Toying with us

12 November 2010
Supply Management has spent the past couple of weeks delving into the world of toy supply chains. We wanted to know how they work, the challenges they face, and particularly how they manage supply and demand to have just the right number (not quite enough!) of products on the shelves in time for Christmas. We found that it is, on the whole, a much more mysterious sphere than we had expected – and generally behind the curve in terms of corporate social responsibility. Perhaps there is a connection. Emails and calls have gone unanswered for weeks, scheduled interviews have been cancelled, and not one said it was because late October/early November was an especially busy time (which would have been understandable). In fact, at one point the journalist involved was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement by a major firm we approached. We weren’t trying to buy the company, and I’m not sure they understood the role of ‘reporting’. Such peculiar behaviour only increased our interest and encouraged us to dig deeper. There have been exceptions, of course, and in general it was the companies selling the market leading Christmas gift in their region who were willing to speak. We are still chasing leads ahead of the deadline. We hope to speak to Hornby on Monday, and will make enquiries about the company’s recent supply problems among the list of questions we put to them. Look out for the feature when it appears in our 9 December, issue. And if you plan to do any shopping for the kids ahead of that date, here’s a handy list of the top toys for Christmas 2010.
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