Unsafe for Children: Mattel’s Toy Recalls and Supply Chain Management Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Question no. 4: What is your opinion regarding key players who reacted to this issue?

Mattel had good relationship with their immediate vendors but due to uncertified suppliers which were subcontracted for the supply of paints, the problem raised with the news of excess lead paint. People started criticizing the Chinese products. Mattel apologized immediately and recalled its toys. Mattel’s statement said that the problem was due to production in China which resulted in damaging the relationship between the company and China.

China had a workforce which had to control the quality control issues so-called AQSIC. It had a huge amount of workforce which could test the quality assurance of the Chinese made products. AQSIC immediately banned the usage of lead in toys and canceled Lee Der’s export license but did not revoke the license of ELI due to its governmental influence. It arranged training program for 2600 employees out of 1800 factories.

China also blamed Mattel for its international safety standards and sent back two imports, which had come from US saying that the shipment had not met up to their quality standards. In August 2008, US started an investigation regarding the safety and quality standards for children’s toys and clothes.  Furthermore, Senator Barack Obama had promised to ban the Chinese made toys until their quality could be ensured by the Chinese government and quality checking standards.

Question No. 5: How do you think that accountability can be better managed in long global supply chains?

Supply chain would be managed well only if all the chains performed their best. If any of the chain would break, then the whole chain would have to suffer. As discussed in the case, mostly all of the vendors held for accountability except for ELI. Mattel faced the failure of supply chain cost of USD 110 million.

It was a challenging task to control the accountability in the long term. Every supply chain channel would be required to give their best in terms of quality and standard. Lee Der made a huge mistake by subcontracting the supplier which was originally an uncertified supplier as Lee Der did not know about it. The supplier supplied lead containing paint which was directly used by Lee Der without even testing it for lead; this resulted in a problem for the entire supply chain. It could be managed well and Lee Der could inform Mattel about any of its subcontracting with any vendor. This could help both about the awareness and scenarios regarding production process and its procurement. Mattel would have to manage the accountability by keeping awareness about the vendors regarding their procurement and strategic activities.

Question No. 6: Is it worthwhile for companies to invest in helping and supporting their suppliers?  How important is measuring supplier performance and providing incentives?

It was discussed above that the supply chain management is a challenging task and it would need to be handled carefully. If any of the chain would fail to perform or break; then it would lead the whole chain to failure, therefore it is very necessary to support the suppliers and to help them. However, Mattel can improve performance of the supplier through trainings and incentives. It is important to observe the performance of the suppliers throughout the process as well as keep on motivating the suppliers and evaluating their performance. Consequently, it would result in improving the performance of the suppliers and they would give their best. Suppliers with good performance would be given more business, which would be beneficial for Mattel and would result in increasing the morale of the suppliers........................................

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