Complex: adj. characterized by a very complicated or involved arrangement of parts, units, etc.
In one sense, “complex” is the perfect definition of a recall.
The complexity of recalls arises not from the individual parts, but from the vast number of people and tasks across a wide network of affected parties. All play a critical role in a successful recall. Rarely does a process touch so many different functions in both business and regulatory arenas with such high potential consequences.
Consider the following organizational pattern for managing recalls effectively:
At the highest level, the activities involved in recalls can be divided into two broad categories: business and regulatory. Within each of these categories, generally three questions need specific answers: who, what, and why.
The answers to these questions relate directly to the role one plays in the recall. If starting a recall due to a defective product, both the business answers and regulatory ones will be quite different than if responding to a recall notice from a supplier. Deciding who needs to know and why often drives the answer to what information is needed.
A c-suite executive responsible for protecting the company’s brand and public image will need to know one set of information. A quality assurance professional tasked with defining the scope of the problem or an inventory control person at a warehouse will need different information. Also, regulatory jurisdictions often have different informational needs because of the actions they follow to protect the public.
With so many moving pieces, a smooth recall process can feel like a tall order. As we think about modernizing the way recalls are done, simplification and standardization are two main priorities.
One of the learnings from the chaos of 2020 highlights how connectivity can simplify complex processes. Sharing data in real time streamlines workflows, reduces errors and speeds up everything. Wouldn't it be nice if sharing data in the right way at the right time could satisfy business and regulatory requirements in one seamless step rather than multiple disconnected steps?
Carbon copies of the 20th century allowed point-in-time information to be shared so that everyone involved knew the same thing. With technology, data sharing and connectivity brings carbon copies into the 21st century.
Sharing data between systems is faster and more secure than ever. Automated reporting can be built into the recall process as a single step rather than a separate task. Standardizing the way information is shared will make sure all parties see what they need to see without delay.
Teamwork between regulatory agencies and private sector companies will pave the way forward. Specific attention to where business and regulatory requirements overlap will simplify the recall process – the proverbial killing two birds with one stone – and allow important information to be shared more quickly and effectively.
Recall InfoLink is committed to making recalls faster and easier for the whole supply chain, and we recognize that business and compliance connectivity is an important part of making this happen. We look forward to significant progress in the near future.