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Two CEO's on two very different approaches to recalls - from the same cause.

Madam, you have a phone call from the CEO of our competitor, the Exec. Assistant said when the CEO answered her phone. Can I put him through?

That's unusual, she answered. But sure, put him through.

Hello, this is Bill. I believe we have a problem in common that I'd like to discuss.

Yes? Stevie answered, warily, suspecting some kind of suggestion for collusion.

Bill continued: It seems as if we have a sub-supplier in common, one with quality issues causing us to have to recall tens of thousands of vehicles. We're contemplating legal actions and I wonder how you intend to deal with it?

Oh that! Stevie replied. We've identified only 57 vehicles to recall. 43 of them on our home market and 14 abroad. That's no biggie.

57?!?! Bill almost shouted over the phone. We're recalling tens of thousands vehicles and you tell me you will recall just 57? How on earth can you be so confident in such an exact number of vehicles?

Well, Stevie said. I don't know your production process, but we're in full control of exactly which components go into which vehicle. So when the component manufacturer gave us their details of the faulty items, we knew exactly which vehicles they had been mounted in. We don't need to recall any extra vehicles to "be on the safe side". Not a single one.

Bill: You mean that you, and they, keep track of each individual, single component?

Not we, but isAuthentic does, Stevie responded. A system originally designed to identify counterfeit products. But we and our sub-suppliers use it also for components. They scan them as they leave their production line, give each of them an individual digital ID, supplements it with their production data and our data on what we will use it for.

As their components enter our production line, we scan them again. For two reasons actually: To make sure that it is the correct component for what we're currently producing and to keep track of which of our individual products it is actually mounted in.

The first purpose has dramatically reduced our level of rejects due to human error as well as the effort wasted on completing them. We nip errors in the bud, so to say.

The second purpose is the reason why I can tell you that we only need to recall 57 vehicles. We call it "making a surgical recall".

Stevie could hear Bill gasping.

She added Maybe you've noted our increased emphasis on quality in our branding, and our extension of warranties? This is how we can be so sure of supplying consistent top notch quality.

Check the media tomorrow. We're going to publish some details of the vehicles we recall, showing that we walk our talk on quality. We've already contacted all owners of those vehicles.

There was a heavy sigh from Bill. isAuthentic product authentication you said? By Blue Cromos? We turned them down. Didn't want to mess with the carefully optimised production lines.

Well, said Stevie. That mess was minimal. Much less than the mess of having to recall "tens of thousands of vehicles". Good luck with your recall. Thanks for calling.

Thanks for cheering me up, Bill said, and hung up.



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