This industry is quite new and devices are only common in the last 2-3 decades. So, recalls generally will be within this period. But such recalls must be entirely rare given the amount of testing that goes into them and the Beta devices and updates released, Right? No! The number of devices and the competition and the ever-shrinking life cycle gives the manufacturers with so little time for all the testing. After all, even a carbon copies need so much testing if they are communication devices! The recalls over the years have been for multiple reasons but majority seem to be to fix faulty components and software. Listed below are some of the recalls that shook the industry.
1. Samsung – Galaxy Note 7 recall (2017)
When it comes to devices, Samsung has the biggest market. But it has the infamy of having one the biggest device recalls against its name too! Probably the whole world knows about the Galaxy Note 7 saga- the phone was even banned on planes! Samsung simply had no option to recall all pieces of its top selling model. A total of 2.5 million phones sold were recalled other than the ones in the shelves. The recall was pretty costly, $2bn all put together in addition to over the 10% lost sales and market share and the trust of the customer.
There were two separate issues in this incident- one with the initial flaw with the batteries and the second with the replacement batteries, forcing Samsung to withdraw the Note 7’s. The initial flaw was with the design as adequate spacing was not provided in the battery pouch leading to bending of the positive pole in the battery, which can quickly escalate into a fire. The subsequent replacement batteries had a manufacturing error too- poor welding and a separation layer missing in many batteries. Sometimes, even Giants fall!
2. Dell Battery Recalls – 2006
The largest PC makers again are the one with the ignominy of the biggest recall in history. 4.1mn laptop batteries were replaced by Dell in late 2006, after several reports on overheating and fire over a period of several months. All these batteries came from Sony and the eventual costs, which were between $200-400mn were mostly borne by them. The cause of firing is said to be manufacturing errors, where metallic particle residues resulting in a tearing of the protective layer and subsequent short circuits. Sony had then brought in changes in its manufacturing process to reduce the impurities present in its batteries. Questions had been raised over the safety of Li-ion batteries again. The issue though, did not affect either companies involved as Dell’s market only went down marginally and Sony continued to supply batteries to makers of not just computers but also mobiles and cameras.
3. McDonald’s – Fitness Tracker Recall
Surprise! Yet it is McDonald’s, not your favourite mobile maker featuring in this list. Step It was an creative marketing attempt from McDonald’s. They decided to give an add-on of kid’s fitness tracker wristbands along with their happy meal combo. After all, a company witnessing scathing criticism on its food quality coming up with something to boost kids’ activity level is certainly a good move, right? Turns out it didn’t work! Skin irritations, 70 reported incidents involving 7 with blisters, prompted a recall and that, at a massive scale- 32.6mn of these products recalled. Add to that the replacement with other toys and an offer coupon, the costs soar high, not that McDonald’s cannot cope with it though. McDonald’s was easily prepared for the recall too as it has outlets in almost all towns and several of them in cities.
The Fitness trackers were manufactured in China and came into the limelight when a mother took to Facebook to report the issue of her son getting blisters after wearing the device for a few minutes. The post got shared 130000 times, and forced McDonald’s into action. McDonald’s did take quick action calling back all those issued as well as stopping the fitness campaign program with its Happy Meals. Another instance of Manufacturing overlooking key factors.