Only 1 month ago, I wrote about Carlsberg having to do a product recall for dodgy bottles and how they had a system to trace the batch numbers, making the recall specific and fairly painless operationally.
Well, InBev are now having to do their own product recall of Stella Artois due to shards of glass being found in certain batches of bottles.
In Kazakhstan in 2003, I visited the Philip Morris factory and they were making 60 million Marlboro lights per day. Nestlé make more than 10 million Kit-Kats worldwide each day. The point is that every manufacturer with such gigantic volumes, spend millions each year to build and prevent brand damage through negative press from product recall blips that pop up as isolated cases.
This traceability from field to fork is critical for food, beverage and pharaceutical manufacturers, knowing exactly which batches were made up of what product, so that when or if something goes wrong, this can be quickly resolved.
Many manufacturers still do not have these product life cycle traceability systems in place, hoping that they will not be the one who has to make a product recall. Dangerous, as these two cases prove, that even when you have the best systems, you can not prevent problems happening, but you certainly can cure them rapidly.
Don't be one of those companies that spends years building up your brand and have it destroyed overnight by a product recall without a plan.
Author: Jonathan Bellwood