Mock recalls are not new. Whether motivated by regulatory audit requirements or internal protocol, running a mock recall is a familiar practice.
But, it’s easy for mock recalls to feel like a matter of checking boxes.
Imagine a defect – check.
Pull records – check.
Create a report – check.
Explain it all to your auditor – check.
With the boxes checked and audit complete, you can move on till next time, not worrying too much about the fact that if you’re honest, you aren’t really prepared to run a recall if it were to happen.
You leave the exercise with the nagging feeling that when safety becomes a matter of checking boxes, no one is served. Even with the good-faith effort, it feels like more of a hassle without producing substantial value for your business.And, more importantly, it doesn’t do much to actually keep your consumer safe.
When it comes to mock recalls, it’s time for some changes. The FDA recently called for a modernization of the recall process across the board.
What if your modernization actually begins at the level of Mock Recalls?
What if your regular mock recalls directly impact your company’s preparedness?
What if consumers know – and believe – that their safety is so important to you that you invest time and resources into ensuring it isn’t compromised?
Instead of checking boxes, is it too much to ask for mock recalls to practice getting compromised product out of the supply chain, rather than simply to perform a traceability exercise?
Modernizing your mock recall process doesn’t have to be a complicated overhaul. A few key improvements can make the difference between a mock recall that does its job and one that doesn’t.
Standardize the process. Make a plan to practice regularly and stick to it. Follow the same procedures as your normal recall process so that your practice translates when action is required.
Make information accessible. Even in a mock recall, practice communicating consistent information accurately and quickly.
Use technology to help. Consider using a service that supports mock recall events, streamlines information transfer, and makes standardization easy.
Communicate across your entire supply chain. Include your customers as appropriate or desired in your practice so that they are familiar with your process and have the chance to prepare for their own recall response.
Follow the process to the end. Include after-action follow up like root cause analysis, corrective action(s), and preventive measures
Using these principles and implementing best practices that are tailored to your company’s operation will prepare you for areal recall event. Being prepared will lower the stress that comes along with product recalls. Lower stress will lead to better decisions and smoother operations.
In the end, modernizing looks like good decision making, clear communication, and ultimately concern for your consumers.