Cynthia D. Marshall
April 16, 2012
Mattel started its business in 1945 and company was incorporated in 1947. Company became publicly held in 1960. In 2007, with turnover of $5.6 billion and net profit of $592 million, Mattel was global leader in design, manufacturing and marketing of toys. At that time, Mattel employed more than 30,000 employees and company was selling products in more than 150 countries. Mattel’s portfolio of toys include some of the best selling and most popular toys such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Radica, American Girl etc. Mattel was always considered as a responsible company. Mattel earned high reputation in the minds of ...view middle of the document...
The subcontractors also had to purchase paint from Mattel certified suppliers only.
In spite of taking several steps to ensure safety and quality of toys, Mattel failed to maintain quality and safety of its toys. In 2007, Mattel made five recalls of its toys. These recalls involved 21 million toys. Most of these toys were made in China. The toys were recalled for two problems:
1. Due to presence of lead paint in toys, this is dangerous for health. In USA, lead paints are not allowed in toys.
2. Due to poorly designed magnets. If these powerful magnets were swallowed by children, it could attract each other and cause potentially fatal intestinal.
Mattel blamed Chinese firms for these problems in toys. Repeated recalls of toys reduced consumer trust of Mattel toys as well as other toys produced in China. Mattel tried to reassure consumers saying they were working with CPSC and other regulatory bodies around the world to ensure quality of products. They also provided comprehensive list of recalled products on its website and opened a toll free no. to respond to consumer’s questions regarding safety of its toys. Mattel published full page ad in leading newspapers and assured consumers that they had rigorous procedures to enforce quality and safety.
Mattel tried to show that they were vigilant and they had rigorous procedures to ensure high quality and safety. Mattel was known for strict quality control and they were considered as a role model for maintaining safety and quality. They blamed Chinese firms for the problems. But as a matter of fact, Mattel did not act in a socially responsible and ethical manner with regard to the safety and quality of their toys. They continually failed to meet government regulations on safety of toys. There had been several instances of presence of lead in the paint used in manufacturing the toys.
The CPSC monitors the safety of 5,000 products, including toys and Suggests standards. Companies need to comply with the standard set by CSPC. The CPSC can also inspect, monitor, prosecute and fine. The key regulations of CSPC include -"companies must report a defect/recall within 24 hours of discovery". But on June 8th, 2007, first possible lead paint contamination was found in Mattel's toys. But Mattel failed to report this problem to CSPC within 24 hours. On 26th July, Mattel filed full recall report with CPSC. (Wisner, n.d.) But that was too late. Mattel delayed reporting of problem to CPSC by one and half month. Also, Mattel prematurely shifted blame to Chinese manufacturers. In my view, this denial tactic was unethical. The CEO of Mattel publicly apologized on TV and on its website. Mattel also offered compensation for the damage. But, had Mattel acted responsibly and implemented quality control procedures effectively, the recalls of the toys could be prevented. First of all, Mattel should have taken pain to ensure that the quality control procedures were followed. Mattel had outsourced the batch testing...