The Transformers Archive Skip to main content / Also skip section headers

[The Transformers Archive - an international fan site]
Please feel free to log in or register.

 
  • transformers toys
  • transformers comics
  • transformers cartoon
  • transformers live-action movies
  • transformers fandom
  • transformers forum

Go Back   TFARCHIVE > TRANSFORMERS > Transformers News & Rumours

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2011-12-21, 03:38 PM   #21
Skyquake87
One with the Matrix
 
Skyquake87's Avatar
 
Default

I've had a reply from hasbro! They are investigating the matter. When i am home and at my pc i will have a look at the link they sent me as part of their csr that is relevant to this.
 
Skyquake87 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-21, 03:48 PM   #22
Jaynz
Puppy Kicker
 
Jaynz's Avatar
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
I don't know, I'm an optimist. Whilst I understand that improvements in foreign labour conditions are going to be slow progress, I had hoped things would have improved somewhat over the last twenty or so years.
That's one main point, they have. It may be shocking to most people, but China's treatment of its workers are a dream compared to the conditions of the same factories only twenty years ago. Progress is being made, though, very obviously, they've got a long long way to go.

Quote:
And Vanguard, you are totally right about Labour costs. One of things that tickles me about the UK is that we have all this unemployment, yet there's always factory work going for minimum wage which people refuse to do as if its somehow beneath them.
One of the most disturbing trends of the "Boomer Age" has been the use of immigrants as an effective 'replacement class' for the 'servant class'. Too much of the 'posh middle class' really do think that labor of any type is not just beneath them, but also their children and anyone else that's not 'of color' somehow. The fact that our labor force is largely color-coded and of 'lower class' seems to be completely lost on them while they rally in public about 'minority rights' and such... If it were so tragic and dire, it would be a farce.

Quote:
Anyway, I've just emailed hasbro, see what they make of all this and whether they'll be doing anything about it (i've suggested that they might want to work with the factory rather than pull their contract) . I had to use hasbro uk though, which is little more than a distribution hub, but we shall see what happens.
Hasbro's stuck, for the most part. They have been agressive about updating their factories and manufacturing processes, but they can only do so much while staying in business, and also while dealing with the Chinese goverment and the byzantine laws of the "first world". Ideally Hasbro could open plants in 'red state' America and in parts of Europe not near national capitols... but it's a painful proposition for Hasbro and their consumers.

I would, for instance, be willing to pay an extra dollar for a Legion figure, or two dollars for a deluxe, for Hasbro to move its production Stateside. Sadly, as I said, the cost increase at this point would be far, far more than that.
 
Jaynz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-21, 03:52 PM   #23
Jaynz
Puppy Kicker
 
Jaynz's Avatar
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliffjumper View Post
Again, the problem here is self-interest. Half the fandom think they're a bit of brown-nosing away from making the design team and doing that Generations-Jazz-as-Stepper recolour only they've thought of, or that IDW are dying to do their cult-film-redone-with-Transformers Spotlight.
I don't know if it's half, but certainly the 'bigger' message boards have this idea. If they can 'group think' and 'brownose' the hell out of Hasbro they can get their custom figures, and never ever say anything negative, they'll somehow be all-important 'insiders'.

Sadly, to a limited degree, this has worked in the past. (I say this as one of those that at one point was one of these insiders.) But, in my defense, I wasn't much of a brownnoser and quite willingly called a spade a 'spade' when the situation warrants.

The behaviour of certain sites these days, though, is just embarassing.
 
Jaynz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-21, 04:28 PM   #24
Blackjack
Micromaster
 
Blackjack's Avatar
 
Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
I've had a reply from hasbro! They are investigating the matter. When i am home and at my pc i will have a look at the link they sent me as part of their csr that is relevant to this.
While it's nice and all, well, in my opinion, Hasbro really can't do anything about it. If they moved away from the Chinese factories, then they'll have quite a bit more expenses to cover for if they used different factories, since quite a lot of Hasbro products are 'made in China'.

Without increasing the prices of their products to be quite unviable for normal sales (like Lego, nearly double their contemporaries) Hasbro can't let go of the Chinese companies.

And, like I said, the Chinese companies can't do much to change. Pay the kids too much, and they don't make a profit. Sad as it is, it is not illegal and they sure as hell are not going to change what they're doing. Probably some PR stuff like cleaning up the beds and stuff that won't cost them anything. But, if push comes to shove and the factories fire the kids, and those same kids would probably end up curled up, dead by cold or hunger, on the back alley of some street in the city.
 
Blackjack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-21, 04:33 PM   #25
Warcry
Likes Beast Wars toys. A lot.
 
Warcry's Avatar
 
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
I've had a reply from hasbro! They are investigating the matter. When i am home and at my pc i will have a look at the link they sent me as part of their csr that is relevant to this.
They sent the exact same form letter to everyone else who complained, so I wouldn't get my hopes up just yet.

"Investigating" may well be code for "cutting all ties with the factory and moving our business to a sweat shop with better security", after all. That does seem to be the usual reaction to stuff like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terome View Post
Hmm, just found out that threads about this were deleted on the IDW boards and that TFW2005 aren't reporting it at all.

That's kind of crazy.
Are we really surprised, though? IDW are directly on Hasbro's payroll, and TFW made it's name as the biggest Transformers site by sucking up to their Hasbro contacts. They both know which side their bread is buttered on. The same sort of thing happened when TFSource's database of credit card info got stolen the second time -- TFW refused to front-page it to warn their readers, and their staff ran around trying to play down the problem and blaming other sites because they didn't want to lose the sponsorship dollars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
Hasbro's tried to do more operations in the United States, but they would have to charge over $20 for a Cyberverse Legion figure to do it, thanks to all the increased costs.

...

Averaging $40/hr for untrained labor before benefits... or $1.20 an hour? ...
Ridiculous exaggeration won't help your case at all. There's no way employees would be paid this much, and even if they did there's now way prices could increase that much. Prices are set in large part by Walmart, remember, and they're not going to let Hasbro increase the MSRP by more than a few dollars. Extra labour costs would mainly be absorbed by a decrease in the per-figure profit that Hasbro makes, and probably by a decrease in the quality of the figures themselves.

There's absolutely no way that Hasbro is going to set up shop in Michigan or one of the other states where manufacturing unions have managed to wrestle stupid wages from their employers. They'd find a state in the South with low labour standards and a low minimum wage, hire newly-immigrated and/or illegal Latinos who'll work for $7.25 per hour and treat them like shit, just like every other manufacturer that's moved to the US in the last decade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
I would, for instance, be willing to pay an extra dollar for a Legion figure, or two dollars for a deluxe, for Hasbro to move its production Stateside. Sadly, as I said, the cost increase at this point would be far, far more than that.
But here's the thing: you might not even have the chance to. Walmart sets the prices and if they're paying $5 wholesale for a Deluxe now they won't be willing to pay $6 or $7 for 'ethically produced' toys. Hasbro's margin per figure goes down, and they have to cut costs elsewhere or risk losing money. And then the Deluxe you're buying for $10 has the design complexity of an oversized Legends bootleg and no paint apps.

Prices may go up, but not nearly as much as they 'should' and something would have to give elsewhere in the process.
 
Warcry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-21, 06:25 PM   #26
Jaynz
Puppy Kicker
 
Jaynz's Avatar
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
Ridiculous exaggeration won't help your case at all. There's no way employees would be paid this much, and even if they did there's now way prices could increase that much.
Actually, that is a going rate for labor manufacturing in the United States. Note, this isn't average wage, but average manufacturing wage. I honestly wish I was exaggerating this. Harpers reports that the difference just crossing the Rio Grande is 8:1 (up from 6:1 prior to NAFTA, go figure).

Average unskilled labor, all around, for the US is $21 per hour. This includes farming, etc.

Quote:
Prices are set in large part by Walmart, remember, and they're not going to let Hasbro increase the MSRP by more than a few dollars.
Sort of. Wal*Mart's influence is a bit of a bogeyman, however. They like to establish certain price-point ranges, yes, but any purusal through the toy aisle will put a lie to the claim that Wal*Mart can dictate prices. There would be a lot more homogeny if that were true.

Quote:
They'd find a state in the South with low labour standards and a low minimum wage, hire newly-immigrated and/or illegal Latinos who'll work for $7.25 per hour and treat them like shit, just like every other manufacturer that's moved to the US in the last decade.
Again, a pretty solid bogeyman. Though union-shops have put out a lot of propaganda decrying non-union manufacturing plants (particularly in Tennessee, which is the giant of these new plants), tours and inspections and other reports of conditions within them do no match the narrative. Wages and beneifts are commiserate with union shops and the working conditions are usually even better.
 
Jaynz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-21, 07:55 PM   #27
Denyer
Shooty Dog Thing
 
Denyer's Avatar
 
UK
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
Averaging $40/hr for untrained labor before benefits
US minimum wage hovering about ~$8/hr is roughly in line with (with adjustment for economies) the ~6/hr it is over here for factory jobs.

I find it hard to believe that factories stump up $40/hr to make popcorn bags, as an example of a production line manufacturing job within the US given by someone elsewhere last night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terome
threads about this were deleted on the IDW boards
If true, what respect for IDW I had has by this point evaporated.
 
Denyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-21, 08:07 PM   #28
Warcry
Likes Beast Wars toys. A lot.
 
Warcry's Avatar
 
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
Actually, that is a going rate for labor manufacturing in the United States. Note, this isn't average wage, but average manufacturing wage. I honestly wish I was exaggerating this. Harpers reports that the difference just crossing the Rio Grande is 8:1 (up from 6:1 prior to NAFTA, go figure).

Average unskilled labor, all around, for the US is $21 per hour. This includes farming, etc.
I'm curious where you get your numbers from, because the US Department of Labour disagrees with you.

$21.35 is the median hourly wage for all workers in the US.

'Assemblers and fabricators', which a toy plant would fall under, have an average hourly wage of $14.92. That includes auto workers, who skew the average up significantly. Take them and their $25.39 average out of the equation and you're probably looking at an average wage under $10.

[EDIT: $10.25 actually, if my quick math is right]

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
Sort of. Wal*Mart's influence is a bit of a bogeyman, however. They like to establish certain price-point ranges, yes, but any purusal through the toy aisle will put a lie to the claim that Wal*Mart can dictate prices. There would be a lot more homogeny if that were true.
While I'm sure companies use Walmart as a scapegoat more than is strictly necessary, shit like his happens all the time.

http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/...3-00951cc2c591

http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/...5AO51320091126

http://subscribers.supermarketnews.c...proposal-0607/

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
Again, a pretty solid bogeyman. Though union-shops have put out a lot of propaganda decrying non-union manufacturing plants (particularly in Tennessee, which is the giant of these new plants), tours and inspections and other reports of conditions within them do no match the narrative. Wages and beneifts are commiserate with union shops and the working conditions are usually even better.
Not in Canada, they're not.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...icle984750.ece

$5 per hour difference for doing the exact same job. Unionized auto workers are seriously overpaid for what they do, but still.
 
Warcry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-21, 08:35 PM   #29
Clay
"I've done better and got over it."
 
Clay's Avatar
 
Murray, KY
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
'Assemblers and fabricators', which a toy plant would fall under, have an average hourly wage of $14.92. That includes auto workers, who skew the average up significantly. Take them and their $25.39 average out of the equation and you're probably looking at an average wage under $10.

[EDIT: $10.25 actually, if my quick math is right]
Yeah. There's a plant here in Murray that makes lawn mower engines, and those fellows make around $10-$11 an hour.
 
Clay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-21, 08:47 PM   #30
inflatable dalek
Duke of Kidderminster
 
inflatable dalek's Avatar
 
Kidderminster UK
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
And Vanguard, you are totally right about Labour costs. One of things that tickles me about the UK is that we have all this unemployment, yet there's always factory work going for minimum wage which people refuse to do as if its somehow beneath them.
If you live in an area where there's a huge amount of factory work that's great, but it's certainly not true round here. The big employer left is the supermarkets, and, at the moment, they're not hiring (my wok, for the first time since I've been there, has taken no temp staff on over Christmas. Which is nearly killing us all in a funny way. Sainsbury's has taken on some "Work Experience" people- basically free labour from the dole office, and that's about it).

My Mother works at Job Centre Plus, and the main "No experience required" minimum wage job that comes up is career (lets leave aside how many of us in need of a career would want one with no prior experience who used to be a sugarbeat beater or whatever). And no, the people on the dole don't especially want to do that job. But once they've been on there a certain amount of time they don't have a choice. There's a lot of bullshit spread about on how benefits work, and frankly most of the governments planned changes are either not going to make any difference or hurt the wrong people. Because most long term unemployed aren't scammers, and a large number of them are never going to get regular work because even the nicest of employers wouldn't want them, there's many with personality problems beyond the dreams of analysts.

I did love it when the Polish people started at work, partly because of the knee jerk reaction from a lot of idiots presumably unaware Kidderminster has had a large Polish community since the end of the War (including my own Grandfather) and partly because within a year all but one of them had decided that poorer paid jobs back home were better than working for Tesco and had left.
 
inflatable dalek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-21, 09:59 PM   #31
Skyquake87
One with the Matrix
 
Skyquake87's Avatar
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackjack View Post
While it's nice and all, well, in my opinion, Hasbro really can't do anything about it. If they moved away from the Chinese factories, then they'll have quite a bit more expenses to cover for if they used different factories, since quite a lot of Hasbro products are 'made in China'.

Without increasing the prices of their products to be quite unviable for normal sales (like Lego, nearly double their contemporaries) Hasbro can't let go of the Chinese companies.

And, like I said, the Chinese companies can't do much to change. Pay the kids too much, and they don't make a profit. Sad as it is, it is not illegal and they sure as hell are not going to change what they're doing. Probably some PR stuff like cleaning up the beds and stuff that won't cost them anything. But, if push comes to shove and the factories fire the kids, and those same kids would probably end up curled up, dead by cold or hunger, on the back alley of some street in the city.
Well...I dunno, I had to do something. And whilst it might be impractical for Hasbro to make these changes immediately, Lego have proved it can be done. I understand that TFs are more complex to engineer and maybe its something that could be attempted in small stages. But there must be something more that can be done. i read Hasbro's CSR and they do have guidelines in place that they use in their global dealings - including manufacturing. Either way, shrugging and saying "that's how it is" isn't acceptable (this isn't directed at anyone personally, just how I feel). We, as consumers, can effect change whether we realise it or not. Berating hasbro for a business practice others are also involved with wont help, but perhaps by finding some way of influencing behaviours , either by contractual obligation or by opening their own factories abroad would be a way forward.

To inflatable dalek : point taken. there's not loads of factories around here, but many recruitment agencies always have work going. the long term unemployed are a problem and employers need to be encouraged to give those willing to work a chance. Likewise, the governments approach to whose benefits to cut is worrying and the involvement of private firm unum in making some of these decisions is deeply concerning, particularly where folk have been on benefits for genuine medical and / or psychological reasons which a private company assessor overlooks to achieve the numbers requirted to hit the targets required by their contract with the government - another reason privatisation isn't always the answer.
 
Skyquake87 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-21, 10:24 PM   #32
Thunderwave
Gestalt
 
Upstate, NY
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
Sort of. Wal*Mart's influence is a bit of a bogeyman, however. They like to establish certain price-point ranges, yes, but any purusal through the toy aisle will put a lie to the claim that Wal*Mart can dictate prices. There would be a lot more homogeny if that were true.
Wal*Mart is notorious in it's treatment of companies like Hasbro, trying to use their leverage to bully them into doing things a certain way. Doing things like telling companies, like Hasbro, that they will give Wal*Mart X-number exclusives the next year or they'll stop carrying their product.

I think, however, Hasbro finally stood up to Wal*Mart. Looking about the store I work at, a older TRU in the states, around last Christmas I saw us get in a shit-ton of former Wal*Mart exclusives from several Hasbro lines, all without the "Only at Wal*Mart" stickers. Doing some more digging I found those same toys at Target as well. If my information is correct, Wal*Mart is also getting fewer exclusives across the board over the next year, not just Transformers, and not very impressive ones while stores like TRU and Target are getting rather nice ones. This points, to me, that Hasbro has, to some degree, told Wal*Mart to back off. Knowing what I do about who makes what, if Wal*Mart suddenly stopped selling Hasbro toys, the toy section of the store would look mighty empty.
 
Thunderwave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-22, 12:34 AM   #33
Jaynz
Puppy Kicker
 
Jaynz's Avatar
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
I'm curious where you get your numbers from, because the US Department of Labour disagrees with you.
Harpers, but the point is still valid. So long as you have nearly an order of magnitude of wage/salary cost different between the United States and Mexico, much less China, for the same job, it's just not going to be feasible to do much hiring in the States.

Quote:
While I'm sure companies use Walmart as a scapegoat more than is strictly necessary, shit like his happens all the time.
Hard to fault them too much when you see "Worst of all, two of the factories have rules forcing workers to lie to Wal-Mart auditors" in the stories. The Chinese government forcing workers to be silent on treatment? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you! :P

The truth is that Wal*Mart has been a net gain for workers, consumers, and the overall economy in the United States. It's also made a lot of improvements in marketing that people don't think about. Before Wal*Mart's pressure, packaging of CDs were taking as much shelf-space as 33rpm records. Most toys had huge amounts of styrofoam packaging, and the typical video game came in large, mostly empty, 8 1/2" by 11" by 2" boxes.

Quote:
$5 per hour difference for doing the exact same job. Unionized auto workers are seriously overpaid for what they do, but still.
Is the question that the $5 difference really means one group gets paid too little, or one just too much, though? One big difference, though, I believe is that American companies are well aware that unions will seize any chance to get a company under their thumb and effectively make them 'slaves to the Union and the DNC'. Manufacturing companies therefore have plenty good incentive to keep their workers as happy as possible to avoid this.
 
Jaynz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-22, 12:43 AM   #34
Jaynz
Puppy Kicker
 
Jaynz's Avatar
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderwave View Post
Wal*Mart is notorious in it's treatment of companies like Hasbro, trying to use their leverage to bully them into doing things a certain way. Doing things like telling companies, like Hasbro, that they will give Wal*Mart X-number exclusives the next year or they'll stop carrying their product.
And, you know what, that's fine. That's not at all illegal, hardly immoral, and not remotely unethical. Wal*Mart is under no obligation to sell anyone else's stuff, and it's perfectly fine for them to apply leverage to companies to keep costs low, packaging reasonable, and so on. I know people like to act like it's a protection racket, but it's really not.

For Hasbro's part, take a close look at that toy aisle again. See all those "Iron Man II" toys still around"? "Tron"? "Thor"? Wal*Mart has to eat all of those toys and their associated costs... It works both ways, you see. Wal*Mart isn't taking a lot of extra toys at all right now because of a few solid years of very poor sales for toy lines in general. And movie tie-in lines, in particular, have been nothing but shelf-warmers. Why would Wal*Mart want a bunch more exclusives when they're not moving the crap they already have?
 
Jaynz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-22, 02:53 AM   #35
Warcry
Likes Beast Wars toys. A lot.
 
Warcry's Avatar
 
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
Harpers, but the point is still valid. So long as you have nearly an order of magnitude of wage/salary cost different between the United States and Mexico, much less China, for the same job, it's just not going to be feasible to do much hiring in the States.
Let's do some back-of-the-envelope math on that, just for fun.

The differences are far less stark than they might appear at first. The assembly-line workers in China work for basically nothing, but the factory owners are making a tidy profit off if their backs. Combine their take with the costs of exporting the figures from China, transporting them to the US and paying the tariffs needed to import them, and you must be looking at a fairly sizable sum.

Now for the sake of argument, let's say that you moved that production to the US and paid the workers minimum wage. Going by that report, assembly-line workers are putting together nine figures per hour. Going off of a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, and you're looking at a whopping $0.81 per figure. It sounds like those folk are the bulk of the workforce, but let's be generous and double that cost to account for management, QC and the folk who are running the molds we're looking $1.62 per. If Hasbro offered an industry-average salary and decent benefits you might double it again, to $3.24. That's all guesswork of course, but it seems reasonable to me and I'm actually surprised at how small the number works out to be.

That's not an insurmountable number at all, and it probably goes down some when you subtract the Chinese production and transport costs. We'd probably be looking at a difference of, what, maybe $2 per Deluxe Transformer when all's said and done. But if that's $2 per unit that Hasbro needs to eat because Walmart won't buy the figures from them for $2 more than they're doing now, it adds up very quickly. I seriously doubt that there's much more than $2 worth of plastic and paint in a figure either, so if Hasbro needed to make up the costs internally the most likely place to do it would be in the design side -- which would mean simpler molds with fewer pieces, and a lot more redecos.

Does anyone know how many units of a given toy are made in a production run? I don't, and I can't find any info on that. But let's give a ballpark estimate of 100,000, just for the sake of discussion. $2 each for 100,000 units produced times the 21 different Deluxes sold in the DOTM line is over $4 million -- about 1% of the company's 2010 annual profit. Take a similar slice out of every single line they run, and it's probably enough to put the company in the red. It sounds to me like they couldn't possibly absorb the cost themselves, so they would have to raise prices to stay afloat. And that would be entirely up to retailers like Walmart.

If Hasbro could get away with raising their wholesale prices by $2, that would probably become $4 by the time the product was on the shelves. So you'd be paying $14, in other words, or less than what I have to pay now. If Hasbro and Hasbro alone did it, they'd definitely be putting themselves at a serious disadvantage. But the problem is only a problem because everyone is building toys in China. If everyone stopped, things would go on just as they always have, maybe with a slight dip in sales to compensate for the raised price. You certainly wouldn't see anything absurd like $20 Legends-class toys, or $50 for a G.I. Joe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
Hard to fault them too much when you see "Worst of all, two of the factories have rules forcing workers to lie to Wal-Mart auditors" in the stories. The Chinese government forcing workers to be silent on treatment? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you! :P
I'm not sure how you connect "random factory somewhere in China" with "ZOMG GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY". China's a huge country. The government can't even enforce copyright law, they'd hardly be able to orchestrate something like this at every employer in the country. They're far too busy futilely trying to censor the internet.

No, this one is all on Walmart. They pressure their suppliers to cut costs -- the article itself says so, and the Lego and supply-chain articles are good examples of the same thing. The suppliers then have to produce the items they're selling to Walmart for less if they want to make a profit, which means spending less money going into the factory, lower worker salaries and poorer working conditions. You can draw a straight line from Walmart's pricing policies all the way back to the dirt-poor people being treated like shit in a Chinese factory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
And, you know what, that's fine. That's not at all illegal, hardly immoral, and not remotely unethical. Wal*Mart is under no obligation to sell anyone else's stuff, and it's perfectly fine for them to apply leverage to companies to keep costs low, packaging reasonable, and so on. I know people like to act like it's a protection racket, but it's really not.
It really is. Walmart uses their massive size to extort lower costs from their suppliers, then turn around and sell the items for less than other stores can afford to. They use their lower prices to drive the competition out of business, then turn around and demand even lower costs from the supplier because they're now the only game in town. Any company that can't get their products on Walmart shelves is losing access to about half of the US retail market, which would essentially be a death-blow, so they have no choice but to do what they're told and cut costs on the production side of things to compensate.

And that's without getting into all the union-busting they do to keep their own wages low and further increase their advantage over other retailers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
For Hasbro's part, take a close look at that toy aisle again. See all those "Iron Man II" toys still around"? "Tron"? "Thor"? Wal*Mart has to eat all of those toys and their associated costs... It works both ways, you see.
If Hasbro was somehow forcing Walmart to buy all those toys, I might have sympathy. But they're not. Walmart (and other retailers) routinely over-order stock from movie lines because they're hoping that the movie will be a big hit and they'll be ahead of the game by having a warehouse full of toys ready to sell. It almost never happens and they know that perfectly well, but they take the risk anyway because they'd rather be in a position to have to sell those toys on to a discount store (still at a profit, mind you, just a smaller one) than get caught with their pants down when a once- or twice-a-decade hit like the first TF movie shows up.

They're gambling, basically. Sometimes they lose. But it's their own choice. If retailers weren't ordering such a stupid amount of movie-line toys, companies like Hasbro wouldn't produce as much.
 
Warcry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-22, 02:59 AM   #36
Selkadoom
Salty Seeker
 
Selkadoom's Avatar
 
Disappointment, AKA Florida
Default

I'm not really surprised, it's actually pretty normal for big companies to due crap like this, but at least their giving people jobs and a source of income, which is better than if Hasbro never built the factory there in the first place.
 
Selkadoom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-22, 04:46 AM   #37
Jaynz
Puppy Kicker
 
Jaynz's Avatar
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
Combine their take with the costs of exporting the figures from China, transporting them to the US and paying the tariffs needed to import them, and you must be looking at a fairly sizable sum.
To the US, tariffs are nearly negligible. The only real cost is physically shipping them across the ocean - which is done on non-union freighters flagged to other countries... I've been told more than once that it costs much more to ship something from San Fransisco to Denver than it does Shanghai to San Fransisco. (No, I don't have numbers here.)

The basic idea is that the US (and Europe) is much more expensive every step of the way than China. Realistically this leaves us three choices. 1) Do without Chinese-made goods competely. 2) Push China into reforms which will normalize their costs. 3) Lower the expected wages of US and European workers.

Which do you think is likely to happen soon?

Quote:
I'm not sure how you connect "random factory somewhere in China" with "ZOMG GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY". China's a huge country. The government can't even enforce copyright law, they'd hardly be able to orchestrate something like this at every employer in the country. They're far too busy futilely trying to censor the internet.
You mistake 'conspiracy' with 'procedure'. China could enforce copyright law, except there's no benefit to China to actually do that, and much more benefit in undercutting it. So, that's the procedure. China made state and government an art form over 2000 years ago.

Quote:
No, this one is all on Walmart. They pressure their suppliers to cut costs -- the article itself says so, and the Lego and supply-chain articles are good examples of the same thing.
So long as the cost-cutting is legitimate, where's the problem again? Again, the only realistic options to the situation as it is now are presented above. Which do you see realistically happening in the near future?

(snips the usual pro-Union anti-Wal*Mart talking points)

Quote:
If Hasbro was somehow forcing Walmart to buy all those toys, I might have sympathy. But they're not.
No, they're in a a mutually beneficial arrangement. Both Hasbro and Wal*Mart get a lot of money by having Hasbro's product on Wal*Mart's distribution sales. That's how it works. Both sides make demands 'at the table' to get the best deal for themselves that they can.
 
Jaynz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-22, 06:03 AM   #38
Warcry
Likes Beast Wars toys. A lot.
 
Warcry's Avatar
 
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
To the US, tariffs are nearly negligible. The only real cost is physically shipping them across the ocean - which is done on non-union freighters flagged to other countries... I've been told more than once that it costs much more to ship something from San Fransisco to Denver than it does Shanghai to San Fransisco. (No, I don't have numbers here.)
I'd actually be very surprised if it wasn't. Shipping by freighter should be very economical -- the labour costs and overhead are very low compared to the volume of cargo that a ship can carry. Shipping something overland by train might be roughly comparable, but trucking it would be a lot more expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
The basic idea is that the US (and Europe) is much more expensive every step of the way than China. Realistically this leaves us three choices. 1) Do without Chinese-made goods competely. 2) Push China into reforms which will normalize their costs. 3) Lower the expected wages of US and European workers.

Which do you think is likely to happen soon?
Hopefully, none of the above. The West needs Chinese-made goods because we've destroyed our own economies to the point where we can't afford to pay for stuff we've made ourselves. And China needs shitty factory jobs like this because right now cheap labour is the only resource the country has to export. The alternative -- the collapse of the Chinese economy and the impoverishment of an entire nation -- is flat-out unacceptable. The worst of the excesses should be curbed, obviously. There's absolutely no excuse to be feeding your workers pig slop and making them live in vermin-infested quarters.

If Western companies pulled out of China en masse it would be a disaster for everyone. We could cope to some extent, because we have (relatively) lots of money. Luxury goods would cost more and a lot more people would be 'poor', but we'd survive. I'm honestly not sure if China could, though. Without billions of foreign dollars pouring into the country through cheap manufacturing, would they be able to afford to import all of the food they need? What about all of the metals and other raw materials they're importing from the West and using to modernize the country's infrastructure? Without manufacturing income China could easily fall into the same pattern of famine and deprivation that exists across the border in North Korea.

I just think we need to be realistic about the economics of this situation if we want our opinions to be taken seriously. I'm seeing people on other boards talking about boycotting Hasbro until they leave China entirely, and other people who seem to think that killing the rats in these workers' living quarters will raise the price of every Transformer by $10. Neither of those positions are realistic, and there's no need to fuel that sort of hysteria by talking about $40/hour salaries or $20 Legion-class toys, because that's equally hyperbole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
You mistake 'conspiracy' with 'procedure'. China could enforce copyright law, except there's no benefit to China to actually do that, and much more benefit in undercutting it. So, that's the procedure. China made state and government an art form over 2000 years ago.
But again, the government has nothing to do with two random factories making cheap shit for Walmart. If it did, if this was the government's wink-wink, nudge-nudge procedure, there would be a lot more than just two factories pulling this kind of crap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
So long as the cost-cutting is legitimate, where's the problem again? Again, the only realistic options to the situation as it is now are presented above. Which do you see realistically happening in the near future?
If the cost-cutting could be done without sacrificing product quality, worker rights or the supplier's own bottom line, they wouldn't need to be constantly forced into it by Walmart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
(snips the usual pro-Union anti-Wal*Mart talking points)
Pro-union? No, the large unions that dominate the modern labour movement are corporations in all but name, running a giant protection racket and showing no interest in what's good for the common member because they've grown so big that the union bosses are professional bureaucrats that have no idea what life for the common member is like. Live in Manitoba for a few years and you'll have the chance to see union after union betray the trust of their members when it's expedient (say, when they're looking for a cheap way to make their NDP allies look good in an election year). The labour movement is a shadow of it's former self and needs to be blown up and rebuild from the ground up.

None of that excuses Walmart's habit of throwing it's weight around to increase their own profits on the backs of suppliers, employees and foreign workers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFVanguard View Post
No, they're in a a mutually beneficial arrangement. Both Hasbro and Wal*Mart get a lot of money by having Hasbro's product on Wal*Mart's distribution sales. That's how it works. Both sides make demands 'at the table' to get the best deal for themselves that they can.
But it is by no means a negotiation between equals. If Hasbro pulls their product from Walmart's shelves, Walmart shrugs and devotes more shelf space to Power Rangers and Beyblade. If Walmart decides to stop selling Hasbro product, Hasbro dies.

Hasbro has zero bargaining power in the relationship.
 
Warcry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-23, 09:54 PM   #39
Jaynz
Puppy Kicker
 
Jaynz's Avatar
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
I'd actually be very surprised if it wasn't. Shipping by freighter should be very economical -- the labour costs and overhead are very low compared to the volume of cargo that a ship can carry. Shipping something overland by train might be roughly comparable, but trucking it would be a lot more expensive.
Again, if they were using US Flagged ships, the costs would be much higher, which is why you see so few US Flagged merchant ships anymore. It's pathetic, really...

Quote:
Hopefully, none of the above. The West needs Chinese-made goods because we've destroyed our own economies to the point where we can't afford to pay for stuff we've made ourselves.
Yet all three things are beginning to happen. China is beginning to normalize. Factories are prefering Mexico and starting to look at Brazil again. And wages are just starting to go down. As a wise man once said, "anything that can't go on forever, simply won't".

Quote:
Neither of those positions are realistic, and there's no need to fuel that sort of hysteria by talking about $40/hour salaries or $20 Legion-class toys, because that's equally hyperbole.
The former isn't if you consider that there would be immense pressure from Washington to make sure new factories would be pro-union and high-wage only (as Boeing about this one). The latter not so much already since Legion-class figures are already costing as much as deluxe class figures just a few years ago. ($8.99 for a Legion in Kohls... and they wonder why their toys don't do so well...)

Quote:
But again, the government has nothing to do with two random factories making cheap shit for Walmart. If it did, if this was the government's wink-wink, nudge-nudge procedure, there would be a lot more than just two factories pulling this kind of crap.
Not really. In China, anything is the government. We're not really used to that in the west, where any manager, any work-boss, etc., are part of the 'Party' and answers the chain on up. Also, the 'culture of pride' means that any sort of bad news is quietly dealt with and hushed up. Dirty launder is not aired.

As I said, China made government bureacracy an art form 2000 years ago.

Quote:
If the cost-cutting could be done without sacrificing product quality, worker rights or the supplier's own bottom line, they wouldn't need to be constantly forced into it by Walmart.
There are plenty of people who run companies that would resort to slave labor if they think they could get away with it, rather than impact even remotely on their own personal lifestyle. A lot of these Chinese factories could, and this has been proven to be the case, improve conditions for a marginal cut in the final take. But the 'leadership', beit the local provincial authority, the work-boss, or whomever doesn't want to cut their share. Screw the guys under them...

In Communism "Some people are more equal than others."

Quote:
But it is by no means a negotiation between equals. If Hasbro pulls their product from Walmart's shelves, Walmart shrugs and devotes more shelf space to Power Rangers and Beyblade. If Walmart decides to stop selling Hasbro product, Hasbro dies.

Hasbro has zero bargaining power in the relationship.
It's not that one-sided. Wal*Mart still needs a variety of product to sell, else there's no reason to shop there. Wal*Mart's real primary advantage is their incredibly-efficient distribution network. Sears and Target could wipe the floor with Wal*Mart overnight if they would adopt Wal*Mart's distribution model... but that conflicts with their intended upper-middle-class image. :S

You're talking about changing cultural attitudes here. While not impossible, it's a lot more involved than any of us bitching on www.tfarchive.com are likely to achieve.
 
Jaynz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2011-12-24, 12:54 PM   #40
Skyquake87
One with the Matrix
 
Skyquake87's Avatar
 
Default

I asked hasbro if i could be kept informed of any developments regarding this.

I had a response from hasbro yesterday saying the ngo allegations are "unfounded" having been out themselves to check the conditions in the factory. They carried out a 9 hour unannounced inspection and found no evidence of the claims raised by ngo in their report. They will continue to monitor the jetfair factory in question along with all the other factories they use,including further jetfair ones.
 
Skyquake87 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
 
 
[the-hub.co.uk]
[transfans.co.uk]
[oneshallstand]
[unicron.com]
[counter-x.net]
[ntfa.net]
[allspark.com]
[transformertoys.co.uk]
[tfu.info]
[botchthecrab.com]
[obscure_tf]
[tfradio.net]
 

[TFArchive button]
Link graphics...

BOOKMARK US
Or in FF, hit Ctrl+D.