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Friday, November 16, 2007

MATTEL... 1-2-3 distinct flaws !

Mattel numerous toys recalls were the consequence of at least 3 distinct flaws from various departments and managers at Mattel : design manager, manufacturing, supply chain control and quality inspections errors .

1- The lead paint problem is both a purchasing policy problem & a lack of laboratory testing (the lead paint test is almost immediate)
2- The magnet problem is a design problem, from the Mattel's design department.
3- The "Laugh & Learn et Learning Kitchen Toys" is a small parts choking hazard problem, which is also a design problem.

MATTEL recalls have certainly an impact on the toys sales this year. The figures might show that parents are afraid of "paint and magnets" and might simply buy more books, DVD's, iPods, LCD toys (understand "tamagohis") which be the "safe heaven" parents are looking for.

MATTEL recalled toys because of 3 different types of flaws in their manufacturing & control process.
Parents would understand that 1 flaw can happen one time one day.
We could agree that one flaw makes other problems occur: the domino effect.
But regarding Mattel's 2007 recalls, the 3 different mistakes were totally distinct which is truly not acceptable.

When the approved Mattel and Lee Deer Industrial paint chinese supplier, Dongxing New Energy, told Lee Deer that he couldn't deliver the next 500 kgs of yellow color pigment on time, Lee Deer found Dongguan Zhongzin Colorants on the internet.

Lee Deer accepted the fake lab test from présenté par Dongguan Zhongzin Colorants, and didn't investigate further despite a worker's comment about the unusual smell of the yellow paint made with these pigments...

In fact, they trusted unknown people : Dongguan Zhongzin Colorants was only created in 2001 and Lee Deer didn't work with them before. The basic reason of the flaw was "rush delivery": They couldn't wait long enough for their usual supplier to provide the paint for the toys.

To my opnion, they should have waited or they should have tested the paint in an internal lab in the factory : The lead paint test can be done almost instantly. They trusted a new company. That is the first mistake.

These 500 kgs of yellow color pigment allowed to make thousands of yellow paint which lead to millions of toys, knowing that each toy uses only very small yellow paint surface in terms of gramms per toy. This timeline of events are based on the best of my knowledge, but you may know more than I do and it's not 100% certified.

NEXT, the magnets product design flaw lead to the Polly Pocket's recalls. This is now a DESIGN flaw : It doesn't come from the same department at Mattel. I could understand a second set of toys recall for the yellow lead paint issue, but now, it's another team, another reason, very distinct.

FINALLY, the recall of the "Laugh & Learn et Learning Kitchen Toys" recall was due to a SMALL PARTS choking hazard flaw. It's yet another problem, another cause. It's not about lead... it's not about magnets... it's about small parts.

1-2-3 distinct flaws !

Are the design, production, quality control managers still in place at Mattel ?

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