Avoiding Product Recalls

downloadOver the years, we’ve had our share of inquiries related to organizations seeking to resolve a recall situation.  While many of these calls are reactive, a proactive approach is recommended to avoid the cost and overall impact to stakeholders.

How can you avoid product recalls? 

Know Product Safety Requirements –  Avoiding recalls generally starts with product design and specification development. Due diligence is required to determine if any applicable testing is required depending on the market in which it will be sold. Contacting a testing lab for a general inquiry is worth the time and effort. Researching ANSI and ASTM standards is also advised.  A third party’s expertise can also be leveraged here and specifications development/testing can be outsourced.

Know Your Suppliers – Supplier selection is a critical component in the quality process. Verifying suppliers and performing an on-site evaluation adds an additional level of assurance. Considerations include:

  • Management
    • Is there a quality manual, and how are people trained?
  • Engineering
    • Are there control systems and a formal system of using updated drawings/specs?
  • Quality Control
    • Is there a quality department, and how much ultimate repsonsiblity do they have?
  • Incoming QC
    • Are raw materials inspected, and is inspection equipment calibrated?
  • Packaging
    • Are they packaged to prevent damaged and properly labeled?
  • Non-Conforming Materials
    • Is there a specific area for non-conforming materials and applicable training for handling/reporting?
  • Corrective Action
    • Is corrective action properly communicated, documented and follow-up on?
  • Manufacturing
    • Is there documentation, a maintenance program, etc.?

View an example Initial Supplier Evaluation report here to get a better idea of the basics when considering a potential partner.

Don’t Skip Inspections – Even the most highly rated suppliers have been known to release a shipment or two with quality issues that somehow went unseen. Some of these quality concerns can end up being safety issues that can easily result in recalls or other rework/warranty situations.  For an added level of assurance, incorporate pre-shipment inspections. These happen when the shipment is 100% produced and 80% packaged. So, you’re able to confirm visual/workmanship issues, functionality and packaging integrity issues.

View example QC inspection reports here to get a better idea of what’s included in the final evaluation of product.

For additional information regarding avoiding recalls and ensuring quality, contact us.

Recent recalls are listed on the CPSC site here.  “The CPSC fulfills its mission by banning dangerous consumer products, establishing safety requirements for other consumer products, issuing recalls of products already on the market, and researching potential hazards associated with consumer products.

A global site is also available here.  “The GlobalRecalls portal brings together information on product recalls being issued around the world, on a regular basis, together in one place – on an OECD platform.”

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