Vince Shiers, MD of RQA Group, looks back on an odd year and what he is looking forward to this year
Well, I looked back at what I wrote in my brief review of 2019. One thing I stated was that I thought the number of product recalls may have peaked in 2019 and that there may be fewer in 2020. Well, this of course turned out to be true and in a very dramatic way. In fact, every month of 2020 we assessed the number of recalls compared to previous years and identified a clear “pandemic effect”. The number of recalls in 2020 were lower in the UK, US and Europe, but not in Australia. The most extreme case was the US FDA which reported only 25% of the recalls it reported in 2019. Click here for full year details on the product recall pandemic effect.
In the first few weeks and months of the pandemic, many of our clients around the world were busy handling the immediate impact of the virus. Understandably we were all in shock and crisis management was fully activated. When it became clear that the pandemic was going to last much longer than we all expected, it was time to move from “crisis mode” into a “new work mode”. In May I wrote an article on the importance of companies moving out of crisis mode and developing a new way of working. As I said at the time “Your business must go on. Put the short-term emergency measures behind you and start developing longer term practices”. Click here to read the article.
This year has also given us the chance to look for new service offerings to complement our traditional base of risk management and product recall in the food, consumer products and automotive components sectors. To this end we have significantly expanded our services to insurance companies where we now provide experts in product safety and risk management in sectors such as Upstream Energy, Lithium-ion battery manufacture, fire investigation and others. Watch this space as we expand into other risk management areas in 2021. Click here for more details on our services to insurers.
One of the things I think most of us have missed is the human interaction. Whether that is meeting friends and family or work colleagues and clients. I have managed a very small number of client meetings, in between the various lock downs. It has been strange not meeting up with clients, many of whom I have known for years. It has also been different for all at RQA, working with new clients that none of us have physically met. We will hopefully meet up soon. Surely at some time in 2021, much of this will go back to normal; although I think my days of 24 hour trips to the US or 2 day trips to Asia are in the past. Yes, that’s a good thing!
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Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and happy 2021
Vince Shiers Ph.D., CSci., FIFST
Managing Director, RQA Group
Our 2020 Articles
During the year, our consultants have written several articles to reflect current issues related to product recall and crisis management around the world. These topics are discussed internally in our editorial group and then written by specialists within our team. We hope that you have found them useful and informative: