It’s far better to be ready for a consumer product crisis than not…

Ask yourself, are you ready for a crisis with the consumer product you design, develop, manufacture, sell or represent? When you set up your company, did you ever consider being involved with an incident, complaint, injury or product recall? Are you vulnerable?

These questions are not on the government’s start-up checklist.There’s the expectation once you establish your company/brand/product you can simply make it and sell it.  If you’ve been in business for a while then you likely have some knowledge of the regulations and requirements to get your product to market.

  • Who is your first person to go to in the event of an incident?
  • Who knows how to handle the process?
  • Where do you go to first?
  • Do you know your responsibilities as a business owner or product representative?
  • Do you have a recall plan in place?
  • Do you have a team to confer and then manage through the process?
  • When was the last time you’ve checked in to see if it’s current or functioning?

If you don’t know…you should.   If it is ready to go, then kudos. You are one of the few who believe they are.

You need to similarly ask…has there been any change? Here I’m talking, a design improvement, change in materials, change with suppliers, change in a process, equipment/machinery and even change in personnel.  Any one of these could be a reason to have a disturbance in your process thus necessitate an audit and assess your readiness limiting your risk exposure.

Even more so, the blame game has exacerbated with the advent of digital technology. It is no longer the standard evening news thirty-second blip. It’s now Breaking News and in a matter of seconds it becomes a permanent form which is searchable for as long as we can foresee.

Don’t wait to call a lawyer or a government agency knocks on your doorstep.  Or worse yet, get tangled up in a digital media firestorm.

A consultant and expert can be one of your greatest resources.

As a final comment…our thoughts and prayers need to go out to all those affected by natural disasters.  They’ll need far more than these words will express. There’s the need to stay focused on their future and ours.

Evan Locke is Principal of RSC Global Solutions, LLC.  He has dedicated his career leading global consumer product brands in product quality, product safety and product integrity helping clients substantiate their consumer products comply with US and international regulations, retailer requirements, as well as many third-party certification and validation programs. He advises on product design, liability, risk, hazard evaluation, warnings and instructions and product recall management. He conducts training on safety compliance methodologies, strategies and best practices.

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