Between new product development, employee training and retention, and all the other tasks involved in maintaining and growing a business, taking time to conduct a mock recall often doesn’t land at the top of the to-do list. But considering the fact that a recall, if mismanaged, can seriously jeopardize the strength of companies, there are times when mock recalls are vital. So when should leaders make them a priority? Here are some of the top reasons:
1. After a recall that didn’t go well
When a recall ends, the last thing any company wants to do is revisit it. But there is no better time to take a look at processes. Perhaps there weren’t enough agents to manage the response. Or maybe they weren’t trained properly. In some cases, consumers don’t feel they were made whole by the remedy. Whatever the situation, companies should look at what went well, what didn’t, and what can be done to make it right next time. They should also consider potential threat areas if the recall is larger or more complex the next time around.
2. Any time major changes are made to products
Let’s say a consumer product or medical device has been modified to include a lithium-ion battery. In the event of a recall, that can add many layers of complexity. In the food and beverage industry, products are often adjusted to meet the ever-changing demands of health conscious consumers. Those adjustments can sometimes make certain types of recalls, such as pathogen contamination, more likely.
3. After splits, spin offs, mergers, and acquisitions
There are plenty of potential advantages to major business changes. Mergers can help companies diversify and become more efficient. But they may bring together two companies with very different cultures, levels of transparency, and regulatory expertise. Similarly, a split may help the resulting smaller companies focus on what they do best. But in either case, until the dust settles, there may be confusion over who does what – especially in the event of a crisis such as a recall. Conducting a mock recall at this time to ensure everyone is on the same page can go a long way toward making it through an inevitable recall with customer loyalty intact.
4. After a period of high turnover
Regardless of size or industry, employee turnover is one of the top pain points for manufacturers. By having some redundancies in staff duties and relying heavily on trusted partners for the most complex tasks, these challenges can be reduced. But even a normal amount of turnover can cause confusion when a recall occurs. If a company has gone through a major transformation, such as a location change or shift in management that leads to a high turnover level, it is time to revisit recall plans and test them.
5. Once a recall plan has been created or updated
Companies that lack a recall plan or have only an outline of a plan (hint: if it is just a couple paragraphs or a one-page document, it is probably nowhere near as robust as it should be) are vulnerable. It is important for leaders to recognise this and take steps to rectify the situation. But once a plan is in place, it needs to be tested for any weaknesses. Otherwise, those gaps may be discovered in the midst of a recall, which can lead to brand damage, regulatory fines, and legal liability.
6. When it has been awhile since your last mock recall
Recall plans should be tested every 12 – 18 months. This helps companies test various scenarios, continually refine any trouble spots, and account for shifting regulations. This is especially important for companies that operate on a global level, where regulations often differ widely from country to country.
Of course, recognising the need for a mock recall is just the first step. Companies also need to brush up on how to make it as impactful as possible. Check out our top tips for a successful mock recall to get started.
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