Enormous corporations are not immune. Take the continuing saga of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7. Instances of the device catching fire caused the company to recall millions of devices, then suspend production of replacements.
The product recall is the bane of any food manufacturers. Never is a supply chain more clearly highlighted than when there is an issue with a certain batch of food products at an ingredient supplier, that goes on to affect multiple products further down the line.
Kevin Pollack, vice president of recall with Stericycle ExpertSolutions, described to the Supply Chain Brain Podcast how the discovery of Listeria in a batch of sunflower seeds affected “more than 100 different brands or manufacturers”.
“One manufacturer whose product is used across other products being produced” he explains, “can affect a very large sphere within the supply chain.”
For food manufacturers that are just starting out, a serious recall could paralyse their whole business. Even if their own safety standards are up to scratch, an issue further back in the supply chain can still trip them up.
Aside from choosing suppliers carefully, having a robust inventory system that offers high levels of traceability can be a powerful tool for reacting to a recall situation quickly and minimising the cost.
Using spreadsheets to track food inventory that sells on any sort of scale is clearly a big vulnerability. Feverishly searching a spreadsheet when a recall is required is not going to be acceptable to your customers or potentially even the law.
Assigning batch numbers to food products from your suppliers and products that you manufacture can go a long way to reduce the cost of recalls. If you can determine which infected batches need to be recalled, it could be that you can still leave some unaffected product on shelves, saving face and possibly your business.
Using a product like Cin7 that can accurately track batch numbers, and trace batches from the point of purchase through to the customer is essential for any food wholesaler with ambitions to grow and be a responsible part of the supply chain.
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