Letters to the Editor For May 2008

April 17, 2008
Readers speak out on global trade issues and respect for employees.

A New Paradigm For Quality

Re: "Whatever Happened to Quality?" Apr. 2008

I don't believe this article directly addresses some of the problems involved in production in the era of global trade.

Production historically has gone from:

  • single-plant, single-enterprise (U.S.) to
  • multi-supplier, single-enterprise (U.S.) to
  • multi-supplier (global), single-assembly line (U.S.) to
  • multi-supplier (country sourcing), multi-assembly lines (foreign production) to
  • multi-supplier (global sourcing), "global network orchestration" of the production process.

I think the last two methods have yet to be proven with certain products. It may work on garments and shoes. It has yet to be proven with durable, highly engineered products.

The more complicated the product, the more likely it is that there will be problems with monitoring quality and control of, in many cases, subcontracted processes in an offshore production environment.

Managing "multi-supplier (country sourcing), multi-assembly lines (foreign production)" and "multi-supplier (global sourcing), 'global network orchestration' of production" is quite different and both are in need of proof-of-concept with certain products.

Larry G. DeVries
Eden Prairie, Minn.

Treat People as Assets, not Tools

Re: "Continuous Improvement: Whatever Happened to Respect for People?" Apr. 2008

Respect for people would come only when you would be able to come out of the syndrome, "I know the best or everything." The moment we think, "We do not know what we do not know," we will be able to come out of our egos and try to learn from others. Respect for others would start from that moment only.

I fully agree that people are to be treated as assets not as tools, and you will find ordinary people doing extraordinary things anywhere in the world the moment they are treated nicely. The Tata group of companies in India are classic examples of this.

There is a Chinese story which is as follows: "If you want to live for one year, grow seeds. If you want to live for 10 years, grow trees. If you want to live for 100 years, grow people." The sooner the organizations across the world understand this, the better the world will be.

Rabindranath Bhattacharya
general manager, Ucal Fuel Systems Ltd., Chennai, India

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