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Mattel

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Reporte Caso 2: “Mattel’s Toys Recalls and Supply Chain Management”

Reporte Caso 2: “Mattel’s Toys Recalls and Supply Chain Management”

Héctor Daniel Aponte Mateus

1. Introducción
Meses antes de la navidad de año 2007 Mattel® enfrentó el más grande problema de calidad en la producción de sus productos en su historia: debido principalmente a errores en el diseño de sus juguetes y a materiales utilizados en la producción de los mismos, entre otros, se vieron en la obligación de quitar de los supermercados la mayoría de sus juguetes, sabiendo de antemano que no tenían la capacidad de producción requerida para volver a suplir la mercancía requerida para navidad, que es la época de ventas más altas en el sector. Además de esto se vieron en la necesidad de responder a sus clientes y proveedores asumiendo su responsabilidad, lo cual llevo a que la compañía perdiera más del 45% de su valor de mercado.

2. ¿What are the main reasons for Mattel to source in China? (33%)
Las empresas involucradas en el negocio de los juguetes tuvieron que enfrentarse a un gran cambio hacia finales del siglo XX y principios del siglo XXI. El mercado minorista de juguetes se consolidó, evolucionando de un modelo de tiendas especializadas a un modelo donde grandes empresas de consumo como Wal-Mart, Target y Toys “R” Us eran grandes participantes en el mercado de venta de juguetes. El caso de Mattel® no fue la excepción, y para el año 2007 cerca del 41% de sus ventas mundiales eran a estas tres compañías.
Este cambio en las condiciones del mercado, vino acompañado de un nuevo reto para Mattel®, que ahora tenía que negociar directamente con estos gigantes del mercado minorista, los cuales usaban su alto poder de negociación (derivado del alto volumen de ventas que manejan) para exigir menores costos en los productos que le compraban a Mattel®. Como resultado directo de esta situación, Mattel® se vio obligada a presionar a sus proveedores para que le ofrecieran menores costos con el fin de poder mantener su rentabilidad en estas nuevas condiciones de mercado.
Con este objetivo en mente, y buscando beneficiarse de los bajos costos de mano de obra y materia prima en China, hacia el año 2007 Mattel® producía alrededor del 65% de sus juguetes en este país. En la Tabla 1 se muestra cuáles son las principales razones por las que una compañía realiza outsourcing en su cadena de suministro, en el caso particular de Mattel®, las principales razones era una mejora en la utilidad del negocio.

Es importante mencionar que Mattel®, aunque fue de las empresas pioneras en empezar a fabricar sus productos en China, no era la única empresa fabricante de juguetes que lo estaba haciendo. Para el año 2007 cerca del 80% de la producción mundial de juguetes provenía de China, con lo cual se puede ver que era una tendencia de la industria, ya que otras compañías sufrían presiones similares a las que sufría Mattel® por parte de sus clientes.
La estrategia de Mattel® en China se dividía en dos partes, una relacionada con los juguetes estratégicos de la compañía, entre los que cabe resaltar Barbie, los cuales podían ser comercializados por periodos relativamente largos de tiempo, y otra relacionada con los juguetes no estratégicos de la compañía, generalmente personajes relacionados con películas lanzadas recientemente en cine, los cuales tenían un ciclo de vida más corto. Los productos estratégicos eran producidos por empresas de Mattel® en China, mientras que los productos no estratégicos eran producidos por proveedores locales chinos seleccionados por la empresa. Estos proveedores también ayudaban a la empresa en épocas de gran demanda, fabricando partes de los juguetes estratégicos de la compañía.

3. ¿What were the primary (root) causes of Mattel's recall problems? Were these the result of outsourcing? (33%)
Existen varias causas que permiten explicar el problema de recall de los juguetes de Mattel. Al interior de la compañía existían fallas en la estrategia para valorar la calidad de los juguetes fabricados por la compañía, tanto internamente, como a través de proveedores.
En primer lugar se puede ver que no existían las medidas de prevención necesarias, para evitar defectos en el diseño de los productos y procesos, en el caso particular de Mattel®, la principal causa de recall de juguetes por parte de la compañía, fue fallas en el diseño de sus productos (problema totalmente ajeno a los fabricantes chinos) los cuales incluían unos pequeños y poderosos magnetos, que se podían desprender fácilmente del juguete y podían llegar a ser ingeridos por los niños. La situación se volvía realmente grave cuando los niños ingerían más de un magneto, los cuales se podían unir en el intestino, ocasionando perforaciones que podían llegar a ocasionar incluso la muerte. Alrededor del 85% de los juguetes retirados por la compañía se debieron a esta falla en el diseño. Entre las posibles causas que pudieron originar este problema de diseño, se puede mencionar fallas en la implementación de un plan de calidad, tanto como en el entrenamiento de los empleados encargados de medir la calidad de los productos y al mantener registros de información relacionados con la calidad.
Por otro lado se puede apreciar que también existían problemas a la hora de valorar la calidad de los proceso de manufactura principalmente de los proveedores de la compañía en China. En particular existían falencias en los controles aplicados a los proveedores de Mattel®, los cuales en algunos casos terminaban comprando sus materiales de empresas que no estaban en la lista de proveedores autorizados de la compañía.
Las fallas en estos controles, tuvieron como consecuencia que algunos de los juguetes de Mattel®, fueran fabricados con pintura que contenía plomo, el cual estaba expresamente prohibido en Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea, dos de los principales mercados de la compañía. Una de los principales vacios que se podían apreciar en el proceso de control de calidad, era que los 200 empleados encargados de llevar a cabo las estas tareas se encontraban en Hong Kong, mientras que la mayoría de las empresas estaban ubicadas en otras provincias de China. Otra razón importante que pudo llevar a estas fallas, es que los proveedores solamente realizaban controles sobre los primeros lotes de producción. Esto es una falla directa en el proceso de evaluación e inspección de calidad de lso productos, en particular los proveedores buscaban ahorrar costos de testeo de productos. Esto se explicaba principalmente en los márgenes tan estrechos que ganaban estas compañías, lo cual los hacia muy sensibles a los costos. Ademas factores como la revaluacion del Yuan, y alzas en los salarios en China, ejercían presión adicional sobre estas compañías.
Otro factor que vale la pena resaltar es la falta de controles por parte de los entes reguladores, y en el caso Chino se pueden percibir una alta corrupción, asi como falta de objetividad por parte de los entes regionales para certificar la calidad de producción de sus compañías.

En general no se puede decir que la principal causa del “recall” de productos por parte de Mattel se deba al outsoursing, sino a fallas en la implementación interna de un plan de calidad, que permita tener un mejor control sobre los procesos, y sobre toda su cadena de suministro.

4. ¿What should Mattel do in the future to avoid such problems described in the case? (34%)
Existen varias medidas que puede implementar Mattel® para solucionar los problemas que se describen a lo largo del caso: 1. En primer lugar se debe pensar en mejorar el control sobre la extensa red de proveedores de la compañía, implementando un riguroso registro de las compañías a las cuales se les puede comprar materiales para la fabricación de los juguetes, de tal manera que se eviten problemas como el presentado con la presencia de pintura con plomo en los juguetes vendidos por la compañía. 2. También se puede pensar en establecer mayores estándares de calidad de procesos dentro de la compañía, apoyándose en instituciones como la AQSIC, de tal forma que haya una selección más rigurosa de los proveedores de la compañía, y existan mejoras en el testeo e inspección de la calidad de los productos fabricados por la compañía. Se podría pensar en trabajar de la mano con los proveedores para capacitar al personal mejor y también apoyarlos en la adquisición del equipo necesario para poder llevar a cabo las inspecciones necesarias para garantizar la adecuada calidad de los productos fabricados. La empresa no debe buscar reducir costos de prevención y evaluación, ya que estos eventualmente terminaran convirtiéndose en costos por fallas externas, que son las más costosas, ya que eventualmente los clientes pueden perder la confianza en la marca, la cual puede ser muy difícil de recuperar 3. Se podría pensar en crear un área de calidad, con una cabeza visible, que se encargue de visitar las plantas de producción (tanto propias como de proveedores) para verificar que todos los procesos están siendo llevados a cabo de manera adecuada. 4. Establecer estímulos para sus proveedores, de tal manera que no se vean como única solución para ser rentables, cortar costos de prevención, que pueden llevar a fallas en la verificación de calidad de los productos fabricados.

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[ 1 ]. Tomado de http://researchbank.rmit.edu.au/eserv/rmit:1252/n2006000647.pdf el 11-11-2015…...

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