October 24, 2007
Why Recalls Depend on the Supply Chain
Kim S. Nash (CIO.com) has posted an in-depth story on ConAgra's recent recalls of peanut butter (blogged here, here, here, and here) and pot pies (blogged here, here, and here), focusing on the importance of the company's supply chain to a successful recall.
Best practice calls for companies to be able to track and trace the pedigree and whereabouts of the raw materials used to make their products all the way through the manufacturing process and out to end-point customers, says Steve David, former CIO of Procter & Gamble. But many companies, for many reasons, don’t have supply chains that can do that, and that becomes evident in clumsy recalls that go on too long, cost too much, and have the potential to damage corporate and product reputations.
“The ugliness of bad data management really hits you when you have a product recall,” David says.
As soon as the decision is made to recall a product, companies should release consistent, correct information to minimize brand damage, says Joe Barkai, a practice director at Manufacturing Insights, a consulting firm that is a sister company to CIO’s publisher. “But,” he says, “now [traceability] is mainly a manual procedure. Companies don’t have it automated.”
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