Sainsbury, Tesco, Morrison and Waitrose: This year saw major food manufacturers and retailers recalling products, owing to various hazards and concerns associated with their goods.
The recent ones to join the list are Asda’s Buttery Spread (due to fear it may contain pieces of clear hard plastic) and Lidl’s Italiano-style Chicken Thighs (due to labelling error) were withdrawn from the shelves. This, despite the multiple food regulations and various precautions that manufacturers and retailers take to ensure quality and safety of their products, highlights the risk of product recall happening to any business. Poor quality from a supplier, cross-contamination, wrong labelling, the presence of foreign items, malicious tampering or biological causes can all trigger a product recall.
It is difficult, if not impossible, for food or drink sellers to have complete certainty over their entire food supply chain. Risks can be minimised, checks and control processes put in place but it is also wise to prepare for product recalls, in case such a need arises.
Business systems software can substantially help your organisation to minimise the risk of a product recall, as well as mitigate the loss associated with it.
Preventing the recall in the first place is the ideal situation for any food seller. ERP solutions designed specifically for food and beverage industry offer capabilities that help you carry out the checks and processes to avoid problems in the first place. With features like lot traceability, shelf-life management and inventory optimisation, your software will help you keep track of all your ingredients and their expiry dates, thereby ensuring that identified ingredients are tracked and traced throughout production. Real-time information about your stock will help you understand how fast a product needs to be moved or an ingredient used.
When an issue arises requiring a recall you need to quickly take action. Your ability to respond, to handle the recall and the related communications may determine the future of your business. Even it is not catastrophic, minimising damage to customer loyalty and brand image is still vital. Research shows that Business Systems software with traceability functionality could reduce the direct costs of a recall by up to 90%.
Time is of critical importance in cases of product recall. The longer the delay in taking action, generally, the greater the risk, cost and damage. In such a scenario, sorting and collating information held in separate, standalone systems, in spreadsheets or in paper files can be extremely time consuming and is less assured.
A highly-functional business software system will have the ability to retrieve information about both products and about ingredients to help enable you to pinpoint the issue and also to take action by identifying the source or sources of supply as well as the customers who received the affected items. To then communicate as quickly as possible with those customers and agree a plan of action.
This could be for your Marketing, PR or Customer Service people to either send notification letters or emails to distributors and retailers directly from the software’s interface, informing them about the contamination, thereby minimising the damage.
A product recall is an extremely challenging task. Coherent processes and safeguards can reduce but never eliminate risk. Testing processes and testing the business’ ability to react quickly is vital and complacency could be fatal.
An advanced business management solution like Sage X3 will help your organisation achieve these objectives, storing and providing information in an easy-to-use interface that’s accessible to relevant people in your organisation.
The software’s robust core functionality enables companies to easily streamline compliance and eliminate inefficiency, providing a significant advantage over legacy ERP systems and other, less powerful software.