When bad things happen to good products: Can your ERP handle a product recall?

You care about the safety and wellbeing of your customers and have the utmost desire to cause them no harm. But product recalls happen to the best of companies. Failure to handle a recall successfully can have serious economic and legal consequences. The resulting damage to your company’s reputation can be long-term or permanent.

That’s why it’s more important than ever for manufacturers – especially FDA-regulated companies – to have effective recall management solutions in place. If your enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution lacks the capabilities to help you handle a recall, you are leaving your company open to unnecessary risk.

When a product recall becomes necessary, companies must be able to quickly and accurately:

  • Determine where all product inputs originated.
  • Determine where the products in question are and how to get them returned, from retailers, wholesalers, customers or transporters with product in transit.
  • Provide information – to customers, the general public, media and regulatory agencies governing your industry or product.

A critical ERP capability to support fast, accurate, documented product recalls is traceability. The question is, can your ERP help you identify who supplied, handled, transported, received, stored or bought each product lot, and can it do so with alacrity?

You need a lot tracking system that provides integration with your key business processes and systems, and enables forward and backward track and trace so you can determine the source of a problem to the lot level.

Integrated lot tracking capabilities cross key business functions like accounting, inventory, purchasing and sales. Comprehensive warehouse management functionality includes radio frequency identification (RFID), bar coding, scannable labels, quality management and electronic data interchange (EDI). Just as important, lot tracking provides the necessary accuracy and timely access to records to support compliance.

Advanced ERP solutions also help your employees respond effectively, with enforced workflows and controls that ensure the proper business processes are being followed in accordance with FDA or other regulations and standards. Full transparency into the recall process allows users to quickly notify the customers affected by the recall, track the status of a recall and confirm that 100% of the recalled product was pulled. Just as important, these systems provide complete, accurate documentation that your company precisely followed appropriate recall procedures.

An ERP solution with comprehensive recall management functionality positions your company to plan the recall process in advance. You can constantly measure and improve the recall process to help ensure rapid, accurate, and thorough response in the event of a recall.

You’ve spent a lot of time and money getting your company’s product into the market. No one wants to deal with a product recall, but an effective and well-managed response can mitigate liabilities and protect your company’s brand. With the right ERP in place, your company has a much better chance of surviving a product recall and turning crisis into opportunity.