How the wrong shade of grey cost Lego millions

Small details can have big consequences. That’s a lesson Danish toy giant Lego found out the hard way when the wrong grey colour cost it some 10 million kroner ($1.6 million, €1.3 million).

How the wrong shade of grey cost Lego millions
Lego caught the colour error before hit it retail outlets. Photo: The LEGO Group
The Billund-based company wrote in its current members magazine that a human error in 2015 resulted in the recall of 129,000 Lego sets. 
The sets, which included such popular lines as Lego Star Wars and Lego Creator, were supposed to include dark grey Lego boxes but were instead packed with light grey pieces. 
The mistake was traced to Lego’s Billund factory and it was discovered that an employee had attached the wrong colour label to a colour tube. 
Although Lego discovered the error before the sets hit retail stores, the company had to call in vacationing employees from the Czech Republic and Hungary to repack the sets. 
Lego then invested 400,000 kroner in a project meant to avoid similar mistakes in the future by changing the lighting levels in the factory and allowing workers to pre-print the colour labels. 
The entire episode cost The Lego Group 10 million kroner, according to the company. That sum is peanuts for a company that enjoyed record revenues in 2016, at 37.9 billion kroner ($5.2 billion, €5 billion). Lego's net profit was 9.4 billion kroner. 
The employee involved in the mishap did not face any consequences. 


Denmark’s toy giant Lego offers staff bonus after bumper year

Danish toymaker Lego, the world's largest toymaker, Denmark's Lego, said on Tuesday it will offer its 20,000 employees three extra days of holiday and a special bonus after a year of bumper revenues.

Lego is rewarding staff with a Christmas bonus and extra holiday after a strong 2022.
Lego is rewarding staff with a Christmas bonus and extra holiday after a strong 2022. File photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

Already popular globally, Lego has seen demand for its signature plastic bricks soar during the pandemic alongside its rapid expansion in China.

“The owner family wishes to… thank all colleagues with an extra three days off at the end of 2021,” the company said in a statement.

The unlisted family group reported a net profit of more than 6.3 billion Danish kroner (847 million euros) for the first half of 2021.

Revenues shot up 46 percent to 23 billion kroner in the same period.

It had been “an extraordinary year for the Lego Group and our colleagues have worked incredibly hard,” said the statement, which added that an unspecified special bonus would be paid to staff in April 2022.

Lego, a contraction of the Danish for “play well” (leg godt), was founded in 1932 by Kirk Kristiansen, whose family still controls the group which employs about 20,400 people in 40 countries.

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