Interesting to watch football manufacturer Sherrin cope with the revelation about needles found in their Auskick footballs and the fact that some of its subcontractors in India were using child labour to stitch the footballs.
It emerged overnight that Sherrin was aware of the needle issue in May this year but said it didn’t go public because it believed no members of the public were involved. With that wonderful virtue called hindsight it might have been a better move to have gone public then and deal with the issue. Having said that, Sherrin seems to be doing all the right things now – recalling almost half a million balls at a cost of more than $1 million and has leased a new factory to gain “absolute control” over the football manufacturing process.
Fully aware that its lucrative contract with the AFL could be under threat, Sherrin has moved quickly now, placing a large advertisement in The Age today apologising for “the recent breach of our manufacturing code of ethics and safety standards”.
As part of our media training and crisis management services we always stress the need to be open and honest and to move quickly when faced with a crisis like this, no matter the cost. Sherrin now appears to be doing this – it’s just a pity it took the media to put the fire under them and cause the flurry of good activity. Much better from a crisis management perspective had they initiated it.