Deja vu 1982- well not entirely for Tylenol with FDA consent decree

The makers of Tylenol have a consent decree with FDA who will be additional supervisors at three of their plants for primarily following good manufacturing practices. No one has died but sort of brings back memories of the 1982 Tylenol crisis that had almost passed onto history in marketing classrooms.

This time the situation seems like generally out of control at many fronts in the production plant with unlabeled test tubes, ineffective trace back of consumer complaints and other systemic failures. McNeil a division of Johnson & Johnson has been great on the marketing side though,putting the customer first, and recalling whatever products had problems.

The back end of the distribution channel i.e. the factory end is a problem and sort of brings to the fore the need of organizations to constantly look at the market and consumer no matter where they work  from in the value chain. As soon as a consumer complaint is logged it needs to quickly get to quality control and be traced back to the shop floor and if applicable to suppliers and permanent fixes applied.

Clearly in the current McNeil case some real silos have been holding up communication between the distribution channel and manufacturing/quality control. While more news should emerge from the FDA oversight, it would not be surprising that some suppliers were not on the same page as far as what was going wrong in the market for McNeil. Why is this so common and how it can be corrected is a passion of this blog  so we will wait as  more information becomes available. In the meanwhile,the McNeil Marketing and Sales folks might want to spend a little more “bonding” time with production/quality control. Although it might seem like wasting time away from the market,it does pay off hugely.

The good news for McNeil and its customers is that things are not that bad  from a stock point of view and it’s likely that Tylenol and other brands will come out stronger from this challenge .

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