.
2. Faulty equipment for ensuring the quality that should be met by the final lot.
3. Negligence on the side of the quality inspection/assurance managers by not actually getting involved in the process supervision.
4. Poor manufacturing of the product ultimately leading to product contamination.
5. Inadequate training being provided to the employees involved in quality assurance.
Afore mentioned reasons have increased the product recall exponentially causing indelible harm to the companies. As a reason, and most prominently the NSEL fiasco has made government to tighten the quality control norms by making it mandatory for all the six national level commodity exchanges to register their existing warehouses with Warehousing Development & Regulatory Authority (WDRA) by the end of this year to ensure the quality and quantity of produce lying with them.
MEASURES TO BE TAKEN DURING A RECALL
There are few other measures companies might take to streamline the production process.
1. One of the ways of managing a recall is to plan for one ahead of time.
• Not only does the company needs to take enough measures in preventing product recall but it also needs to prepare itself for a post recall mechanism. It should have product recall team comprising of a recall manager, include several other members from different realms such as medical, regulatory, legal, quality, product development, manufacturing, risk management, finance, technical services, distribution/logistics, sales, consumer affairs and document the recall chain of command.
• Ensure solid practise for monitoring product complaint monitoring.
• Also make sure continuous monitoring of good manufacturing practices (GMP)
2. Documentation of standard operating procedures for handling product complaints, quality testing, decision making of product recall.
• Product manufacturing always accompanies faulty products in the lot doesn’t necessarily mean every such situation calls for a product recall. A company must be enough strategic in making a decision of product recall as it always ends with a huge burden on the producer.
• And hence the manufacturers must ascertain few regulations and standards for the product manufacture.
• Maintaining a document of procedures always becomes in essential and crucial in times of a product recall to prove the company has followed best practices and incorporated all necessary measures in trying to prevent any such situation.
3. Make sure your company is legally protected by product recall insurance.
• Not many companies except for a bare 15% possess recall insurance.
• In the event of a recall when the firms are responsible for the recall and are conducting recall activities insurance companies do pay the costs of the recall the firm incurs.
• This is very crucial in the case of virtual manufacturers.
4. When you have an issue, develop well framed strategy for full investigation.
• After a recall it becomes of high prominence to perform a rigorous investigation to avoid rolling recall.
• Depending on the intensity of damage, the product has caused, investigation has to be made about the ease of identifying the fault, degree to which it is obvious to the consumer.
5. Effective communication, if done, can pay you back during the three phases of recall.
• Pre-recall, post-recall and even during recall communication is very much required by a company to inform all its stakeholders to make them updated about the situation.
• Communication can be of any form like, text, email, fax, letter or even a call but should be suited to each situation.
• Post recall communication also holds crucial for the company to build back the trust in their customers that the product on the shelf is safe.
6. Ensure timely product correction to protect consumers and your business.
• Before we can communicate to our stakeholders about the recall and post recall situation we must ensure the entire contaminated product is swept off the shelves to ensure safety for which special staff and quarantine needs to be appointed.
• For this purpose we can also have an efficient field force to expedite the procedure.
7. Follow proper regulatory rules and regulations
• Following of regulatory procedures becomes crucial when you have to validate your recall system/equipment that it produces efficient results consistently.
• This helps the company in maintaining integrity during audit trials.
8. Know your business costs.
• As already said it is better to be prepared for a recall and then file a policy of standards to be maintained accordingly, so that at the time of recall it can come handy to the producer to refer to the drafted policies for taking emergency measures.
9. Win back the trust of your customers.
• This is exactly where the marketing department play a very excruciating role in regaining the trust of the customers and to keep up the good will of the company.
• It should come up with innovative strategies of designing brand promotion for newer products that have entered the market and also to promote the existing product which had to be recalled by rebranding it in an efficient way which would recover the company from becoming a victim to undeniable grave losses.
• Few methods like customer engagement in preventing any further faults and also conducting a survey among them and then accordingly can design a strategy to reach to the targeted audience.
10. Learn from the experience.
• Lastly feedback would play a very important role in any such kind of situation and trying to learn from the experience of a recall helps the company in long runs to develop flawless products which would reduce any additional costs, thereby trying to design products that actually serve customers’ needs.
A CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT IS A NEVER ENDING PROCESS A COMPANY SHOULD BE BOUND TO.
Hence quality improvement is very important to prevent product recall and sufficient measures by the company in that matter is a MUST.
This article has been authored by Kranthi Sunku & Subhrajyoti Das from XIMB
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