Design flaws cause toy recalls

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Design flaws in toy manufacturing are more likely to cause products to be recalled than production flaws, according to a report by two Canadian professors.

The timely report, which is to be released shortly by the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada, examines 20 years of toy recalls from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Paul Beamish, a professor at the Ivey school at the University of Western Ontario, and Hari Bapuji, at the University of Manitoba, found that the number of defects attributable to design issues is much higher than those attributable to manufacturing problems.

According to the report: “The distinction between design and manufacturing is important particularly in the context of the toy industry because the design of toys is performed by toy companies such as Mattel, whereas manufacturing is done by overseas manufacturers.”

The authors say that problems in design can be avoided by improving organisational learning while manufacturing problems can be avoided by setting global standards and improving management practices, including quality control systems.

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