If nothing else, this particular regulation has opened a lot of eyes to the tsunami of regulations global businesses are dealing with. When human rights are involved, more debate and more emotion is raised about usually ho-hum legislation. Foxconn's treatment of its workers is a similar example. If you aren't in the electronics industry, it's unlikely that you ever heard of Hon Hai and Foxconn--but you do know Apple.
It's also difficult to be "against" human rights any more than it is to be against the environment. Unfortunately, legislation seems like a last resort in dragging ambivalent businesses into doing the right thing,
Tam, It seems to me that your article just touched the tips of regulatory dysfunction in the global high-tech industry. Governments have one aim and companies another and the two often can't get what they want exactly. Profit motives will always clash against the societal need to protect the most vulnerable among us. Could we expect companies to police themselves? If companies concerned about their image do, will others follow suit or will we have scrupulous companies placed at a disadvantage by competitors? I suspect we will have many more such rules from different governments in future. Perhaps both companies and governments can find a solution to this problem of what society wants versus what businesses need.
Major tantalum consumers are the electronics companies, and they are putting pressure on the tantalum smelters by coming up with these new audits. But there are only 5-6 smelters in the world, and so not a lot of sourcing options for the electronics companies. The audits are an attempt to identify where each smelter gets its tantalum, but I'm not convinced that such information can be pinned down or relied upon.
I don't disagree that the U.S. should do what it can to help end the genocide in Congo. But I just don't understand how this provision is going to be effective. From what I can see, there is simply no way to trace minerals back to their source, so I'm not sure how this provision is going to do anything except create a lot of paperwork.
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I'm not suggesting we just ignore the problem. There are other ways to apply pressure. I don't think this provision is the way to do it. As far as I can tell, there simply seems to be no way to ensure that minerals from illegal mines in Congo don't end up in the general supply from smelters. It seems it will just result in a huge amount of paper pushing without accomplishing anything. I also think it's valid to question whether this sets a precedent. Where do we draw the line on how much Congress should do in terms of creating regulations that ban or restrict products because of how their made or what the government in their country of origin does?
Nobody in Congress has bothered to read the entire Frank-Dodd bill and its constituents.Very few in the Media also seem bothered about its implications.
It is just another example of Congress passing(without understanding what the implications are) just to make the life of business more and more difficult.
Here's an idea.Give all those clowns in Congress a Paid Holiday for a Year.Only thing is during this time,they will not pass anymore laws and let the business community in the country run with all existing laws.America's economy will improve dramatically within six months.
I have read through numerous surveys and they all point out that the No.1 Problem which American Businesses face is "Regulatory uncertainty".Nobody in Business knows what newly fangled scheme these clowns in congress will cook up next.That's why no one wants to hire any extra employees.Nobody wants to expand either for the same reason.
So lets get Congress and Govt as far away from our Economy as possible for just one year.
We will be in much-much better shape as the natural Dynamism of America's economy kicks in.
Too Bad Obama won't permit it,but thats what Hope is all about is'nt it???
Tam, Are you asking us to play the Ostrich here? We cannot pretend this problem does not exist simply because it cannot be proven where raw materials are generated. Governments worldwide cannot ignore economic and political events in other parts of the globe simply because it may discomfort certain segments of their own business community. Developments in the Congo are important to the rest of the world on a social level and also on a business level. In the West, rules and regulations forbid production that is inhumane and also forbid the use of slave labor, child labor and gang activity in businesses. What this means is that businesses operating in the West have to comply with certain codes and so, I applaud the U.S. Congress for trying to do something about what is happening in the Congo. I understand the law puts a heavy burden on companies in the high-tech sector but it may also have some impact on the situation in the Congo.
Tam, I apologize but I don't understand what you think should be done here. Are you suggesting this was a bad law and that Congress shouldn't have taken such a tough decision or are you saying there are no ways for anyone to win here? Could you please clarify this? Thank you.
It difficult to understand how that law was passed in a country like USA. I mean is it practically possible for any company to say where the minerals were sourced from. There are many other ways to help situation in congo. I guess its all for political gains. The electronics industry has to face the extra work.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.