Food manufacturers have to be constantly vigilant to ensure the safety of their consumers. When products spoil quickly or contaminants infect merchandise, it’s essential to implement a new inventory management and supply chain logistics solution.
Salmonella and listeria are primary concerns for modern grocery shoppers. CNN reported that CRF Frozen Foods expanded their voluntary recall of products in May 2016. So far, seven people in three states were hospitalized with listeria after consuming frozen items produced by the company. The recall began in April and it is performed in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It now includes 358 different frozen organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables sold under 42 unique brand names.
Incidents like this seem increasingly prevalent as news sources rush to inform consumers about any products that may be contaminated. An informed populace means companies must prioritize their own intelligence processes so they become aware of possible problems through data collection solutions before mistakes harm consumers and the brand’s reputation.
The Danger of Recalls
When major food recalls take place, consumers fearing for their safety are quick to assume the worst. This sense of brand distrust often extends far beyond the recall itself. A Tyco Security food defense report found that once consumers hear a product is recalled, 15 percent of them will never purchase that item again. Worse still, one in five of those people will stop buying any products made by the company performing the recall.
Besides the loss of sales and consumer loyalty, recalls also deal direct costs. On average, the process takes about $10 million to remove products from markets, study the supply chain and bring operations back to normal. When companies have to destroy products they depended on for a return on investment, it can be terrible blow even if public relations is handled well.
Costs extend beyond the company’s personal expenses. Food Quality and Safety said the U.S. spent $40 billion on food-related illness treatment and suggested it may be wiser for government organizations to focus on prevention in the future.
Visibility Aids Prevention
Keeping an eye out for signs of trouble means companies need a 360-degree view of their operations. Reliable Plant advised companies to start by creating a culture of caution. Employees and managers must recognize the importance of absolute quality, and companies need to invest in technology like convenient data collection solutions so warehouse management and supply chain workers have the resources they need to succeed.
Mobile data collection devices allow each employee in the supply chain to update movement and send information about possible causes for concern. It’s even more effective when all data collection equipment connects through a central information system. For example, if manufacturers use smart production machines that can monitor temperature or other important quality metrics, the results should be visible on mobile devices and in management offices.
The RFgen white paper “The Food Traceability Survival Guide” described how convenient data collection devices also help companies keep up with changing regulations. If food contamination continues to dominate the news, businesses shouldn’t be surprised to see increased scrutiny from federal overseers. When information systems work in tangent, any change to normal operations – whether spurred by government insistence or consumer concern – is easier to implement throughout operations.
Even if federal officials don’t call for increased product testing, it may be wise for businesses to allocate more time for quality control. Easy-to-use data collection devices allow employees to check results against standards in real time and any solution that saves time and effort will provide opportunities to invest in superior scrutiny.