Mattel in Chine: Toy Crisis

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Introduction
Mattel, the world’s leading toy and children’s good manufacturer has cultivated a strong portfolio of well known brands and products while being recognized as a highly responsible corporate citizen that makes ethics and safety a priority. However, Mattel has had to overcome a few hurdles in order to stay on top; the first major problem they ran into was the recall of millions of products in 2007. The recall of toys because of health concerns has hurt the company’s brand image with the consumer, making them lose faith in the safety of their products. Part of this was due to the numerous leadership changes over the years. Each leader had a different idea of what would make them number one in their business. Also, children are leaving toys, which is Mattel core product, at a much earlier age than before and moving to more high tech play things. The company must build on its heritage, while defending itself from threats. At the same time faced with maintaining its market position in the face of many challenges. Quality control and product safety are key challenges for companies that manufacture in third-world countries. In the event of a safety or quality control crisis, corporations must respond quickly and efficiently using clear crisis communication and image repair strategies.

Q1 Mattel operates Global Management Practices. What are these, who is involved and how are they implemented? Prior to the problems being faced by Mattel, Mattel implemented their global manufacturing practices(GMP). This applied to all businesses that produced or distributed their products. The GMP’s provided structure for both subcontractors and contractors to abide by. This also helped to maintain safety for employees as well as the consumers. Because of the company’s product and designs primarily for children, it must be sensitive to social concern about children’s right. By assuring parents that their children’s privacy will be respected, Mattel demonstrated that it takes its responsibility of marketing to children very seriously. In 2007, Mattel conduct entitled Global Manufacturing Principles. In this principles, Mattel’s business patners must ensure high standard for product safety and quality, adhering to practices that meet Mattel’s safety and quality standards, make sure that the entire product will not be harmful to the children. Partners must also comply with all import and export regulations and they must strictly adhere to local and international customs law. Mattel’s Global Manufacturing principles reflect not only its aim to conduct manufacturing responsibility, but to respect the cultural, ethical, and philosophical differences of countries in which it operates. These Principles set uniform standards across Mattel manufacturers and attempt to benefit both employees and consumers. Mattel’s Principles cover issues such as wages, work hours, child labour, and discrimination, freedom of association and working conditions. Workers must be paid at least minimum wage or a wage that meets local industry standards. No one under the age of 16 or the local age limit may be allowed to work for Mattel’s facilities. Mattel refuses to work with facilities that use forced or prison labour or to use these types of labour itself. Additionally, Mattel does not tolerate discrimination. The company states that an individual should be hired and employed based on his/her ability not on individual characteristics or beliefs. Mattel recognises all employees’ right to choose to associate with organizations or associations without interference. Regarding working conditions, all Mattel facilities and its business partners must provide safe working environments for their employees. For supporting the GMP initiative it was also created the Mattel Independent Monitoring Council (MIMCO). Both GMP and MIMCO were intended to provide consistency on Mattel’s own facilities and contractors’ manufacturing practices. MIMCO has been independently managed...
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