In late 2006, Elkhart, Ind.-based Dometic Corp. faced a potentially crippling problem: the recall of 900,000 refrigerators made for the recreational vehicle industry.
As reported by the Indianapolis Star, it was a serious situation: potential chemical leaks in the cooling units of the refrigerators could end up causing fires.
However, the manufacturer had no experience with product recalls, and it didn’t have the resources to handle it. So, Dometic contacted Stericycle, an Illinois-based medical waste management company whose Indianapolis division specializes in turnkey recall-management services.
“There’s no way that we could have had as much success meeting consumers’ needs if we hadn’t worked with Stericycle,” said Nick Johnson, Dometic’s head of marketing and communications.
Dometic isn’t the only manufacturer to rely on Stericycle’s recall-management expertise.
The company’s returns management services division has expanded its Indianapolis headquarters to serve increased demand.
The Stericycle division now employs about 500 people in Indianapolis, but it hires as many as 300 temporary workers during major recall events. The recently expanded call center, opened last fall, can accommodate up to 350 workers.
In 2007, Stericycle handled 150 voluntary product withdrawals or federally mandated recalls of consumer, pharmaceutical and medical device products.
“There has been an uptick in consumer-based recalls in the last couple of years,” said Chris Bosler, Stericycle’s vice president of marketing and business development. “There’s market growth, and we do get a larger share than we’ve gotten previously.”
Founded in 1989 to handle medical waste management, Stericycle entered the recall management sector in the spring of 2006, when it acquired Indianapolis-based NNC Group. The division’s revenue quadrupled from $19.3 million in fiscal year 2006 to $83.3 million in fiscal year 2007.
For Dometic’s recall, Stericycle hired temporary workers to help manage the notification process, field calls in its call center, and coordinate installation of the refrigerator-repair kits.
Stericycle also can pull recalled products from store shelves, count and store recalled products, and destroy such products if necessary. It even holds mock product recalls to help clients prepare for an actual event.
“We can quickly and very accurately handle all aspects of the recall, and we can truly help (clients) protect their brand and protect their company,” Bosler said. “As we become more of a full-service provider, people are coming to us more and more and to handle larger events.”