The Return of Furby’s

Furby’s were the must have toy when they surfaced around 1998. In 2011, eleven years after the Furby stopped being made, Hasbro was thinking up the Next Big Toy for the upcoming years and after much consumer research and focus groups, the decision was in the reboot the 90s class of the Furby.  The toy that has the ability to change personality by the way the user interacts with it.  Looking back, this gremlin-like toy is probably one of the most terrifying things to give a child, but as the world will have it, Hasbro is recreating the toy for the new younger generation.  Wal-Mart and Toys R’ Us have both put the new and improved Furby on their Must-Have lists for the upcoming holiday season.

New vs. Old

To modernize the Furby, the product designers are connecting the concept of a Furby with the “app toys” that will interchangeable work with Android and Apple devices by way of an app to connect that so many children are playing with these tech devices.  The Furby isn’t the only toy redesign Hasbro is working on.  They have a number of on going projects to retarget their toys to correspond with a higher tech level so they are more desirable to children.

An interesting thing to consider is that the Furby was introduced in 1998 and quickly went through the product cycle until the cease of manufacturing in 2000.  Furby’s could definitely fall under the category of all the other “fad” toys that came out in the late 90s and early 2000s that were always the must have toys of the season.

In class, we learned about the product lifecycle and how all products go through an introduction, growth, maturity and decline.  There is no doubt that the original Furby is well into the decline stage because Hasbro stopped making them in 2000.  Because most children who had a Furby in their childhood are now somewhat grown up, Hasbro is able to reintroduce a newly designed Furby into the market to restart in the introduction stage of the product lifecycle.  However, the new market of children is not the only one being targeted.  Hasbro is also marketing to people in 20-year range as a retro toy, even though they are completely redesigned.  The new Furby was released this fall so it will be interesting to see if the product skips the growth stage all together and goes from introduction to maturity because the company has been through the stages of growth such as standardization with the earlier model.

 Do you think it was a good idea for Hasbro to recreate the extremely profitable toy from the 90s?  If any of you had Furby’s when you were younger, would you consider buying this newly designed Furby?  Do you think that the Furby has a chance to make its way fully through the product life cycle once again?



Metal Mesh Mini-Wheats

This past week Kellogg put a recall on Frosted Mini-Wheats because of a contamination of mesh metal pieces mixed in with the cereal.  This quality control mishap could cost the company up towards $30 million for the 2.8 million boxes of frosted and unfrosted bite size original Mini-Wheats  that is being recalled from stores.  The supply-chain glitch was attributed to a “faulty manufacturing part” and will cost the company an additional $100 million for the year to fix and improve on their system. The company claims that the expenses associated with the recall this year is offset by the strong performance of the new addition to the Kellogg family, Pringles, which will be seen when the company reports their earning on November 1st.

 However, this is the Battle Creek, Michigan factory’s second quality control slip in the last two years.  In 2010, Kellogg recalled multiple cereals for an odd smell and color.  The cause of this quality issue was the improper packaging the cereal was in.   After that recall, the company spent a similar amount to fix their supply chain which meant less supervision for the operations and overworked employees in the factories.  In my opinion the less supervision and overworked employees seems it would be more  liability for faulty products.


I was surprised how many ways this article related to the paper puppets activity in class and how the faulty paper made it’s way through the assembly line until the quality control department.  Somehow the cereal with the metal mesh bits, and also odd smells and colors were able to not only make it past all of the workers in the factory but also through the quality control department with approval to be put on the shelves in grocery stores everywhere.   Not only are the costs of these recalls expensive, but eventually if these recalls continue occurring, it will start to effect Kellog’s reputation and the quality of their products.  It is unfortunate that the quality control department did not catch these errors because it makes consumers doubt the department’s ability.  I am not exactly sure what is the right amount of time is between glitches and recalls such as these for manufacturers, ideally an infinite of time with no mistakes, but two years with two recalls and now almost a $200 million investment into their supply chain, hopefully Kellogg will not have these problems again in another two years.  Thoughts also arise if whether the cost cuts related to the first recall, overworking employees and lessening supervision, had an affect on this mistake and if the contamination could have been caught before the boxes were shipped out.  Luckily, no injuries have been reported for ingesting the metal pieces, because not only would that not be fun start for anyone’s morning, metal pieces are definitely not apart of a balanced breakfast.

Do you feel the problems in the supply chain should have been resolved two years ago with the first recall and large investment into their system? After the second fix in the supply chain as a consumer would you feel confident in the products going forward?