Corporate culture, haste reportedly at core of Samsung mishandling of Note 7 situation

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The Galaxy Note 7 botched recall was apparently induced as a result of corporate secrecy plus a lack of communication between test engineers -- and the company still can't reproduce the fires in the testing labs.









According to the New York Times, after it acknowledged a problem with the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung took all the internal steps it deemed necessary to discover the root cause of the problems. However, despite having a crew of "hundreds of employees" working on the problem, it may have misdiagnosed the initial problem, or have accidentally induced another in the post-refit device.



Two former Samsung employees told the New York Times that corporate culture is "militaristic," specifically that orders trickled down from the top, altered by upper and middle management along the way. Compounding the problem, decisions surrounding the recall and investigation were made by executives who didn't necessarily understand the underlying technologies involved.

"It didn't take many years for Nokia to tumble from its position as the world's top cellphone maker" -- Chosun Ilbo, South Korea's largest newspaper

After a very brief examination, Samsung decided to recall the Galaxy Note 7 phones with the Samsung SDI batteries, because of demonstrated pinching near rounded corners and defects in insulating tape. For the replacements, Samsung shifted entirely to Amperex Technology batteries, which presumably didn't have the same shortcomings.



Samsung's evaluation proved to be wrong, and the solution inadequate. Nearly immediately, reports started circulating about fires in replacement units. On Monday, after a weekend of baffling communication with the public, the company completely stopped production of the Galaxy Note 7, and will no longer offer the phone for sale or exchange.



"It was too quick to blame the batteries; I think there was nothing wrong with them or that they were not the main problem," said former director of the Center for Advanced Batteries at the Korea Electronics Technology Institute Park Chul-wan. "The problem seems to be far more complex."



Complex problems need equally complicated solutions. In this case, the solution is a ceramic-lined mailing box sent to customers to return the defective phones, adding to the expense of the debacle.









Employees involved in the post-recall testing claimed that they were required to keep communications about the evaluation process offline, with e-mails and other accountable forms of communication forbidden. Samsung allegedly feared lawsuits and subpoenas as a result of the fires, leading to the drastic restrictions on staff.



It's not clear still what the root cause of the fires were in the first generation of the product, and what they are in the replacements. Most of the reported fires with the initial release were during charging, according to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).



The follow-up replacement unit fires don't seem to have that commonality, with most of the reported fires happening during normal use, or when powered off completely in the case of the evacuated flight because of an incident with the Galaxy Note 7 on the runway in Kentucky.



Samsung drew complaints from the CPSC in how it handled the initial "voluntary recall" of the device. Samsung reports that it is still working on the investigation as it has not yet found the problems causing the second round of fires, and is "fully cooperating" with the commission this time.



As a result of the Note 7 production stop, Samsung has cut its third quarter profit estimates by $2.3 billion. The damage may be more long-lasting than one quarter of less profit, however.



"You cannot really calculate the loss of consumer trust in money," said South Korea's largest newspaper Chosun Ilbo in an editorial. "It didn't take many years for Nokia to tumble from its position as the world's top cellphone maker."
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Comments

  • Reply 2 of 64
    irelandireland Posts: 17,452member
    Lack of culture and values.
    bdkennedy1002mwhitelongpathmighuelpscooter63jahbladelolliverdigitoljony0cornchip
  • Reply 3 of 64
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 249member
    My girlfriend has a Note 5 at it gets quite hot when in the case. After the fires she charges it outside the case. 
    Im wondering if the compactness of the design that everyone loves about the current Samsung products aren't contributing to the fires; as in, they don't allow heat to dissipate properly.
    edited October 2016 longpathcornchipwatto_cobraspice-boybadmonkcali
  • Reply 4 of 64
    thrangthrang Posts: 743member
    There should be software and circuitry that shuts down a device long before sizzling...heat dissipation should be monitorable. This is a runaway malfunction...
    longpathpatchythepiratedigitolwatto_cobrabadmonkcali
  • Reply 5 of 64
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 249member
    thrang said:
    There should be software and circuitry that shuts down a device long before sizzling...heat dissipation should be monitorable. This is a runaway malfunction...
    I wonder if cases had anything do do with it? i saw at least one of the burned phones in an otterbox case. I would imagine anyone buying such a large and expensive phone would put a cover on it. 
    ...just spit-balling here..
    edited October 2016 longpath
  • Reply 7 of 64
    I'm sure that all of Samsung's test engineers are testing at the office, using a nice steady commercial electricity supply and quality power adapters. They should try it out on old flaky residential wiring using cheap third party power adapters. I'm sure they'd see a different result in reproducing the issues then.
    qwwerawatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 64
    BluntBlunt Posts: 219member
    qwwera said:
    Im wondering if the compactness of the design that everyone loves about the current Samsung products
    Everyone loves? Well i don't like their designs at all. Design is in the details.
    peterhartlongpathpscooter63h2plollivercornchipstarwarswatto_cobraapplepieguycali
  • Reply 9 of 64
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,589member
    When you are copycat company who is always trying to develop in one year a feature that your competitor has been developing for several years, some corners tend to be cut.
    edited October 2016 andrewj5790peterhartlongpathlkruppjahbladebdkennedy1002jbdragonstanthemanmagman1979lolliver
  • Reply 10 of 64
    Samsung has no scruples, no ethics, no reflection
    longpathpatchythepiratejahbladeh2pjbdragonmagman1979lolliverstukemobiuswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 64
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 249member
    Blunt said:
    qwwera said:
    Im wondering if the compactness of the design that everyone loves about the current Samsung products
    Everyone loves? Well i don't like their designs at all. Design is in the details.
    I guarantee you that Apples next iPhones are going to be far more compact than the current models. 
    They just won't catch fire.

    I like the compactness, that's why I have both an SE as my all-around go-to phone as well as a 7 Plus. It's the catching fire part I could do without.
    watto_cobrabadmonkcali
  • Reply 12 of 64
    qwwera said:
    My girlfriend has a Note 5 at it gets quite hot when in the case. After the fires she charges it outside the case. 
    Im wondering if the compactness of the design that everyone loves about the current Samsung products aren't contributing to the fires; as in, they don't allow heat to dissipate properly.
    You better get her a fire extinguisher.
    magman1979lolliverwatto_cobraapplepieguycali
  • Reply 13 of 64



    lol
    Samsung Style!
    nolamacguyboltsfan17h2pmagman1979lolliverwelshdogjony0anantksundaramkuduwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 64
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member
    Oh they *are* cultural values. Ones that are about seniority, honour (family, patriarchal), position, and saving face. 

    They simply don't work in this day and age when it comes to the connection between products and their customers. 

    It used to be this way in many of the Asian airlines, for example (still is, in some respects.) It was seen as disrespectful and otherwise improper for subordinates (like the First Officer) to question the Captain or take the controls for the greater good, even when the latter was obviously in the wrong (and sometimes dangerously so.) This resulted in bad cockpit resource management, in turn resulting in entirely preventable tragedies.

    The problem is very much cultural. Not everything translates well (or safely) into the 21st century. 
    pscooter63patchythepirateh2pmagman1979lolliveraylkktappebadmonkcali
  • Reply 15 of 64
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,282member

    Employees involved in the post-recall testing claimed that they were required to keep communications about the evaluation process offline, with e-mails and other accountable forms of communication forbidden. Samsung allegedly feared lawsuits and subpoenas as a result of the fires, leading to the drastic restrictions on staff.

    add to that being caught lying to everyone, and fabricating information to make themselves look better to the public and investors.  Samsung getting caught doing exactly that during the Samsung/Apple lawsuit a few years ago proved exactly that.

    Just a corrupt company to its core.  I am loving the schadenfreude happening to Samsung.
    patchythepirateh2plolliverjony0kuduwatto_cobrabadmonkcali
  • Reply 16 of 64
    mr4jsmr4js Posts: 54member
    Samsung must have collaborated with Philips engineers (Known Pot Heads) in the design of the Galaxy 7. Both very sleazy outfits.  

    Samsung and Philips are the two biggest Turds in technology.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/philips-infineon-samsung-face-eu-antitrust-fines-050110597--finance.html?ref=gs

    https://www.engadget.com/2012/12/05/eu-tv-cartel-fine/
  • Reply 17 of 64
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,557member
    Can't blame Sammy too much. They couldn't copy an Apple recall since iPhones don't explode.  
    patchythepirateh2plollivercornchipkuduwatto_cobraapplepieguycali
  • Reply 18 of 64
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,589member
    sflocal said:

    Employees involved in the post-recall testing claimed that they were required to keep communications about the evaluation process offline, with e-mails and other accountable forms of communication forbidden. Samsung allegedly feared lawsuits and subpoenas as a result of the fires, leading to the drastic restrictions on staff.

    add to that being caught lying to everyone, and fabricating information to make themselves look better to the public and investors.  Samsung getting caught doing exactly that during the Samsung/Apple lawsuit a few years ago proved exactly that.

    Just a corrupt company to its core.  I am loving the schadenfreude happening to Samsung.
    You'd think Samsung is a company that would have a convicted felon for its CEO.  Oh, wait.
    paul turnerpatchythepiratejahbladeh2pmagman1979lolliverjony0anantksundaramstompykudu
  • Reply 19 of 64
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,468member
    mr4js said:
    Samsung must have collaborated with Philips engineers (Known Pot Heads) in the design of the Galaxy 7. Both very sleazy outfits.  

    Samsung and Philips are the two biggest Turds in technology.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/philips-infineon-samsung-face-eu-antitrust-fines-050110597--finance.html?ref=gs

    https://www.engadget.com/2012/12/05/eu-tv-cartel-fine/
    Potheads gave us the personal computer and, even better, the Macintosh. And they were acidheads as well. (Maybe that's the crucial difference.)
    king editor the gratekiltedgreenjony0roundaboutnowaylkktappeapplepieguycali
  • Reply 20 of 64
    qwweraqwwera Posts: 249member
    dartro said:
    I'm sure that all of Samsung's test engineers are testing at the office, using a nice steady commercial electricity supply and quality power adapters. They should try it out on old flaky residential wiring using cheap third party power adapters. I'm sure they'd see a different result in reproducing the issues then.
    ...and then have it running all the applications people have running in the background like facebook and god knows what else..

    ...and then put it in a thick case,

    ...in a device with a huge battery. Probably among the biggest in a mobile device.

    then put it in someone's pocket, or under whatever circumstances.

    Obviously Samsung failed in Quality assurance somewhere along the line. And that they can't seem to replicate what is causing the problem makes them look even worse.

    edited October 2016 watto_cobraktappecali
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