How do you know if 3rd party quality professionals on-site are ethical?

One concern often expressed from organizations considering third-party quality representation on-site at factories is concerns about ethical behavior. Organizations want to know that engineers, auditors and inspectors truly are unbiased during evaluations and void of any questionable influence from other interests.  It’s a fair question, especially considering the stories many have heard  or have experienced for themselves.

Here’s what works for us:

Recruitment – It’s important to take the extra time to be selective when seeking to add resources, whether it’s a direct team member or a potential partner.  Through the selection process, we are careful to screen interested quality professionals and look beyond resume qualifications. We often pose ethical situations during interviews to evaluate responses.

Training – Training is an on-going process.  For training to be successful, it is also reinforced.  Code of Conduct training is incorporated into many team building events.  Standard ethical behavior within this documentation demands that no compensation of any kind be accepted (monetary, material, meals, entertainment, etc.).  Another point incorporated into the Code of Conduct is that all travel expenses much be accompanied by original receipts.  A copy of the Code of Conduct is reviewed and signed annually.

At Pro QC, our employees are on career tracks, and our HR policies and training are designed so they fully recognize that they have more to lose by accepting a bribe than they’ll gain.  Also, our Technical Supervisor report review process reveals inconsistencies in reports and findings, making it very difficult to initially conceal inaccurate findings, while the traceability of each engineer to each report and shipment will fully reveal the source of any inaccurate findings.  The reviewer is also traceable in the system.  This also holds true for recognition of errors, not only for intentional misrepresentations, and allows us to constantly monitor and improve the quality of our services and training needs of our field personnel.

Correction Action – Although infrequent, should an issue occur where a representative is claimed to have committed an unethical action, an in-depth investigation is conducted.  Often and unfortunate, the factory may place undeserved blame on a 3rd party at a point in time and is deferring other issues unnecessarily.  While many factories welcome quality control efforts, others perceive them as an inconvenience and would prefer to work without an unbiased system of assurance.  An investigation of any allegation is required.

For any team member or partner found to knowingly have engaged in unethical behavior, that individual is no longer used as a resource. Zero tolerance further supports the importance of adhering to the Code of Conduct.  It is also noted with the signed Code of Conduct that personal financial and/or legal liability may result from any claims caused by a violation.

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