A Surge in Major League Baseball Giveaway Defects

Posted on August 18, 2014 | in Baseball, Defects, Error-Proofing, Lean Oops, Lean Wastes, Manufacturing, Poka Yoke, Quality, Scrap, Sports | by
troy tulowitzki

A Colorado Rockies star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki jersey t-shirt giveaway promotion went wrong.

Over the last 30 days, there have been at least three significantly notable Major League Baseball giveaway snafus with roots in poor quality.

First, the Colorado Rockies celebrated their superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki with a t-shirt jersey giveaway with his name misspelled late last month (see above photo). 15,000 shirts, all with just one T on the back. The team’s response?

“Acknowledging that many fans came to the game for the jersey, rather than disappoint them, we decided to go ahead and hand them out.

We have made plans to reproduce the jersey and fans wishing to exchange will be able to do so at a future date (TBD) in September at Coors Field or the Rockies Dugout Stores. In addition, fans exchanging the jersey will receive a complimentary ticket to a future game in 2014 or 2015.”

That was followed up with a W.B. Mason truck with team logos given away as a promotional item at a Mets game:

wb mason truck mets phillies

This W.B. Mason truck given away at a Mets game features a cab with the Phillies logo. Oops again.

Never mind that the Phillies and Mets play in the same division (the NL East) and are rivals. The trucks were produced by an external vendor named Hit Promotional Products. How did the vendor respond to that defect?

Unfortunately, this turned out to be a case of human error during the packaging stage of production, and we apologize that a few manufactured units of the incorrectly branded truck were placed in the wrong team packaging. We believe this is a very isolated issue that hadn’t occurred in the past but will address to make sure mistakes like this don’t occur in the future.

And lastly, the Detroit Tigers gave away bobbleheads commemorating Miguel Cabrera’s two MVP awards:

miguel cabrera bobblehead

Miguel Cabrera has won two MVP awards… (photo by team)

Upon closer inspection…

cabrera mvp bobblehead

…unfortunately he actually won them in the American League. (photo from Twitter)

The Detroit Tigers play in the American League, where Miggy won his MVP awards – not the National League.

Major League teams and minor league teams as well rely on outside vendors for promotional products – and that makes sense, seeing how short-run novelty item manufacturing is not part of any team’s key processes. However, poor quality in promotional items is everyone’s fault – the manufacturers should not have produced bad quality, and the teams should have done a better job of planning for and inspecting the merchandise upon its arrival.

Why was poor quality produced in the first place?

With the Tulowitzki jerseys, it isn’t clear if there was a final team approval of a proof/design before production. Most individuals in Rockies team marketing are probably well-versed in spelling Tulowitzki seeing how he’s one of their players and it’s such an uncommon name the reps probably had to take a spelling test specifically on it before receiving job offers. (Kidding.)

But now, the 15,000 shirts are eligible to be swapped out for replacement jerseys (and old jerseys are scrapped), the team and the sponsor (King Soopers) are associated with bad quality, and the team incurs the additional cost of giving away ticket vouchers for future games. The production company loses out on up to 15,000 extra jerseys given away free while bearing production costs, and the team bears the expense of lost ticket revenue and the handling costs of swapping jerseys and tickets out.

Hit Promotional Products blames “human error” for the Phillies trucks getting into the Mets packaging, and also calls this an isolated incident. Well, was it? How do you know? If the company had proper systems in place for preventing human error to cause defects like this, wouldn’t this have been done properly? How did Phillies trucks get connected to Mets packaging during production in the first place? Were these trucks produced in China where very little quality distinction is made between logos when hand-packing these giveaways?

The same thing goes with the Miguel Cabrera bobbleheads. Most bobbleheads are made in China. These came from another promotional products company, Forever Collectibles.Granted, it is very hard to tell the difference between American and National on the MVP award stickers without super-close inspection, but it still happened and the Tigers still got undesirable attention for the messed-up giveaways.

Promotional items from giveaways are intended to be created on the cheap. That being said:

poor quality low price

(from LinkedIn)

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