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Mattel and the Toy Recalls Essay Sample

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Mattel and the Toy Recalls Essay Sample

The toy industry is estimated to be a 71 billion dollar market in 2007 (pg.167) with approximately 880 competitive companies with its clear industry leaders. Mattel being number one toy making company in the world has been faced with several conflicts due to the industries strict jurisdiction under the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It is necessary for toy companies to have great control over the safety features of the their products as the users are small children who are not yet capable of making educated decisions when it comes to safety and play time. Stern laws and regulations enforced by the CPSC state very specific guidelines, in this case it would be the lead content in product available to children to be less than 600 parts per million (pg.170). Mattel’s problems began when their supply line became greater and greater within China. As the list of suppliers and vendors grew, Mattel’s ability to control the working environment and the quality of their product became a lot harder and sometimes impossible.

The inability to trace back the company Dongguan from which Lee Der (one of Mattel’s principle vendors) purchased the paint revealing too much lead was a major problem. Dongguan Zhongxin Toner Powder Company was reported to be fake (pg.175), harming the confidence of consumers in Mattel’s credibility. Mettal has been an industry leader for over 60 years and has proven itself to be a good corporate citizen with its Global Manufacturing Principles and Mattel’s Children Foundation. The company has gained and continued to build consumer trust and a positive image in the toy market, and therefore a recall was necessary procedure in the nature of the conflict in regards to the lead content. Undeniably the core problem of the issue was the long supply chain and the difference in cultural profiles of Mattel versus its supplying vendors in China. Although Mattel as well as it Chinese suppliers have a weak uncertainty avoidance they do differ though power distance. Mattel’s organization has many managers for its several different segments and by having the power distributed evenly they are capable of producing a more consistent performance.

In china the power distance is very high, separating a definite authority figure from the work force, causing difficulties in the span of control. In response to the surface paint issue Mattel needs to shorten its supply chains in order to enhance its product quality. Permanently transferring its own managers to work overseas and oversee the production of the product along with the managers of the supplier companies could result in lesser power distance and greater control. Mattel could also invest in localization of its home factories in China where they could still achieve economies of scale by taking advantage of the cheap labour but at the same time liquidate some of its vendors shortening the supply chain. In regards to the recall, Mattel cannot ignore the research department and must take action to the hazardous nature of the lead content in its products. The company should take a proactive approach to consumer complaints and quickly enforce the recall after the data has proven the excess lead in the released toys.

Toys to be recalled are the small toy figures from children’s favourite TV shows produced by the Lee Der manufacturing company. The notification should be posted within the stores that carried the above product and streaming should be avoided in major media content such as kid’s magazines or commercials. Having the message posted at the place of purchase will assure that the recall has taken place and the unsafe merchandise has been removed from the stores and is no longer available for sale. The notice should include the customer’s right to return or exchange their product at the location of purchase with full reimbursement. Although as mentioned above the recall should not be loudly published as it will further damage the confidence of Mattel’s consumers.

Having a flashy message all over the media could sink in too deeply for the consumers. In addition to the recall of the products produced between April 19, 2007 and July 6, 2007, Mattel should also invest to further research on other products produced by the same company during different time frames. By persistently researching the core of its problem and providing its consumers with comforting facts that none of the other products have been affected by the issue, Mattel could gain some of its trustworthiness back. Further Mattel should trace back though it’s numerous suppliers and see if any of the other manufacturing plants have done business with the untraceable Dongguan Company. If so, the products should also be tasted and appropriate actions taken based on the results.

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