Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Business Ethics @ the Factory

It’s been 6 months since I started working at Toy State. Theres been highs, there’s been lows. However, today was the first time I felt disappointed in the ethics of how we conduct business.

Our company is a well-functioning, comfortable and has definitely a western feeling. People are relatively friendly, able and professional. The office is bright and clean (There is a strict no-smoking policy, unlike a lot of Chinese companies). People are treated with respect and the company, in general, cares about its employees. We’ve had numerous company dinners and retreats for our employees. We pay our workers more than the similar companies around us and have even constructed a brand new cafeteria building to make sure our workers eat in very clean and sanitary conditions. Although the company is far from perfect, it most definitely tries…which is good.

Every new project that we work on has specific packaging requirements. While a large amount of our toys are shipped in boxed packages, a growing amount of smaller toys are being packaged in plastic hanging packaging called “blisters”. Since it is my responsibility to arrange the packaging, I need to help implement the blister designs that our marketing team gives me. This means I need to work with a variety of blister companies.

When I started 6 months back, all of our prototype blisters sucked. They were dull, thin and generally, looked bad. In addition, the blister engineers that made them were rude, not attentive to details, and slow in their prototypes. We had a very bad working relationship, and every blister-making process was filled with annoyance and frustration on both sides.

After a while, we were able to find a new company that made blisters. After a few instances, we noticed that this new company was much better on basically all aspects. They were nice, professional and knew what they were doing. They were quick and efficient with their prototype development, and could basically meet any deadline given to them. Most importantly, their blisters looked good…like production quality.

For the past 3 months, we have been working with this new company in creating samples of all of the new toys we’ve been developing. They’ve been helpful, cooperative and a good partner to work with even though we haven’t given them any real orders or business.

Finally, in the recent weeks, we’re finally going into production on a major new toy we’re making that a lot of US retailers picked up. It was a great chance for these blister company to finally reap the rewards for their constant and consistent efforts for the past few months.

Just before we go into production on any new toy, we go through a process where the engineering department reexamines our packaging to make sure that they will pass all of the various safety and drop tests needed to make on it. In this process, it was decided that we would not use the current blister in production and we would need to redo it.

What made everything suck was that a different company was chosen to make the new blister arrangement. Now, this company was getting fucked over. After 3 months of hard work, they received no real financial benefit from our company. In addition, they were pushed to the side on a project they’ve worked on since the beginning. Blah.

I tried to fight it. I tried to convey how good these guys were and how important they were to my department in regard to our packaging efforts. It didn't matter how many people I talked to. Nothing is being changed. There are some hidden stuff going on... i dont know what.

However, what it means is...not only is it going to be that much harder to meet my deadlines but we just screwed over a great company that’s been the best for a long time. They even gave me a nice calendar for the Chinese New Year.

AaahhhHH!! This sucks.

No comments: