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What Did Apple's Supply Chain Audit Uncover? Part 1

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KCramer
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Inventory Controller
Let's temper the kudos
KCramer   2/18/2011 9:40:29 AM
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Bloomberg reported on Jan. 20:

Apple Inc. ranked last out of 29 global technology companies in terms of responsiveness and transparency to health and environmental concerns in China, according to a Beijing-based nonprofit group.

BT Group Plc and Hewlett-Packard Co. were among the highest ranked companies, Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Environmental and Public Affairs said in a phone interview today...

IPE today released “The Other Side of Apple” a report that outlines findings from a group of 36 non-governmental organizations into environmental and health practices among technology companies.  

Apple, it seems, may be a bit late to this Corporate Responsibility party. Damage control is now fully engaged. Looking forward to your follow-up on what they actually intend to do, however belatedly.

Barbara Jorgensen
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Blogger
Apple and audits
Barbara Jorgensen   2/18/2011 11:47:51 AM
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I agree a third-party assessment is always better, but HP just got slammed for labor abuses by a third party (see http://www.ebnonline.com/author.asp?section_id=1071&doc_id=203791. What do we make of all this?

SP
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Supply Network Guru
What Did Apple's Supply Chain Audit Uncover? Part 1
SP   2/18/2011 4:29:52 PM
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Wow thats great that Apple has come up with such review report. It will only bring up its trust among customers and shareholders. Apple would be the only company that has willingly published such a detailed report. Definitely kudos to them...

anandvy
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Supply Network Guru
Re: Apple and audits
anandvy   2/19/2011 6:40:33 AM
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Barbara,

  I agree with you. Third party certification is always better than self certification, because in self-assessment there is always scope for tweaking your report based on your interests. How about "Labour Friendly" certification if the product complies with labout laws, Something simliar to "ECO FRIENDLY" certification.

pocharle
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Supply Network Guru
Re: Apple and audits
pocharle   2/19/2011 3:10:33 PM
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I think at most levels, unfortunatley, alot of the large high-tech companies are guilty of some violations. It's just a matter or when and where they take place. The waterfall affect is taking place now since one big player is busted THEN regulators clean up their act and start checking out the rest of the industry.

t.alex
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Supply Network Guru
Re: Apple and audits
t.alex   2/19/2011 9:05:06 PM
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Another question is if chinese government can step in and take necessary action?

Hardcore
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Supply Network Guru
Re: Apple and audits
Hardcore   2/20/2011 7:40:08 PM
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I originally did a reply to the Apple 'release', but decided it may be bit to inflammatory to post, even though it did not specifically relate to the case.

Not specifically related to any particular supplier/OEM

To generalize, I notice that the text used a number of classic distraction methods, specifically they 'insinuate' that the report relates more to China, but in reality looking at some of the pictures, It seems this is not the case.

Taiwan is specifically mentioned ,but nothing is actually broken out, I also find the conclusions a bit 'slanted' and this that there are some items just 'thrown' in to balance it out.

Related to  offers of 'benefit' and based on how things work here, someone is trying to pull a 'blinder'.

There is absolutely no way that they only have one incident of reported corruption for a company of that size with that supplier base, generally I dealt with at least one a week.

I even have some photographs of the inspector of one VERY well known 'independent' audit company being 'brown enveloped' out in a company car park, and had another situation where I was 'warned' by a certain inspection Agencies staff for reporting their corruption back to their manager (I'd known the manager for about 10 years)

I have read many such reports, and even developed various systems for supplier evaluation, I can say it is a highly sophisticated process that cannot easily have statistical methodlogy applied to it.To do so, would be to consider that a factory was consistent in all areas without issues related to 'theifdoms' 'power-plays' and 'political maneuvering'.

I have also had the pleasure/displeasure to deal with some very big names and have a very firm conclusion that much of this ethical auditing is smoke and mirrors ,related to feel good factors and market security.

Just for the record, this is not a government problem, it is a people problem and in recent years I can say I have seen a general lack of moral decline in the industry, despite all the  "joy joy feel good" propaganda, but it is said that things generally get worse before they get better. 

 

 

 

Eldredge
User Rank
Supply Network Guru
Re: Audit
Eldredge   2/20/2011 8:45:26 PM
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It sounds like Apple was pretty thorough in their audit - interesting results.

Ms. Daisy
User Rank
Supply Network Guru
Apple's Supply Chain Audit?
Ms. Daisy   2/20/2011 10:01:09 PM
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I seem to agree with Hardcore that this audit by Apple is all smoke and mirrors. Why will a giant like Apple wait till now to audit its business partners especially in light of its doing business in China.

China has been accused of human rights  violations from time immemorial. So why will anyone go into business in China without a memorandum of understanding with contractors that is close if not similar to labor laws in the US.

Apple and I bet other giants in the supply chain that have outsourced to these developing economies have turned a blind eye to these abuses till now, as long as it is not traced directly to them. Hopefully this audit will be a challenge to all in the supply chain to demand fair treatment for workers in the these countries!  

eemom
User Rank
Supply Network Guru
Re: Apple's Supply Chain Audit?
eemom   2/22/2011 10:01:26 AM
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As much as I respect Apple for their technological innovation, I have to agree with Hardcore and Ms. Daisy.  The Apple findings are not very surprising.   Everyone knows cheep labor is why these companies contract overseas.  We all inherently know that working conditions are poor in these overseas subcontractors, to fain surprise now is misleading.  Why did Apple wait until now to do the audit?  Why have other OEMs NOT done any auditing?  The answer is simple, they are looking to reduce costs at all cost.

I will say, hopefully something good will come out of this and things will finally change.

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