Any cracks in your suppliers’ ethics?

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
15 September 2010

Last night I went to see a play. Bully for you, I hear you say. Bear with me… It was about family, war, loss, relationships – but essentially it was about business.At the heart of All My Sons by Arthur Miller was a story about a company churning out vital airplane components during WW2 (and making lots of money in the process). There was pressure to produce at pace and when a batch of parts were discovered to be faulty (hairline cracks had appeared during their manufacture), the factory covered them up with paint and shipped them out regardless. They hurried to rectify the problem, and blindly hoped the defective units would not ultimately be used. To these suppliers the situation was black and white, there was no way out: own up and they would lose their business, do nothing and US pilots could die - and they might just get found out and lose the business anyway. What do you do if your supplier comes to you with a serious problem about a core component? How would you handle it?

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