Three major car manufacturing companies recently announced recalls for some of their products, and automakers and other companies that may be put in similar situations should use automated data collection software to expedite their efforts.
For car companies, recalls are an unfortunate but constant reality. Although the extent and frequency of a recall notice will determine the public response to the announcement, businesses need to do everything possible to ensure that faulty products are not being used on public streets. After all, more than 1 million vehicles are likely affected by three of the most recent recall notices:
- Toyota announced on June 5 that it was recalling 242,000 gas-electric hybrid cars worldwide due to a mechanical flaw in their braking system's design, Reuters reported. Of that total, 51,570 Prius vehicles and more than 5,000 Lexus hybrid cars are in the United States. This is not the first time Toyota has issued a recall due to braking problems with its hybrid vehicles, as approximately 433,000 had to be repaired in 2010 due to a similar concern.
- Ford announced a recall affecting 465,000 motor vehicles earlier this month, because a discovered fuel tank issue with these cars could lead to fires, according to The Associated Press. The recall notice, which affects six Ford branded vehicles and three Lincoln brands, affects multiple continents, but the bulk of the cars - 390,000 vehicles - are being operated in the United States.
- Due to defective airbags, General Motors may soon have to recall more than 400,000 Chevrolets and Buicks, the Los Angeles Times reported. The issue with these cars is that a design fault could potentially cause a main airbag not to deploy properly in the event of an accident. There have been no reports of this flaw causing any harm yet, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still determining whether the cars need to be recalled. This has been a recurring issue for GM, as the automaker has recalled 6,800 cars since last October.
How Automated Data Collection Helps Automakers with Recalls
The recent issues faced by these three major car manufacturers highlights the many concerns companies face when dealing with a recall notice. In these instances in particular, getting affected vehicles off the road and into certified repair shops as quickly as possible is of utmost importance, especially considering the severity of the situation and what could happen if these cars are left on public streets for too long.
However, this is often far easier said than done. For starters, the increasingly global nature of the supply chain networks utilized by these major firms makes it increasingly difficult to keep tabs on all vehicles produced. A U.S.-based business may be able to effectively track supplies in North America, but this regional approach will not cut it today if its wares are sent out across the globe.
In addition, the fragmented nature of the car sales model complicates matters further. Automakers rely on independent dealerships to distribute vehicles, and keeping track of which cars were sent to and sold by each dealer is a complicated process. Lenny Kharitonov, president of Unlimited Furniture Group, told Enterprise Apps Today that the best approach companies can take to effectively manage their supply chains is to limit the number of outside vendors they work with. Unfortunately, this configuration cannot be utilized by today's car manufacturers.
To deal with these many issues, automakers should leverage automated data collection software. By having a state-of-the-art inventory management system in place, car companies can quickly and easily determine the final location of all of its vehicles and more rapidly ensure that any potential problem is dealt with accordingly. No business wants to think about a recall, but it is an unfortunate reality that most manufacturers and suppliers must take into account. Nevertheless, by being proactive and using data collection software, organizations can quickly address a recall notice to facilitate continued profitability.
"Consumers expect firms to stand behind the products they produce and sell," the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission stated in its March 2012 Recall Handbook. "Millions of products have been recalled over the years. Consumers believe they enjoy a safer, better product as a result of a recall conducted responsibly by company. How well a company conducts a timely, reasonable recall of a product can have a strong influence on consumers' attitude about the firm. Successful product recalls in the past have rewarded companies with continuing consumer support and demand for the firms' products."