In an animated session on Wednesday afternoon, Katherine Ann Cahill, president of Cahill Consultants, led her audience at the PPAI Product Safety Summit through the tumultuous emotions and decision making of product safety recalls, and how to manage them.
In a product recall, the biggest struggle is often getting to the answer of “should we report?” and if so, “what does that mean for us financially and from a brand perspective?” and “how do we handle a recall?”
Fear and emotions during a product issue are impediments to focusing on the problem at hand, which is consumer safety and the overall well-being of the company, Cahill explained. And with too many distractions, the recall decision makers may miss important details, and make incorrect decisions about whether the product concern is a safety issue.
“How do you manage fear to get to the decision you have to make?” Cahill asked. What she described as the “human factor” in the recall process—fear and other emotions, distractions and the differing perspectives of all involved—can influence how a firm handles a recall.
“What happens when the CPSC, the 800-pound gorilla, comes to your door?” she asked. “Preparation and knowledge can stave off fear. There needs to be a process at the front desk when they show up.”
Human factors can make or break a company when the decision is being made to call the CPSC and go through a recall, said Cahill. Managing the human factors through proper preparation—having the right knowledge, communication plan, procedures and the proper documentation— contributes to conducting a successful product recall.
In her presentation, Cahill encouraged her audience to put in place a failure mode and effect analysis—a systematic analysis to identify potential points of failure and their causes and effects—so that they have a step-by-step process their companies can follow when they have to make a decision whether to call the CPSC or any government regulatory agency if they have to do a recall. “Having that process in place is absolutely important,” she said. “People talk about the fear and anxiety around having to report to a government agency, but when you have a process it puts the fear and anxiety aside and it allows you to go through the steps of the process.”
The entire article can be viewed here