The crucial factor here is being able to identify where contamination from foreign elements occurred or where some other manufacturing error took place. For this to be effective, it is vital to have visibility across the entirety of manufacturing processes. Moreover, this overall view needs to be digitised and unified in one place, so that you don’t have to spend valuable time poring over paper records or manual data sets. When a recall occurs, you need to act quickly to prevent risk to consumers and to protect reputational damage amongst your retailer partners.

Having this kind of system in place enables an alternative way to enact a recall. It allows a manufacturer to pinpoint a list of products affected with a large degree of granularity, minimising the scale of the recall and therefore the financial cost to the business. It is also less unsettling for retailers, wholesalers, customers, and consumers by enabling them to easily see if they should avoid using, eating, or selling a product.

Traceability granularity should allow these entities to identify whether specific products are part of the recall. As a result, problems can be smoothly and rapidly contained without confusion. This pays huge dividends for both the consumer and retailer confidence amongst those brands that are involved. Taking control of a situation like this with speed prevents any long-term negative impact on the reputation of the company and its products while protecting consumers.

A quality management system that provides complete end-to-end traceability of the whole production line is essential here. If implemented effectively, a system can offer instant insight as to which finished batches may contain outside contamination or which ones may have been affected by a malfunctioning part of the manufacturing process, for example. It can also mean that manufacturers can put additional steps in place following a recall, to prevent a recurrence, whether this be in the form of additional quality checks, inspections, or reviewing specification limits, to prevent or minimise recurrent risk.

Arguably the biggest lesson a manufacturer will learn from a recall is hindsight – what you could-of/should-of done will dominate a lot of your afterthoughts post recall. Don’t let this be the case – by understanding the immediate threats today and where they lie, you can install the preventative measures needed to protect for tomorrow.