Life is easy when everything is as it should be. Normal and uneventful feels good – especially now, after we’ve all experienced the global upheaval of the pandemic.
Although we all look forward to “getting back to normal,” it’s hard to imagine what that looks like. The world is a different place than it was eighteen months ago. Really, we crave relief from the crisis, whatever that may be. No more uncertain threats and unfamiliar dangers. No more scrambling to adjust and adapt. We crave the security of knowing that we can deal with a crisis if it should happen.
Think about this: Do you know where the closest fire station is to your home? Your place of work? Maybe you can quickly bring it to mind, or maybe it’s harder for you to recall – either way, you know it’s there. The specialized service ready to speed into action with knowledge and equipment to bail you out of a crisis you neither planned nor expected is a source of security. While the thought of a fire crisis rarely crosses your mind, you – and society around you – are prepared just in case something happens.
Insurance plans offer similar security, whether for your home, car, or health. If you stop to think about it, paying for insurance may not be pleasant, but it gives a level of crisis protection that’s hard to replace. When something does go wrong, you’re covered.
When it comes to crisis protection, the interconnected world has introduced immense challenges, not the least of which is ensuring the safety and ethics of the products we sell and consume. Words like traceability and transparency have become buzzwords lately, and rightly so. But the implementation of these concepts, despite vast emerging technologies, isn’t as easy as talking about it.
The problem goes deeper with the reluctance to think about a possible future crisis, especially if that crisis seems unlikely. When everything is going right, it makes sense to stay focused on your piece of the industry. You don’t have to worry about what’s happening up or down the chain, only continuously improving your piece of a smooth and safe supply chain.
When something goes wrong, this changes. Suddenly it becomes very important to know where your product came from, where it went, and what happened to it between points A and B. The global supply chain becomes quickly overwhelming in the event of a crisis.
Applying the insurance mentality to the supply chain invites a global solution for product recalls.
Can we normalize the ability to quickly remove product from the supply chain when the intent is never to need to?
Can we leverage game-changing technology to connect the supply chain with fast, accurate communication, even if we don’t need it until later – or ever?
It comes down to a few simple solutions:
- Practice – Have a clearly defined recall process that includes both product traceability and removal components. Just like the standardization of fire drills, your recall process should be standardized and practiced ahead of time for effective use when the time comes.
- Plan – Use a cloud based service to communicate up and down the supply chain. Third party service providers, just like fire stations on the corner, ensure that you have the resources you need to effectively manage the situation.
- Protect – Maintain digital records of product information. Regulatory compliance is an important part of brand and consumer protection, and is often one of the most stressful parts of recalls. Ease the pressure by making recall records easy to access for third party audits and regulatory agencies.
All three of these solutions require forethought and preparation for a crisis that you hope will never happen. The insurance mentality suggests that a small investment now will prevent a catastrophe later.
Internal recall plans continue to be the norm but are increasingly falling short of the needs of a global supply chain. Protecting a brand from production to use takes broader management than from point A to B. A recall management service acts as insurance for the unwished-for moment when something goes wrong. We hope you never have to use it, but we are there if you do, just like the fire station on the corner.