Friday, October 21, 2011

Tracking Product Recalls

I had a very humbling experience earlier this year when I realized that some of the cribs in my program were recalled last year and I didn't know about it until months later. Since that time, I have instituted a couple of measures to make sure that we stay more on top of product recalls. Some of the measures that we now take are:
  • Ensuring that the staff member with purchasing responsibility completes (and mails) all product registration cards.
  • Signing up for emailed recall notifications from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
But...I know that I still don't have a good system in place yet. I've been brainstorming this for some time now, but just don't have a good solution.

I have thought of a "hard-copy" system, such as keeping receipts, purchase logs, etc. in a binder. But how do you organize that binder; alphabetical by product, alphabetical by company, according to the product's category, etc.? Then, I suppose you would have a staff member assigned to check that binder on a monthly basis or so and compare your products to the online list. Of course, one of the questions then is, how much detail do you go into on your purchases? Do I really need to track purchases of markers and crayons? But, if I don't, Murphy's Law dictates that one of the sets of markers I purchase will be recalled.

It seems like the only manageable system would be some sort of automated system. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could, maybe, scan UPC codes on the products we purchase and have them automatically entered into our program database with product name, purchase date, etc.? Then, we could link that database to the CPSC database so that when one of our products is recalled, we are automatically notified. I suppose that's my ideal world. But, since something as simple as this newsletter tests my "tech skills", I don't think I will be the one developing that system.

So, this week, I'm asking for your input. How do you track product recalls? Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas.

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