Thursday, July 4, 2013
Essay on Mattel Inc. Toy Recall Case
Essay on Mattel Inc. Toy Recall Case
One of the biggest and most controversial business news that hit 2007 was the high-profile recall of Chinese-made toys by Mattel. Mattel is one of the largest toy manufacturing companies in the world. Last August of 2007, the U.S. based company announced the recall of more than nine million toys made from China due to the tiny magnets as well as lead paints. The recall includes the popular Barbie, “Cars” movie items, fisher-Price infant toys, and Polly Pockets among many others (Fox News 1).
According to the news, the recall was largely due to the small magnetic parts found in their toys. This resulted to the death of one child while four others who swallowed the magnets suffered serious intestinal perforations which required surgery. Similarly, several accounts reported that some of Mattel’s die-cast toys were painted with lead. Lead is a toxic material as it could cause serious conditions once ingested. According to investigations, the children’s toys which includes items from the movie “Cars” as well as Fisher Price toys such as Big Bird, Elmo, Thomas and Friends, and Dora the Explorer all contained lead. Reports suggest that the toys were found containing more than .06 percent of lead, making it a subject for recall (NBC News 1).
Based on the incident, the incident could have been avoided if only Mattel was strict in terms of their quality control. In fact, one of the main faults of the toy conglomerate was its negligence to include quality control in their Global Manufacturing Principles (GMP). The lead paint incident for instance could have been avoided by strictly monitoring the paint quality not just on the manufacturing plants but also to the paint suppliers. In addition to this, a firm regulatory procedure should have taken place in order to ensure that Mattel’s Chinese suppliers are operating under the company’s standard. Additionally, it is important for the regulatory agencies of the United States to enforce a strict safety standard that must be applied to items imported from other countries.
The incident will cause Mattel both ethical and legal problems as well as issues in terms of their public relations. According to the reports, only about 30 percent of the recall products actually made it to retail outlets. This means that the liability damages for the company is very minimal. However, the high-profile recall is a public relations nightmare for the organization. This is primarily because the recall could result to major long-term suspicions coming from the customers. Experts similarly suggest that the incident could cause a change in consumer perception.
Mattel’s relationship with their supplier is another aspect behind this incident. Understandably, the company is goes to developing countries such as China for low manufacturing cost. One of the dangers however of employing a distantly located supplier is the company’s inability to monitor the quality of the products as well as the process involved during manufacturing. Based on Mattel’s case however, it is evident how the company was negligent in checking and re-checking the materials used for their products. The excessive levels of lead paint could have been avoided by performing a strict quality check for the materials which will be used for the manufacturing process.
In summary, the case of Mattel is an incident that could have easily been mitigated and circumvented by applying a standard operating procedure in terms of their quality control. This includes checking the raw materials and the process involved in manufacturing as well as a strict quality control of all the items before shipping it to retailers.
“Mattel issues new massive China toy recall”. August 2007. NBC News. Retrieved 4 July 2013,
“Mattel recalls millions of toys”. August 2007. Fox News. Retrieved 4 July 2013 from