In the QC business, the worst a supplier can do is denounce an inspector to the buyer for corruption. Sometimes it is true, and I’m happy they open up about it. But I investigated some cases where all appearances were against the supplier, who was actually fed up with our inspections that always pointed to serious issues in production.
There is something else I hate: suppliers who pretend that it’s normal to give money to inspectors, and that I should not try to prevent it.
Last week, one of my inspectors told me about a factory that tried to give him an envelope of cash. I sent an email to the trading agent (located in North America), and another one to my client… Better be totally transparent and encourage every party to communicate about it.
Here is the response I got from the trading company (with some small changes here and there, but the meaning is the same):
[The factory manager] said in china, it was normal to do like this as most factories just wanted to show their thanks to the inspectors, like “tips” in western countries. Not only [the factory manager]’s factory is doing this. And he also mentioned that he did this after the report was already faxed to [the buyer] as they didn’t want to disturb his judgment and made them feel that there is any problem about their quality. You can also check and confirm with your employee of the time when the cash was given to him.
[The factory manager] said if you dislike this, they would respect your point of view and never do this again.
And here is my response:
I see. I’m not surprised. But it is absolutely forbidden in our company. And it is also absolutely forbidden in other inspection companies (ITS, SGS, BV…). That’s why I sent you the conditions in English and Chinese, to pass to the factory. Please please please tell [the factory manager] to never do it again. It is very important.
When cash (or gifts) are passed between the factory and the inspector, even if it’s after the report was faxed, it definitely affects the behavior and the decisions of the same inspector when he comes back in the same factory. Our job is to pass the true information to our client, and we don’t want anything to prevent it.
I know the “system” is a bit different in China, but suppliers are using it as an excuse to justify their bad habits. Here is how I see it: they are exporting to other countries, so they should act as their foreign customers would expect. Am I requiring too much??
Related post: Corruption of quality inspectors