You have created great products and invested millions of dollars to support your sales efforts. The only thing your customers know about you is that you don’t know what you are doing. You have repeatedly withdrawn or recalled the product(s) you sold to them because what is labeled on the package in some way is not in the package.
Your insurance costs keep going up. The damage to your Brand Goodwill and partner relationships is causing fewer reorder or no new orders. You now keep a law firm on retainer to manage the legal actions due to customer illnesses and deaths. The costs due to withdrawals/recalls, replace or even rework the product is destroying your net profits.
To the customer, a mislabeled product is a failure with one cause and that would be you. What you are seeing is a many-headed hydra of root causes due to failures in the factory, headquarters, and various external partners. You feel like you are playing “whack a mole” all day and not very well.
The usual suspects after the event(s) are identified then either retrained or dismissed, then life goes on until the next event. What is missing in the process, is an understanding that label compliance is not a simple task of just placing a label on a container. The assurance that the right label is on the right product is an organizational dance that involves many many partners, more like a square dance than a waltz.
Each person, department, or supplier must be in constant motion with each other to deliver the expected next step.
So, who are your dance partners? Ingredient suppliers, packaging suppliers aka label printers, label developers who assure that visually there is enough difference between labels to make it obvious to production personnel the wrong label is present, product developers who create the finished goods and perhaps the ingredient statement, internal or external laboratories who provide nutrient statement, food safety who verifies that allergens are clearly identified on the labels based upon the supplier documentation, government regulations who verify the label contents and the label printer’s label proofs, quality assurance who assure that the supporting documents are in place for any credence claims, supply chain personnel who assure that the ingredient statements provided by the supplier are actually what is made at the supplier in addition to assuring that the label printers have anti mixing control procedures in place to avoid mixing of labels in bundles or boxes, procurement who purchase the labels against the SKU number, specification personnel who assure that the SKU number matches the specification number and version, receiving personnel who assure that the ingredient statement on the ingredient matches the specification upon receipt, the factory label control personnel that assures the correct label and version is in the correct slot in the warehouse, the production scheduler that notifies the team which product will be made on which line, personnel responsible for delivering the correct label to the correct line, the operator assuring that the line is clear of any product, the label operator that assures the correct label is placed in the magazine, the bar code scanner is set up correctly and any labels from the previous run are removed from the line, the person responsible for label control has returned any unused labels back to the correct warehouse slot in correctly labelled sealed boxes,
We have all of our dance partners on the floor now, so let’s “Do-Si-Do” and start dancing! What could go wrong?
Let’s change the song repeatedly during a dance (unscheduled product change). Let’s change dance partners (ingredient suppliers). Let’s change dance partners temporarily (vacation coverage for personnel responsible for label control in the factory). Let’s not have someone checking to assure that the dance team is all wearing the correct dance clothes (no barcode scanners).
How do you keep in step?
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