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What is the connection between silicone implants and business continuity? Although the story of the allegedly faulty PIP implants is not head line news at the moment there are some interesting business continuity lessons from it for all of us. For those who are not familiar with the story, a large number of cosmetic surgeons within Europe have been giving women silicone implants which are not of medical grade silicone which has lead to a debate whether they are more prone to rupturing and they may cause cancer.

There are two main lessons for me from this ongoing incident. Firstly if you purchase ‘faulty’ goods and you then pass them on to your customers the responsibility for dealing with the incident lies with your organisation. It was you who recommended the certain manufacture of implants and your organisation surgically put them into your customers. You can’t, as some in the cosmetic industry have done, is to blame the kite mark, the government and anyone else they can find for the error. The error was that of the cosmetic company and I believe the moral responsibility remains with the company for doing whatever is required to remedy the situation. This is also the UK governments view! Although it may cost cosmetic companies money in the short term to remove implants if customers request them, in the long term being responsible, looking after your customers and doing what is morally right is a better course of action and will be beneficial to the industry in the long term.

Secondly if you have an incident do you have good records of who your customers are? and do you have the means to contact them? If you have a small number of customers it may be easy to contact them by telephone to inform them of a faulty item or a product recall. If you sell to the public, do you know how to contact you customers to organise a product recall? Can you give your costumers information so that they can easily identify the product? Or do you have to endure the cost of recalling all your goods? So perhaps you should be thinking the following: if my organisation supplied a faulty product or a service to my customers do I have robust plans in place for recalling my product? or informing customers of a faulty service I have supplied to them?

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