Some years ago, the Quality Director of one of our key customers requested to audit some of our suppliers on a round trip in Asia .
Normally, the purpose of a quality audit is a related to hard core product parameters like system audit, product quality and delivery. In this case, however, the Quality Manager’s intention was to ensure that all items are produced in accordance with the company’s Code of Conduct with respect to
Issues which have always been of our concern, and of course we dealt with them at EA-Connect already, but I suspected we could improve on the more “soft” issues, and I picked out a broad spectrum of suppliers within machining, die casting sheet metal, and surface treatment for inspection.
Together, we went to several suppliers in Singapore, Malaysia, China and Taiwan.
No doubt, my travel companion feared that we were no better than the average supplier: lacking sufficient knowledge of the working conditions on the production sites in Asia.
To my great pleasure, we found no ground for his worries.
Some of the otherwise well-run companies got remarks, on which I immediately followed up, and this may sound strange, but I was pleased to bump into some of these issues. They gave me an opportunity to listen and learn – and we have improved a lot within the area of Corporate Social Responsibility.
But the Quality Director was also wiser on the way home.
When working conditions in Asia are mentioned in the media, we usually hear stories about horrible incidents where all security considerations have been disregarded. But well-run companies do exist, and we visited several.
One was an aluminum die casting in Malaysia. Our eyes met a shiny clean factory, with all employees wearing clothes in colors according to their line of work and security level. No matter what we addressed, they were in control, whether it regarded extraction devices or fire extinction – everything was the finest. Actually, the quality manager asked the factory for a few procedures which he could use for improvements back at his own plant.
I knew they were professional, but I was really impressed, as was the Quality Director.
This was, compared to other facilities around the world, state of the art, and we both learned a thing or two at our visit there.
Every time, I visit production facilities in Asia, I value our round trip at the time – it became the first of several. And I guess, I did learn something, because: Today they leave the inspection all to me. This I’m very proud of…