One of the biggest challenges that many brands face are product recalls. Not only can the unexpected need to recall product create liability issues but they can also impact your brand’s reputation.
XL Foods out in B.C. is a prime example. Remember the big beef E. coli scare a couple of months back that had grocery stores scrambling and that sent the cost of the remaining healthy beef through the roof? Well, the dust may have settled with respect to all product being removed from the shelves, but for people impacted by the recall the fight has just begun.
In October 2012, CBC News Canada released several articles about the company that was at the centre of the E. coli contamination outbreak a couple of months ago. Well, some individuals who believe that they were poisoned by infected beef have announced that they plan to take action against the struggling meat producer. In Edmonton, a man who became ill with E. coli announced that he would be filing a class action lawsuit against XL Foods. Following his announcement, a 15 year old boy and a woman in B.C. also announced that they would be filing suits.
We don’t envy folks in the meat business, or any business for that matter, when product recalls happen. What’s important is the plan that an organization has in place to deal with product recalls to mitigate damages.
Speed is key, especially when a product that is being recalled could cause potential harm to the public. Once it has been decided that a product needs to be recalled, it will need to come off the shelves as soon as possible; this you know. Logistically, this can present certain challenges, especially if you have robust retail coverage. This is a major reason why many brands turn to merchandising companies for support.
Vetting merchandising companies that offer product recall services and establishing a relationship with a merchandising company that has the resources to service your needs will be an important part of product recall planning. This will ensure that if you have to recall a product you can do so very quickly, more quickly than you could likely do on your own. This is why, when vetting merchandising companies, you should be sure to ask for a firm commitment on turn-around times and about their retail coverage.
If you are a smaller brand, you may be best served by working with a smaller merchandising company. Merchandising companies that are too big may not be able to react as quickly or provide the personalized services that boutique merchandising companies can. Another step you can take when vetting merchandising companies that purport to have experience in emergency response it to ask for case studies of successful recalls that they have been involved in and for references of clients you can speak with. Also ask tougher questions, like what has gone wrong with past products and how did the merchandising company overcome these issues?
Dealing with emergency product recalls quickly and efficiently will not only reduce potential liability and litigation but it will also make all the difference to your customers. Reducing possible negative interactions between your customers and your products and also showing your customers how quickly you react to deal with potential product concerns will bode well for your brand’s credibility and is good brand reputation management.
For more information about dealing with product recalls for information about our merchandising services please visit www.storesupport.ca or call 905-847-6513.