Our stringent Code of Conduct is taught by a customer

Controlling code of conduct
  • October 13, 2022

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 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 were produced in accordance with the company’s Code of Conduct with respect to:

  • Safety
  • Health
  • Environment
  • Quality

These issues have always been a concern of ours. We already dealt with them at EA-Connect, but I suspected we could improve on these issues. 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.

Improvements are often necessary

Some of the otherwise well-run suppliers got remarks, on which I immediately followed up. This may sound strange, but I was pleased to bump into some of these issues. The issues gave me an opportunity to listen and learn – and we have improved a lot within the area of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Not only I but also the Quality Director I had with me, went home with new inspiration and knowledge.

What the Asian companies taught us

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 example of this was an aluminium die casting in Malaysia.

At arrival, a shiny clean factory met our eyes. All employees wore clothes in colours according to their line of work and security level. We walked around the plant, addressing different matters regarding my customer's Code of Conduct. They ticked every box and gave us no reason to worry. Whether it regarded extraction devices or fire extinction – everything was the finest.

Actually, the Quality Manager asked our guide at the factory for a few procedures that he could use for improvements back at his own plant.

This was, compared to other facilities around the world, state-of-the-art, and we both learned a thing or two during our visit there.

Controlling quality and working conditions

When sourcing from Asia, it is important to check in with the suppliers. This strengthens the relationship with the supplier and ensures a higher quality.

That is why the trip with the Quality Manager became the first of many. Today they leave the inspection to me alone which I am very proud of.

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