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The difference between recalling products and effective recall management

Joy Mookerji,

Vice President - Technology

Published: March 2, 2022

Despite their best efforts in product development and quality assurance, businesses must occasionally recall their products. From automotive and consumer products to food and medical devices, recalls are a reality of an increasingly demanding and competitive global marketplace. Ultimately, how recalls impact customer satisfaction and loyalty will depend on how well these recalls are managed.  

Trying to keep pace with growing consumer demand and expectations has made managing recalls an even bigger challenge today. Recalls cost the food industry billions annually. A 2019 Time Magazine article showed US food recalls increased by 10% between 2013 and 2018. Class I recalls of meat and poultry rose by 83% during the same time. 

The auto industry also recorded the highest number of recalls in the US in 2018, with 341 light-vehicle recall safety campaigns and 28 million vehicles affected. According to Medical Device + Diagnostic Industry (MD+DI) online, “the number of medical device recalls issued during the first half of 2021 is higher than the number of recalls issued during the first half of each of the previous five years.”

Recalling a product is a complicated process. Customers, employees, suppliers, distributors, and stakeholders throughout the business ecosystem are all affected. Making matters worse, manual recall processes and siloed data structures prevent businesses from gaining a holistic view of the customer experience or communicating effectively.  The good news is we’re living in an era of enabling cloud technologies that can transform recall management. More businesses are leveraging the cloud and investing in a connected recall experience to effectively manage the process and engage stakeholders at the right time with the right information. A process orchestration platform such as Pega with strong BPM, BRE, and case management capability puts customers at the center of recall campaigns to drive positive outcomes and sustain customer loyalty.

But the solution to effective recall management is as much about campaign processes and best practices as it is technology. These six steps can help streamline the recall process and ensure proactive and positive engagement with your customers.

High level process for recall management


The whole purpose of the investigation is to analyze the current recall process and understand the bottlenecks and the limitation of the same as – is my process siloed? Is there an end-to-end view of my recall process from reporting and analytics standpoint? Does it have a positive customer experience?

Manage the campaign

This step ensures the recall campaign is set up the way the recall should be done – for example, what data is needed for the recall? What channels will be used? Who are the personas for the campaign?

Execute the campaign

Use the correct media depending on the channel to execute the campaign.

Get metrics for the campaign

Did we reach all the customers/dealers we intended for this campaign? What was the response rate for the campaign? What were the total costs for the campaign and projected cost for the recall? Did we get a better CSAT score for this campaign?

With the right technology and methodology, you can transform reactive recall processes into proactive, customer-centric recall management.

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