Flawed factory inspections?
Routine factory inspections are an essential part of the manufacturing process. They not only ensure and measure quality, they are a means for many large corporations—who frequently outsource their production to cheaper, developing countries—to ensure the public that they promote safe and ethical practices.
A recent article in the New York Times has, however, revealed several flaws in the factory auditing process. The report gives details of the lengths factory owners are willing to go in order to cheat some inspection methods and cover-up regulatory and human rights violations.
Under particular scrutiny are monitoring companies commissioned by corporations, which use over-simplified methods for factory inspections. They use a simple check-list audit, asking mostly yes or no questions. Often under pressure to work quickly, they spend an average of 6-8 hours conducting an inspection of a 1,000 employee factory. In some cases, some auditors have only received five days of training. In addition, many factory owners drill their employees ahead of time, and put them under pressure to answer factory inspectors’ answers vaguely, if not to lie altogether.
In one factory located in China, managers prepared cheat-sheets for how employees should respond to questions. For example when asked: “Are there injury records?” They were instructed to reply, “Have not heard of any work-related injuries.”
The alarming discrepancy between the reports brought back to organizations and the actual factory working conditions has led to several tragic outcomes in recent times.
To read more, click here.
Tesco charged with further horse-play
The saga continues for Tesco and its horsemeat scandal. In an attempt to regain composure, and mitigate public scrutiny, the supermarket chain released an advertising campaign, with one advert that included the phrase: “It’s about some of the ways we get meat to your dinner table. It’s about the whole food industry.” This allegedly implied that all retailers and suppliers were involved in the horsemeat scandal, selling or supplying contaminated products.
Two complaints in response to the advert were raised to the Advertising Standards Agency, for claims that it was misrepresentative, and was damaging for suppliers who had no association with the scandal.
The advertisement has now been banned by the ASA. Although Tesco acknowledged that not all parties in the food industry have been involved and implicated in the sale of contaminated products, they did add that the ASA had taken “[a] very literal view of the wording in the advert.”
To read more, click here.
How Steve Jobs saved Apple and successfully managed his supply chain
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan.
Failure, especially supply chain failure, is never a good thing for an organization. For the figure head, and the innovator, it is however a harsh reality: In order to succeed, you must be prepared to fail. Steve Jobs understood this, learning to turn past losses into colossal victories.
In 1985, Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple Inc. He returned in 1997, and turned around a company facing bankruptcy, that was producing a “random array of computers and peripherals,” to one that revolutionized the music, phone, tablet computing, retail, and digital publishing industries.
It was however not blind luck that made Steve Jobs second tenure as the head of Apple a heralded success. A deceptively simple, yet clever business plan and some interesting supply chain practices were the keys to leading his company to triumph.
A graphic published in Supply Chain 24/7, shows 7 Supply Chain Lessons we could learn from Steve Jobs. Of particular interest, and most vital, is that the consumer must always be placed first, and reducing costs comes second. At the core of Apple’s innovation philosophy, is that quality and great products will sell themselves, but corners cannot be cut in the design and manufacturing process. Further points that were emphasized as being essential to Apple’s success were his emphasis on setting impossible targets as a means of pushing the boundaries of what many would consider to be conceivable. Additionally, Jobs promoted intense focus on a few key features or designs, and perfected them—a high quality over quantity approach.
To see the graphic and read more about the 7 Supply Chain Lessons, click here.
Have a great weekend!