What Businesses Can Learn From Past Recalls

Product recalls hit small and large businesses alike. In a 12-month period, there were 1,541 home products recalled, 1,267 child products, 889 toys, 846 sports and recreation products, and hundreds more in other categories.

Businesses can learn a lot from past recalls, and this means learning internally and externally.

Learning from Your Own Product Recalls

Businesses can learn from their own recalls. When a recall happens, there’s a lot that goes into the process:

  • Understanding where the fault happened
  • Forging new procedures and policies to lower the risk of a recall
  • Alerting consumers of the recall

Depending on the size of the recall, it can cost businesses millions or billions of dollars. Businesses that have a small-scale recall can learn how to properly manage recalls, how to alert consumers of the recall, understand what faults led to the recall, and ultimately, how to better protect against recalls in the future.

Learning from Other Companies’ Product Recalls

Small and large businesses can learn from the recalls of conglomerates. A lot of recalls have made headlines in recent years, including Honda, Toyota and Blue Bell.

Both of these companies did a lot of good and bad during their recalls.

Howard Ankin also notes that Guymon Extracts recalled their fully cooked pork products because of a processing issue.

What can we learn from these past mistakes?

Aggressive Growth is Risky

Toyota is a prime example of aggressive growth being too risky and even unmanageable. Toyota pushed to replace General Motors as the world’s leading auto manufacturer, and this led to:

  • Quality decline
  • Product recalls
  • Recalling more products than it sold

Toyota’s push for growth pushed the limits of the company’s quality control, leading to the company recalling more vehicles in 2005 than it sold. Eventually, the failure to maintain quality control led to large publications no longer recommending Toyota vehicles.

Respond Quickly

Blue Bell found that there was an issue with their product, and the company responded slower than a lot of people had hoped. The company recalled products in March 13, 2015, but the recall was limited.

Positive tests for listeria resulted in the company recalling all of its products a month later.

Recalls need to be swift, and the faster action is taken, the less risk of a brand’s image being tarnished. Toyota wasn’t sure as to why their vehicles started accelerating improperly, but they recalled their vehicles, which at least warned about the potential problem.

Go the Extra Mile

Honda, along with many other manufacturers, have been going through an intense recall related to their airbags. A third-party issue from Takata caused the problem, and Honda and other manufacturers have sent out countless notices to vehicle owners.

Honda is going the extra mile, dispatching a team to knock on affected owners’ doors to have their airbags replaced.

This is going beyond the call of duty, and it shows consumers that the company is willing to go above and beyond their responsibility to ensure that their consumers are safe.

Companies that are willing to go the extra mile for recalls are ones that come out of the recall with their brand untarnished.

Adam Richards

About Adam Richards

Adam Richards is a semi-retired business professional originally from Bangor, Maine. He spent the majority of his career in sales and marketing where he rose to the marketing lead of a Fortune 1000 company. He then moved on to helping people as a career counselor that specifically helped bring families to self-sufficiency through finding them rewarding careers. He has now returned to Bangor for his retirement and spends his free time writing. This blog will be about everything he learned throughout his career. He'll write on career, workplace, education and technology issues as well as on trends, changes, and advice for the Maine job market and its employers.