Cycling has been in mainstream media quite a bit lately with the doping scandal and investigation involving Lance Armstrong. In reading all of the reports about the USADA investigation and the quotes from all of the riders, I hope people are beginning to understand that cycling is a team sport. Often, someone who is unfamiliar with cycling will read about the rider who wins the Tour de France and take it at face value that it was the individual who won. Without the support of his team, lead riders would never reach the podium. It’s the team plan that helps ensure that every member plays his role and ensures that the team goal is achieved. The team plan goes well beyond the riding and training strategies all the way down to the physical, mental & medical preparation. Just like cycling, product safety is a team effort. It takes cooperation from every member of the organization to put the plan together and ensure that the best and safest product gets produced. Without the effort of the entire team, and a well document and laid out product safety plan, the product goal cannot be reached.
What happens if an adverse event prevents the designated rider from continuing the race? The team has a contingency plan that they immediately implement so they can quickly recover and return to focusing on the team goal. In product safety, we call this our Product Recall Plan, and as in cycling, it needs to be detailed, tested, and ready to go immediately if an adverse event happens with a product. Like the medical team that takes over and cares for the cyclist, the recall team members take over the focus on the product that needs to be recalled so that the team can continue to move forward. Sometimes this is an internal team, other times this is an external team. Don’t be afraid to call upon an experienced, well trained external team to help you with a recall. Product Recalls can become messy and time consuming. By letting an external team take over the care of the recall, your internal staff can reengage in the company focus and put your team on the podium.
Dan Hinkebein, Manager Recall Business Services