Magnet Mishap, Toxic Lead Paint: What is Matel’s Future and How Does this Affect You and the Home Industry?

Posted by Steve Kleber on Aug 17, 2007

We’ve all heard about the Mattel recalls…15 million products, since the year 2000, have been recalled by the largest U.S. toymaker; 9.5 million of those on Tuesday.

And what does the nation want to know?

Why weren’t the toys tested before being distributed to consumers? Why only now is Mattel employing “rigorous standards?”. How does such vast product malfunctions bypass a company that maintains a staff of 25,000?

The questions that remain: where is the internal quality control? And what will happen to the most trusted toymaker’s reputation?

Where are the standards?
The manager of the Chinese warehouse that produced one of Mattel’s latest recalls hanged himself on August 2. Although Mattel is quick to blame the Chinese, is the overseas manufacturing powerhouse really worthy of all the blame?

Nancy Nord of the Consumer Product Safety Commission says that in regards to the magnet recalls  “they’ve been warning about these magnets for over a year.”

The effects on manufacturing in the home?
After the recent events in several sectors of manufacturing that have affected our food, pets, and now our children, consumers everywhere are terrified of the infamous “Made in China” stamp. As manufacturers of home-related products, many of you partner with China for your own manufacturing supplies. Are you practicing diligent quality control here in the U.S. even when your products are manufactured elsewhere? American consumers expect their manufacturers to protect them from the kind of quality and potentially life-threatening disaster that Mattel has become engrossed in. How do we keep the public trust and make a profit?

Quality control is problem solving
Bottom line — vendors and suppliers must adhere to strict corporate guidelines, but the buck stops at the parent company that is ultimately responsible for what they market. All manufactured goods should be rigorously tested, not just those made in China; and they should be tested in the U.S. by U.S. inspectors. 

If you do find a problem, act quickly, efficiently and intelligently. If the issue requires or acquires media attention, be honest. This is not the time to cover up the truth.

Take a humanistic approach, just as Bob Eckert, CEO of Mattel, is doing, whether the number of those affected is small or staggering.

Think about how your customers feel. As a marketing guy, I’d hope Mattel could bounce back from this disaster; as a father of two, I’ll hesitate before buying any of its products in the near future.

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This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Friday, August 17th, 2007 at 8:15 am and is filed under Advertising, Brand Management, Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.