Ikea Meatballs, an example on how to face always problems from a quality point of view.

As a member of the IKEA FAMILY card, I received yesterday an email from IKEA with information about the status of the problem originared in the meatballs with horse meat and their solution. Just for your information, if you still do not know about it, it was detected horse meat in the popular pork and veil meatballs from IKEA, not intended to be part of it. This was along a major scale detection of horse meat in other european consumer products.

I wat to thank IKEA for the email firstly, It needs to be said that IKEA shares as a company the strongest nordics values which are transparency and facing directly the problems, assuming responsability and informing customers. All of this is a strong asset in any company. Again, congratulations ! Other companies would hide the solution since time has passed and consumers might not even remember the issue. But in these cases corporate image gains from the informational response facing problems and taking them seriously.

Looking at the spanish website for further information I found that IKEA openly reports possibly affected deffective products including their traceability (if you want details on traceabilty see my post in this blog) and replaces products. This is typically common in automotive (remember Toyota pedals recall?) but not so much in small consumer products. Specially when the note from Ikea finished with the “safety first” remark. Well done again IKEA !!

Just let me as a quality person, Review and Analyse the response from IKEA to this quality issue. Let’s annalyse IKEA reaction to the problem. At the time that the problem was detected IKEA removed from the market the famous meatballs, very well done again, a good Recall, safety first. So as a quality rule in case of any possibly affected problem block all the stock and put it to quarentene , well done!

The email mentions that IKEA started a problem solving analysis with its swedish supplier with support of an external Quality consultant company. Very well done again, Quality matters, give it importance, get support if you need it for evaluating the risks. These are key points in quality. This is the “grasp the situation part”.

Now Comes my favourite part, the action plan:

– IKEA has simplified the supply chain reducing the number of suppliers (my interpretation is in order to avoid complicated flows and control quality and traceability of a so important product). – Increase quality controls at the supplier, adding control of ADN to raw material and finished product (I undersand here product audit, incoming inspection and finished goods inspections. My opinion is that they probably do a quality control for every lot and they would probably do a Quality wall, but that’s not written in the email). Here I need more information as a customer to give me full confidence of reliability of the product.

– Improve Traceability standards throughout all the supply chain of meat products (refer again to my post on traceability in this blog). Well done!

– Increase Regular audits to suppliers or even subsuppliers (Deffinitely best way to validate actions is auditing). Obviously, I understand that in such a big Issue there are more Quality actions behind, or details of the ones give more specific one level below, and I want to think that they thought not interesting to final customers to know, and they are avalaible upon request. But this is my opinion.

Finally as a social corporate responsability IKEA informs me that they are considering the best sustainable ofption for the meatballs already taken out of he market, but not yet decided. Good consideration !! (This is also an example on how a problem well driven can lead even for a better image of the company).

I miss though the communication letter to be signed by a QA Manager or even from a higher position in he company to give it more consistency. Also as a consumer I miss the root cause explanation, where the origin of the problem was created. And afterwards as I consumer I can choose if IKEA response gives me confidence and I keep on buying meatballs or not. Always think about consumers like my autotive customers, they need to have the information and afterwards the freedom of choice with that information. Anyway, Thanks IKEA for putting things on the table !!! I am now even More fan of your corporate values !! 20130327-095947.jpg

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