In recent days, many people in China have been celebrating the two new temporary field hospitals being built in Wuhan – the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus. They marvel at the speed in which these two facilities are being constructed in only 10 days. They applaud the swift work of the Chinese government to provide the facilities. They praise Chinese president Xi Jinping for his leadership.
None of this ‘after-the-fact heroism’ is anything to be proud of! If the Chinese government would have provided visibility and transparency to the situation when it was first discovered – these new hospitals likely would not even be necessary. Instead, the Wuhan officials arrested and silenced the eight doctors nearly one month before the disease was publicly announced and serious actions were taken! There was an orchestrated plan and action to cover-up and hide the problem. The bureaucratic culture that prioritizes political stability over anything else allowed this virus to spread much farther and much faster. – The construction of new hospitals which add 2,000 beds is only symbolic for a city facing 100,000 potential cases of the virus. Quarantining is city of 12 million – after several million already departed for the annual Lunar New Year’s celebration is yet another example of the only the symbolism of the ‘too little – too late’ failure to provide early and upfront visibility and transparency.
This situation with the Wuhan and greater Chinese government is a stark analogy and comparison of the way many Chinese companies engage in business practices. Just like the government many of the China suppliers have the same practice of withholding critical information – attempting to cover up bad news – and hiding mistakes. It is critical that we develop, foster, and insist on supply chain relationships which provide seamless visibility and transparency.
Visibility focuses on information within the supply chain to make it more efficient. Transparency refers to the disclosure of the information from the supplier to the buyer. This information sharing must be flowing and available for all tiers of the supply chain process. It is only through knowing, understanding, oversite, and accountability – that we as buyers can have assurance that quality, safety, ethical standards, and material requirements are being met. In order to avoid the problem created by the status quo culture of China suppliers – we must have through knowledge and understanding of upstream activities in the supply chain. The lack of visibility and transparency can shut our business down. We need suppliers which are open, trusted, and provide upfront and proactive information… not suppliers that work to hide facts and then have to scramble for urgent back tracking and solutions.
The realities that we are facing now: borders closed, airplanes grounded, factories delayed from starting back up after the holiday, factory workers unable to return to their jobs, and tenuous business climates – are all barriers to supply chain visibility and transparency. As we and our suppliers prepare to re-engage and re-energize our 2020 production and shipment requirements – it is vital to understand the supplier’s constraints, to know their upstream supplier situations and capabilities, and to be able to trust and verify that the supplier has sufficiently returned to quality and capacity production. It is necessary to see the production data, inspect the production process, and audit the finished goods shipments.
The travel bans and restrictions will make it difficult, or impossible, for the foreign buyers to have direct inspections and audits of their factories for a long time ahead. It will be critically important to partner with a reliable and independent service provider already in China to provide audit and inspection services. We at Victure Industrial are ready to partner with you. We have team members in most major cities in China. We are well prepared to travel and provide immediate services and support for you. We are trained to provide the visibility and transparency which your business requires. Let us provide the assurance and critical information which you need.