Mattel....at "fault"? Wow.

Talk about changing the discussion.

Actually, Mattel’s apology is aimed at those toys that were dropping magnets. That is due to design flaw. Mattel’s apology is not aimed at the excessive lead painted toys which is the suppliers’ fault for not following material spec. These are two different recalls.

However, the Chinese media focused on the apology and made it sound like Mattel is apologizing for all the recalls, which isn’t true.

I heard this over the weekend on the radio. I’m not surprised. A lot of the problems I’ve seen working were caused by importer negligence, rather than a Chinese supplier not following a design. It seems that the ease of manufacturing in China has caused some companies to assume they don’t need to do as much development work in terms of production. They leave decisions to their Chinese supplier. They take for granted that the factory will do QC work, or that their middle-man will find the same QC problems that the designers and engineers in the US, Canada or Europe would find. Opps, not so.

What I’m curious to see now, is how much press this gets. Since it runs counter conventional wisdom, I’ll bet the story is already dead and forgotten.

It definitely isn’t spelled out that way in the article. If that’s the case, then this is going to get uglier before it gets better.

Yes, from the Hong Kong side it was made out that Mattel was apologising for everything and not only to the manufacturers but the Chinese people as well. I have heard it was played out differently in the US media.

I have to disagree with this statement, at least in principle.

Without defending the supplier, (they have responsibilities too) with all the penny pinching and tiny margins in this industry, a paint operation might try to save some money on raw materials (paint), and if one is cheaper than another, which paint do you think they will go with? The decision to do so probably isn’t made by someone who knows what product the paint is ultimately used for and wouldn’t bother to check for lead, etc. They’re doing a good job by saving some cash.

Unless there is a compelling reason not to, Mattel is going to take the low bid and then try to squeeze a little more out of them using quantity over time as leverage.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of Mattel to insure that all suppliers are using materials that meet their spec. They should also be performing periodic comprehensive testing on finished products.

Gross simplification here, but I’m just trying to make a point that the responsibility is on the corporation making and selling the product in question.

Yes I do agree with that.

However, while Mattel gives the contract to someone to make the toys, that contractor is going to get subcontractors who can provide them with the best material pricing. In fact, from what I read, the toy factory owner who supplied those problematic toys committed suicide because he was betrayed by his friend, who supplied him with the paint.

Everyone in the chain is responsible. While we condemn the distributor for not doing their own QC, we also need to demand the upstream suppliers to do their part as well. We cannot simply pressure Mattel to pressure its own suppliers and say we’ve done our part, that is, if you really care about the public’s well being.



A quick look on Mattel’s press page. Here’s the official press release.

http://www.shareholder.com/mattel/downloads/09-21-07%20China%20Meeting%20Media%20Statement.pdf

" The magnet recall was a result of Mattel having adopted a new design standard for securing magnets in toys and retroactively applying that higher standard. To the extent that the Chinese were criticized for magnet-related recalls, Mattel apologized.

This runs the risk of pretty much has slamming the door on the idea of trust within business. A hand-shake and being able to trust that your vendor is doing what they say seems to be gone.

Mattel is at “fault” for not testing and holding their suppliers accountable. The suppliers are at “fault” for not holding their vendors accountable. They’re all accountable for their actions of trying to squeeze every red cent out of every process.

Myopic focus on the bottom line seems to be the root of this. Funny how when that happens you end up “paying” for it somewhere else.

Consumers are at “fault” for demanding cheaper products and putting the quality of the product as the secondary factor.


I don’t think there really is “trust” in business. Everything comes down to the cents and penny involved. If there is trust, there won’t be a need for contract to be made and documentations of decisions.

Oh, c’mon now. It CAN’T be the consumer’s fault? The consumer? Take responsibility for their actions? Noooooooooooooo. It’s The Man! The Man is at fault…always.


Uglier before getting better.

Let’s all sue Homer!!!

it is wise for Mattel to make the apology.it will promot the on going cooperation for both side.
Before the truth coming out ,when I talked cooperation and manufaturing ,many businessmen from USA told me that they did not plan to take the manufaturing to China,because of the bad news.