Dell's policy is hitting all the right notes but is lacking one key criterion: There's no mention of audits conducted by Dell or any other organization. Based on the report, it appears Dell's supply chain chiefly self-polices its adherence to labor standards"
The points you mentioned above are most striking...
A lot of company insiders will tell you self-policing is the best way to get to the root of the problem.I for one am not so sure.Its a well known fact that critical outsiders tend to uncover much more holes in a company's processes than insiders will ever do.For that reason I always prefer listening into third party reports rather something that comes from insiders.
So yes,what you said here was most accurate and insightful.Dell's reports were by far the weakest...
I really don't believe the criticism is just for Apple alone. it is for Dell, tech companies and others that are outsourcing for maximum profit without regard for the workers who are exploited to make these enormous profits. The responsibility should not be left to the contractors. These companies that outsource to China and other developing economies should share the blame and also be more responsible for assuring the welfare of the workers because they should know better. After all many of these companies are American companies that do business here and have to maintain US Department of Labor standards.
Labor issues have been on the increase in the tech industry lately and it shows and says alot.
I personally visited a number of tech companies and factories early this year in china and i can say not everyone is doing what they should be doing.
Imagine factory workers in sub-zero temperatures working with absolutely no form of indoor heating what so ever.
Now when companies get cheap quotes from such companies, they are happy, but do they know exactly what goes on there?
I totally agree with Barbara, if anyone is serious iwth Standards, there must be clear cut audit measures, carried out, with reports, else, let everyone drop the "noise" about what labour laws they are putting in place.
I do think it's kind of unfair all the criticism Apple has taken for its overseas labor practices when the majority of companies -- both in the tech industry and outside it -- operate more like Dell than like Apple.
In an ideal world -- well, in an ideal world there would be less outsourcing... -- but in an ideal world that utilized lots of outsourcing, companies would closely monitor and audit the labor practices of all their overseas partners.
But in reality, that doesn't happen. Even companies that do audit and keep a close eye on things may only, say, audit their largest overseas partner and ignore their smaller suppliers.
You ask how companies can be certain that their foreign partners are treating their workers fairly, and that's a question without an easy answer. Two points: you get what you pay for. Do you really think the cheapest supplier is not going to cut corners on their labor? Secondly, I suppose the only way you can nearly-guarantee that your workers are being treated well is to employ them yourselves and be within easy supervising distance.
Barbara, thanks for looking into these labor practices by participants in the electronic supply chain.
Laws and Practice codes are only as good as how they are enforced. Here we go again with another manucturers smokes screen. It is pitiful to hear that these organizations only have the labor codes in their contracts. I guess it is a start, but there has to be meaningful enforcement and third party audits of contractors. The local labor laws are often none existent in these developing countries and the contractors often laugh at the standards for labor practices proposed by US companies. This disregard for the welfare and dignity of workers often stems from the lack of care by the local governments compounded by greed of the governing agencies. Unfortunately outsourcing companies feed into this abuses by turning a blind eye or doing the minimum just to have on record that "something" is being done.
Companies in the supply chain cannot be complacent or simply give up because of the negligience of the host countries. Follow through and constant reminders of the contractors of the importance of worker wellbeing with effective consequences for violation to match each violation will at least be deterrents.
Unfortunately, the only standards these large companies will follow are the ones that result in LARGE fines or worse if the rules are broken. Other than that, they are not going to go above and beyond. If they do, it's simply to look good compared to other industry rule-breakers.
It seems like the biggest problem these companies are having is following the local standards in the countries that these facilities are located in. Yes, by relying on these self audits instead of making physical visits, they are not doing as much as they could be. Some of these countries don't exactly have stringent laws and agencies set up to protect the workers. By meeting the minimum rules of the country, they might not be giving these workers the protection that is needed. They need to stop using these rules as policies and go above and beyond them. They need to have company safety regulations set up like they would have here in the U.S.
If HP,Dell and NEC all follows the same code of conduct, I guess someone should review whats laid down in the code of conduct booklet. I feel times have changed, electronic industry has undergone a tremendous change in outlook and business wise if we compare 10 years back. But are these booklets that judges labor safety and working condition gone through any revolution. Its good that press or journalism is very active now that they can bring out the loopholes in policies and procedure. And no matter how big is a company if they indulge in violating labor ethics they will face public scrutiny. Will wait to read what Dell has to say.
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.