June 22, 2015 | Chris Vallee

Product Safety Recall…… one of the few times that I see Quality and Safety Merge

We can all remember some type of major product recall that affected us in the past (tires, brakes, medicine, etc.) or recalls that may be impacting us today (air bags). These recalls all have a major theme—a company made something and somebody got hurt or worse. This is a theme of “them versus those” perception.

Stop and ask, When is the last time quality and safety were discussed as one topic in your current company’s operations?

You received a defective tool or product …

  1. You issued a defective tool or product …
  2. A customer complained …
  3. A customer was hurt …

Each of the occurrences above often triggers an owner for each type of problem:

  1. The supplier …
  2. The vendor …
  3. The contractor …
  4. The manufacturer …
  5. The end user …

We can stop and ask, Who would investigate each type of problem? What tools would each group use to investigate? What are their expertise and experiences in investigation, evidence collection, root cause analysis, corrective action development, or corrective action implementation?

This is where we create our own internal silos for problem solving; each problem often has its own department as listed in the company’s organizational chart:

  1. Customer Service (Quality)
  2. Manufacturing (Quality or Engineering)
  3. Supplier Management (Supply or Quality)
  4. EHS (Safety)
  5. Risk (Quality)
  6. Compliance (?)

The investigations then take the shape of the tools and experiences of those departments training and experiences.

Does anyone else see a problem or an opportunity here?

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