What is Matel’s Future and How Does this Affect You and the Home Industry?

We’ve all heard about the Mattel recall. Since the year 2000, more than 15 million products have been recalled by the largest U.S. toymaker – 9.5 million of those on Tuesday.

In the aftermath, the public is left with many questions:

Why weren’t the toys tested before being distributed to consumers? Why only now is Mattel employing rigorous standards? How do such vast product malfunctions bypass a company that maintains a staff of 25,000? What went wrong with quality control? What will happen to the most trusted toymaker’s reputation?

All of these queries lead to one, all-important question – what lessons can be applied to marketing building products?

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 regard 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. Many manufacturers of home-related products partner with China for their manufacturing supplies. American consumers expect their manufacturers to protect them from the kind of quality and potentially life-threatening disaster that Mattel has become engrossed in. 

If your brand manufactures products or components in China, you need to ask the following questions: Are we practicing diligent quality control here in the U.S.? 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, who is ultimately responsible for the quality of the products it markets. 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 a brand does find a problem, it’s important to act quickly, efficiently and intelligently. If the issue requires or becomes the source of media attention, brand leaders need to be honest. This is not the time to cover up the truth.

Taking a humanistic approach, just as Bob Eckert, CEO of Mattel, is doing, can go a long way – 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.