ArrowStream Foodservice Blog

How to Successfully Manage and Prevent a Food Quality Recall

Posted by Kate Hubbard on Sep 24, 2020 7:00:00 AM

A strong food quality and safety program is more critical to a brand’s success than ever before.

Find out how to manage and prevent a food quality recall.

Food Factory employees practicing food quality safety measures

A strong food quality and safety program includes being able to react quickly when an issue arises to ensure customer safety and implement processes to help prevent issues from happening.

Do you know the best practices that corporate procurement and quality assurance teams can take to resolve a food issue within the supply chain? 

Find out how to prevent future issues and mitigate existing ones with these three best practices. 

Managing a Food Quality Recall in 2020

Finding yourself in this position can be frightening and overwhelming, and you may not know where to start to resolve the issue. ArrowStream’s 20 years in the foodservice industry has helped to develop a tried-and-tested internal process that our customers utilize regularly, no matter the level of impact. 

While using a quality management technology solution such as ArrowStream improves reaction time, communication and collaboration across stores and supply chain partners. This article will address those manual steps necessary for those corporate teams without such technologies. 

When a recall occurs, the following internal steps are best practices to adopt:

1. Communicate with your stores

Whether or not you use a quality management supply chain technology, corporate procurement and quality assurance teams should notify all stores of the recall or issue as soon as possible. 

A quick way to do this is to use email and BCC the necessary contacts (having an email list ready would increase the rate at which you can communicate). Depending on the issue at hand, you’ll want to include details such as the lot code, which supplier the product originated from, and the severity of the impact.

By addressing the incident proactively and hearing about this from corporate foodservice supply chain teams, you can manage the situation in real-time and spring into action quicker. 

2. Document quality incident details and provide direction

If your corporate foodservice supply chain team uses quality incident management systems, ensure that your corporate team gathers the following details about the product recall:

    • The distribution centers (DCs) that have the product in-house 
    • The stores that received a delivery of the product 
    • The date the product was delivered to each store
    • The quantity of cases each store has on-hand
    • Pictures of the product in the stores
    • Invoice numbers
    • Lot codes
    • Additional related information

After obtaining all the details from each store, the corporate supply chain team should provide direction to the stores on what to do with the recalled product, from destroying it and providing proof, or holding it to the side to be returned to the DC. 

Additionally, it’s essential to facilitate the recall with the DCs and suppliers and provide them all the details sent from the stores.

If you’re using the ArrowStream platform to manage product recalls, you can save significant time during this step. After asking the stores to enter the issue into the system to account for all the products, ArrowStream’s platform will guide the store user through the input process and collect all necessary information. 

Store users are also able to categorize issue types, which helps prioritize and flag more critical issues after it’s automatically sent to the responsible supply chain partners and provides more thorough reporting for analysis.

In a recall instance, ArrowStream users should select Recall as the issue type. The corporate team would then just need to ensure they provide direction on what the stores should do with the recalled product. 

3. Communicate and resolve the issue with supply chain partners 

Once the stores have submitted the product’s required details into ArrowStream, a workflow will automatically kick off to notify the responsible suppliers and distributors.

The automatic workflow consists of informing partners, ensuring they receive all the product and recall details, documenting responses and communication in one place, concluding accountability and tracking resolution in terms of a financial credit and or product replacement. 

For corporate teams not using quality management technology, you should identify the location of the product at both the DCs and stores, work with and ensure each store submitted the necessary details of the recalled product, work with the DCs and stores to destroy or return the product, and track credits and new shipments to the stores to replace the recalled product.

Food Quality Issue Prevention and Digital Transformation

Food quality issues will likely never be 100% unavoidable. However, there are a few best practices that a quality management technology like ArrowStream can provide to help prevent or minimize issues. 

In the process outlined in the first section, you understood how supply chain quality incident management platforms could significantly improve communication and collaboration with stores and supply chain partners. Communicating quickly and at once is critical, especially in a recall situation. 

Technology today allows for communication on a large scale and contains it within a single location, saving time when you need to move fast. It also automates tasks and provides a workflow that facilitates collaboration and fast resolution with your stores, suppliers and distributors.

Quality Incident Management on ArrowStream

When using ArrowStream, data is quantified and aggregated over time. Analyzing quality trend data can help restaurant chain operators catch overarching issues with a specific product or supplier before they spread. 

ArrowStream provides a visual scorecard allowing clear visibility into the performance of your operator’s products, suppliers and distributors. This data can be leveraged not only to drive partner accountability but also during the contracting and sourcing processes. 

If you see a quality trend where damaged cases are consistently being delivered to specific stores, you may consider addressing it directly with the partner at fault, or it may make more sense to change partners. Seeing a trend such as a damaged product is costing your business time, money and risking the safety of your customers if a spoiled product is served.

Bottom line, whether or not you use quality management technology as part of your food quality and safety program, it’s essential to have a process in place that allows you to communicate and collaborate quickly, and spot issues before they arise. 

About ArrowStream’s Quality Incident Management Solution

Restaurant chain operators rely on ArrowStream to track and resolve restaurant-level product quality and service incidents more efficiently and improve collaboration among their suppliers and distributors. Customers using our Quality Incident Management solution have seen a 50% reduction in the time it takes to track, follow and close quality events, and have improved credit recovery by 20%.

Learn more about ArrowStream’s Quality Incident Management Solution

Topics: Food Quality Control