17 September 2007 | Paul Snell
Mattel's chief executive has told a US senate committee that he was "disturbed and disappointed" by recent problems with the firm's Chinese suppliers.
Robert Eckert, appearing before the senate's appropriations committee last week, repeatedly apologised for "letting down" customers. It follows the firm's recall of more than two million toys that it feared could be contaminated with lead paint.
"These recent recalls have been a personal disappointment to me and, I am sure, to all the thousands of men, women and parents who have always taken great pride in working at Mattel," he said.
He outlined the firm's three-stage safety check, introduced by the firm to prevent further problems. It includes retesting every batch of paint bought from certified suppliers, performed by Mattel's own laboratories.
It will also test finished products to ensure the paint used is safe, and increase the frequency of random, unannounced inspections.
He added that the firm would soon complete inspections of all its suppliers and subcontractors worldwide. Other regulations introduced include separate production for Mattel products, a ban on further subcontracting, and responsibility for suppliers to check the work of subcontractors.
Eckert also said a corporate responsibility function had been established to give the firm an extra layer of accountability for safety and compliance.