ISO 9001 quality management system is the key to reducing product recalls

Product recalls, customer complaints and negative reviews damage brand revenue and sales. There have already been more than 300 product recalls in Australia this year.

Most recalls are usually a result of non-conformance with product statutory and regulatory requirements – such as correct labelling – which can present a safety risk.

SAI Global is a trusted international leader in global compliance and risk management solutions through its standards, assurance and training offerings.

SAI Global urges deploying ISO 9001

SAI Global urges brands, manufacturers and businesses in the supply chain to improve quality processes and minimise recalls and complaints through ISO 9001 quality management system.

ACCC research suggests only about half of buyers return the products to retailers and Australia sees around two fatalities every day as a result of unsafe consumer products.

Saeid Nikdel is SAI Global’s spokesperson and quality management expert.

He says that Australian businesses along the supply chain, like manufacturers of medical, food and essential products can minimise recalls through a quality management system.

The ISO 9001 quality management system guides them to investigate and analyse defects, improve quality, prevent defects and reduce supply chain variation.

“The success of an organisation depends on the quality of its products and services.”

“Quality drives customer satisfaction and loyalty, and helps businesses gain a positive reputation and an advantage over competitors,” Saeid Nikdel says.

“Consumers are seeking opinions and reviews of other customers before buying goods and services, increasing the importance of quality assurance for manufacturers and brands.”

“Safer products reduce product recalls and increases customer satisfaction. The ISO 9001 quality management system ensures products meet statutory and regulatory requirements.”

Supplying products that do not adhere to Australian standards or making false claims about products can fetch fines up to $500,000 for individuals and $10m for a body corporate.

If a business is found to be manufacturing and selling non-compliant or unsafe products, it will be required to recall those products and reimburse customers too.

The reputational damage after such a product recall can be hard to recover from.

“On a business level, the management system could help to improve brand reputation.”

“On an operational level, it guides the business to investigate and identity the causes of quality problems and implement corrective actions to prevent recurrences and reduce recall risks.

Organisations serious about quality need to consider the processes required to develop a high-quality product or service as well as the various factors that can impact quality.

It’s wise to implement not just a quality management system but an integrated management system that holistically ensures that the business is functioning to a high standard.

From health and safety to information security, environmental responsibility and quality.

Saeid Nikdel says, “An integrated management system isn’t just about risk management.”

“It affects all aspects of a business function and helps businesses gain insights, streamline processes, determine the need for new products, develop them and bring them to market, reduce waste, introduce new technologies to increase efficiencies, and identify customers.”

Standards are important tools that help Australian businesses to operate safely, legally and productively. Increasingly, businesses are choosing to ensure their own compliance with Australian standards to garner greater trust with consumers.

In November 2020, Amazon signed a new e-product safety pledge launched by the ACCC.

Under the pledge, online business intermediaries between multiple sellers check the Product Safety Australia website for product recalls to ensure they are not selling unsafe products.

They also undertake steps to remove any products deemed unsafe within two business days.

SAI Global explains ISO 9001 framework

The ISO 9001 Quality Management system provides a framework and outlines steps that businesses could follow to improve product quality which include the following.

  • Determine the inputs – what’s required to implement the planned processes – and the outputs – what customers expect – of the processes.
  • Decide the sequence and interaction of processes.
  • Determine and implement criteria and methods (including monitoring, measurements and related performance indicators) needed to ensure the effective operation of the processes
  • Determine what resources are needed to carry out the decided processes.
  • Assign responsibilities for the organisation’s processes established in documented information, including operational policies, job descriptions and documented procedures.
  • Address risks and opportunities.
  • Evaluate the processes and implement changes as needed.

The benefits for businesses that implement an ISO 9001

  • Improve the ability to respond to statutory and regulatory issues, such as product nonconformities or product recalls.
  • Reduce the overall costs of reworks, materials waste, and machineries and equipment maintenance.
  • Reduce downtime and the costs of disruption to operations and project delays.
  • Improve product quality and liability, service delivery, and customer satisfaction.
  • Improve profitability through process improvement and on assets management.
  • Recognition for having achieved an international benchmark.