Manufacturing safe products is a primary goal and responsibility for all consumer product manufacturers. At every stage along the manufacturing process, there are factors that influence product safety and the associated liability. More and more, manufacturers are being held liable for risks both higher and lower on the supply chain. By following best practices throughout a product’s life cycle, you can improve product safety and help manage these evolving risks.
It’s important to examine your product safety practices during pre-production, production and post-production. While best practices are both comprehensive and product-specific, the following are some important considerations for each phase.
- Ensure compliance:Identify all codes and standards that apply to your product. Ensure that your product will comply with these standards.
- Employ a Risk Transfer Program: A Risk Transfer Program will help your business avoid financial vulnerability to product liability claims caused or contributed to by others.
- Contract management: When partnering with vendors, ensure that contract provisions and agreements are thorough and properly worded.
- Provide proper training: Train all employees on safety, regulatory guidelines, and proper procedures regarding your product. Employees should know how to identify defects, how to correct issues, and who to alert when a defect is detected.
- Manage outsourcing: Even if an outsourced part or component of your product fails and or causes harm, you may be liable for the outcome. If any parts or components are outsourced, conduct proper inspections to ensure that they meet safety and quality standards.
- Maintain proper documentation: Keep accurate and complete records of all inspections and product testing. Keeping good records will not only allow you to track the life of a product, but will also help if litigation ever arises.
- Ongoing testing: Once your product reaches consumers, conduct ongoing testing to ensure performance and identify any potential defects.
Manufacturers know that product safety presents a major liability risk for their businesses. At Marsh & McLennan Agency, we address that risk through detailed and thorough analysis. We analyze every step of the product life cycle and provide tailored solutions to reduce your risks.
You’ve worked hard to bring great products to the market, so consider a review of your checks and balances to close any potential gaps. To learn more about how we help manufacturers manage their risk, click here.