It is Thursday at 4:00 pm and you are ready to leave your office at a large beauty care products company. You will take your family on a long weekend escape. As you check the last emails, you find in your inbox a long chain: “Consumer complaint: dying color #A4.7”. Last weekend, a consumer rang the toll-free number printed in the box of your top-selling brand in the hair-dying category.
The consumer wanted to dye her hair to red (color #A4.7) and after applying the product to herself at home and rinsing it, her hair turned black. The call center followed the standard procedure:
· Explained to the consumer that sometimes the resulting tone may be different from the color shown in the picture of the box.
· Asked for the address of the consumer and sent her free product samples.
· Informed the Beauty Care Specialist who rang the consumer back and reported: “She must have mixed the colorant agent with the previous product she kept at home. Miss Smith said that she is constantly changing the tone of her hair and that she doesn’t use our revealing cream . While opening the product box she must have switched the colorant agent #A4.7 with the black colorant agent (#B2.0) that she bought before. She confirmed this could have been a possibility. I offered her to stop by our Salon for a free Beauty Consultation.”
As you read through the long email chain you learn about a second case reported on Monday. Your largest customer said that a consumer returned your product. The consumer claimed that she bought the red tone and after applying, her hair turned black.
Responding to this claim, the Beauty Care Specialist went personally to buy a red color box. He mixed the colorant agent with the revealing cream and the resulting mix turned out to be black instead of red. His email closed saying: “It seems that the colorant agent #B2.0 has been mislabeled as #A4.7. Red colorant is mostly used by older women who like to dye their white hair. So there must be a couple of grannies around the city with stunning black hair.”
The next email is from the Quality Department, who got cced at some point, saying:
“It is unlikely to have mislabeled black dying product as red. Both colorant agents #B2.0 and #A4.7 share the same chemical Ceteareth-25 to form an emulsion, this helps decrease the thickness of the revealing cream and the color agent mixture.
When the production line overdoses Ceteareth-25 for color #A4.7 the resulting color agent could become darker than the intended red. And depending on the amount of overdose, it could take a range of shades from brown to black.
The formula card for color #A4.7 indicates a dose of 53ml of Ceteareth-25 per liter of the color agent. It is impossible to dose the exact amount of Ceteareth-25 in every product box. This is why we print in the box that the final results may vary from the image in the box.
Through random testing, we check every production batch using the reported known standard deviation of the number of Cetereth-25 of 0.1 ml per liter. We did not find abnormal values recently. Maybe at some point, the production line was overdosing Ceteareth-25 and we did not detect it. But we always keep 2,500 product boxes of every batch in our quarantine storeroom.
Every once in a while someone would have a darker tone than desired. Some consumers would report black color in their hair with the slightest overdose of Ceteareth-25 depending on the type of hair and shampoo and other hair products they use. These two consumers could be just a coincidence. On the other hand, it could be that a large portion of a batch, if not all, has an overdose of Ceteareth-25. If consumers are reporting black, it means that the amount of Ceteareth-25 surpassed the threshold for red tones of 55.7 ml per liter.”
The last exchanges of emails seem a bit heated. The recently appointed Brand Manager wants to recall the product from every single store immediately. She claims that this issue could damage the brand’s reputation. The Logistics Manager, who has worked in the company for years, replied:
“Which issue? We always have color complaints from consumers, it even happened to my wife once.
What you are proposing would cost 750,000 USD plus who knows how much in lost sales. This is the lowest selling SKU of the category and we don’t have enough stock to replenish the stores. The plant cannot schedule a new production cycle of red color until 12 days, at the earliest. Plus the time it will take to get back to the stores. Customers with slow supply chains would have red color back on the shelf after 25 days if we execute the recall.”
The email has landed on you, as the Beauty Division Head, to take a decision on recall or not. But you must leave the office soon as your family awaits for you to go on vacation.
 Hair dying product consists of two plastic bottles: a) A colorant agent to pigment the hair and b) a revealing cream that activates the colorant. The coloring of the hair is caused by the chemical reaction of mixing these two. The substances cannot be packed together because the resulting emulsion grows in volume. Hence, the plastic bottle containing them would break. Some consumers buy their own revealing cream from professional salons because it contains more conditioners to protect their hair. And they buy the full colorant box from known brands at a retail shop, to use only the colorant agent.
Dye me Red or Not? Part A.
Write a step-by-step procedure on what should your team do, following statistic techniques learned in class, to make an informed decision about recalling the product or not. Your procedure must be very detailed so that they can follow it while you are away. None of the members of your team have taken a statistics course; if you use statistics jargon they will have no clue what to do.
Dye me Red or Not? Part B.
Assume your procedure above is spotless. And your team has now done what you asked them to. And they send you the results in an excel file. Similarly, assume that you are now on holiday and you don’t have access to wifi any more. Neither can you contact them to ask follow-up questions All you have is the file they have attached here:
Run statistics techniques learned in class. What can you conclude out of all the fuzzy information in the email chain? Is it likely that we overdosed? Based on your results what should the company do now? Shall they recall the product? Why yes or why no? Write a persuasive argument to the CEO of the company, on this important decision.
Submit a word document with less than 400 words answering questions to parts A and B. Include in your submission an Excel file with your supporting calculations.
Mind Bender Rollescoaster. Part C
Unconnected with the case above.
Watch these two videos
In less than 350 words, discuss the following statement:
· Based on the accidents in La Feria and Mind Bender, governments MUST regulate any project that involves safety. Business cannot be trusted with never sacrificing quality so that the cost-time-quality triangle continue fitting. In other words, business is by definition “evil” and this permeates into the analysis of business processes and quality control practices as well.
Now, watch this video:
In about 150 words, discuss whether it is wise/expected that the very same roller coaster is going to be relocated and turn operational in 2021. Is this just confirming that business is inherently “evil”? Or does this imply that some countries are incompetent in keeping their citizens safe when it comes to high-speed rides?
Submit a word document with your answer to all questions regarding the rollercoaster