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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The backlash from outsourcing's a bitch, eh? But hey, you saved money.

22249020 I've written on the China mess before but now it seems that it will not be food, nor pet food, water, toothpaste or counterfeit drugs that mark the last straw for China. Now they've messed with our kids.

The thing is, "they" didn't mess with them. But that will be the scapegoat used, I fear. See it works like so: WE trusted them--"we" being the companies that outsource to them and "we" being the customers who trust the companies that do so--to do right by us. And at a mighty fine rate per hour.

I absolutely give HUGE (!) props to all the smart outsourcing going on --but for the RIGHT reasons like infusing expertise, ensuring quality, improving service and fueling innovation (partnering is a smart move to get new groovy stuff to market).

BUT, I will be very disappointed if, when all is said and done, we as a nation--and, particularly, we in the business environment--point the finger at "them" for these lapses. When we should be looking to ourselves since we already know that in markets high and low, local and abroad, you get what you pay for.

And what we paid for were shortcuts.

The thing is, those shortcuts always mattered -- look to this country's food and water regulations and you'll see we've set the standard. Look at our consumer protections and you'll find among the finest. How could we possibly be so ignorant (arrogant?) to think that these regulations are naturally outsourced, too?  Because the thinking wasn't driven by safety, or quality, but by savings.

It's a bitter and likely, counterfeit pill to swallow. But it's one that we need to forever (and ever) learn from because responsibility and accountability pave the way to recovery. Yes, trust is now your core priority and, no, it don't come cheap.

Now ain't that a bitch?

Disclaimer: I have nothing personal against the country of China. Oh wait, yes I do: I don't respect (or trust) their government. But I've tremendous respect for their people...especially those whose brave acts still inspire me to this day (I promise to never forget your courage to make things better).

PS: For all the companies that did not--and would not--sacrifice best practices to better their bottom lines, this is your much-deserved day to shine. Promote your safety standards and compliance scores like crazy as you deserve a HUGE return on the investment you made in protecting and respecting your customers us. Don't feel at all shy about getting people to heart you much more. Who knew safety would become a differentiator again? But if you follow it, definitely flaunt it ;-).

Comments

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CK,
The point I made in my post yesterday was that we cannot blame China for a problem we created. When a company cuts corners to the extent that they no longer check their suppliers from US, Mexico, or China sources they will get burned. It was a failure of the management in China as well as the US and every link in between. What we are not doing is holding anyone personally responsible.

It often becomes apparent to companies after they get into an offshoring deal that the cost of oversight is as great or greater than the cost of having the production at home. When you have closed the factory it is hard to open it again. Suppliers know this. They factor in the cost of change.

There should be a high price to be paid by the whole chain of command in this mess. Ignorance is no excuse for disobeying the law. The law of supply and demand. If you do not demand, and verify, high quality, you will be supplied with low quality.

I'll add you to my list of blogs expressing outrage. I had a hard time finding many yesterday when I looked.

@Roger: "I'll add you to my list of blogs expressing outrage. I had a hard time finding many yesterday when I looked."

Well, I did use the word "bitch" (twice) so I'm expressing outrage for a lot maybe. We're all covering a lot of ground is all.

I want to just hit home how this falls under social responsibility and how being responsible never was trendy--nor is it a trend that will ever be replaced or an area to squeeze savings out of. As for balance-sheet speak, we need humans to be safe and healthy, that way they buy more stuff. (Sigh.)

"Trade with Red China!" the dumb ass, unpatriotic CEOs screamed greedily, hysterically.

China is an oppressive, persecuting, repressive pile of dung.

Now the poison products are poised to ruin those idiotic corporations. Good. Riddance. LOL

I can't find a post on here about Lewis Green's recent trolling of Valeria Maltoni's post on Top Women Marketing Bloggers....

... so congrats for making the short list, and here's one of the comments I posted on his stupid blog:

You're extremely sexist, arrogant, and dictatorial, in this instance, Lewis.

This post, trying to guilt-trip Valeria, a close friend of mine, makes me want to vomit on your carpet.

Your calling a she-blogger recognition group "exclusionary" is ridiculous.

We can't group now, in lawful assembly?

No "Top Teen Blogger" list? No "Best Asian Lesbian Blogger" list?

What gives you the right to disrespect any group that is based on encouragement, and not hatred of others?

You, a white male blogger, member of a dominant group, are harshing a marginalized group, female marketing bloggers.

Your attitude is annoyingly patriarchal womb-envy and female-phobic.

@Vaspers: Thanks. The visual of your vomitting on a carpet reminds me of the first post of yours that I commented (remember, it was about puke?) Good times, my friend.

I didn't get real bent-out-of-shape on that post; I enjoyed the conversation. I've been getting bent-out-of-shape on non-bloggy stuff like Dow and China. And I think tomorrow some race and religion.

We'll see, everyday holds a new gem and a new gripe. Do love having you back here (readers: Vaspers is one of my long-time blog friends).

@Vaspers: "China is an oppressive, persecuting, repressive pile of dung."

I'm gonna almost agree with you here, k? "The Chinese GOV'T is an oppressive, persecuting repressive pile of dung" rings right with me. I really do want to be fair to their people, being they have not.

It's a very complicated issue which I do not understand in any level to communicate something meaningful.

I will say that historically China has always been imperial. While the current dynasty's name is communism, I see it as no different than any of the many dynasties that have reigned over the past three millenium. In that sense, culturally speaking, it's going to be very hard for that country to get past an "empire" mentality.

@Geoff: Thanks much; it appears now and will likely appear to be the official case shortly is just what Roger is saying above (and what I'm griping over in the post). We put savings/profit margins ahead of people--and that's putting us back many ages.

I hope 2 things:
1) That the AMERICAN co's take responsibility for this mess (this is not a "them" issue, this was "our" decision and OUR lack of supervision, checks and balances).

2) American Co's that have been prudent and compliant receive their due. This is their time to shine and I absolutely believe they should be front and center...sets a good example and think of it not only as a shrewd strategy but as "good corporate karma".

As for China, they have a huge mess on their hands. From my last post on them they're looking at $100-million just for safety regs insofar as food/water...that doesn't even touch on the other internal work they need do. Big mess for them.

@Geoff: Sorry...I meant $100 BILLION (not $100 million). Typing too fast, sorry.

CK: right on! I could not have said it better.

CK, In my opinion China is a clear and present danger to the western world. Most of the companies who went there thought they were able to manage the situation, get a lot of saving, satisfy the stockholders and f... the rest of the world. Now they have been f....d. We have had, we have and we will have many and many of these scandals in the next months. It's time to re think about the entire process: saving money is not worth if endanger people's health. Not to say about the political issues and the human rights situation.

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