A person I know very well and whose comments I value, is a
materials buyer for one of the largest, global, manufacturing
companies in the world. He deals with many vendors in many
nations to get the materials to build large computer-type devices
sold globally. He deals with Pacific Rim vendors and
manufacturers daily, including mainland China.
He explained his belief of why dealing with the Pacific
Rim/Chinese vendors is so different than dealing with European
vendors. In summary, it's the Judeo/Christian teachings vs. the
Buddhist/Confucian/Hindu etc. teachings about lying. He told me
that we're all taught that we should always tell the truth and
trade honestly, where the Chinese-type vendors don't believe it's
bad to lie or cheat on a transaction. To them, the shame (loss of
face) comes from getting caught- not if they get away with it.
His personal technique is to order from a vendor and stage serious
inspections both at the production site and upon receipt of the
items. If there is even the slightest discrepancy, he has his
people throw a fit. The product is returned, screaming phone
calls are made, threats to never deal with them again are made,
upstream and downstream vendors are notified and even government
officials are brought into the fray. The goal is to send the
message to the manufacturer or vendor that cheating will be caught
and the maximum amount of embarrassment (loss of face) will be
extracted. Once the fray has died down, the new vendor will
usually supply what is negotiated and ordered for a while. Then,
the cycle starts all over again.
BTW, the Japanese have a similar technique that seldom fails. For
instance, let's use lumber as an example. When a US/Canadian
vendor decides to sell hardwood in Japan, the buyer will ask the
vendor for a graded sample of the materials. It's not at all
uncommon in our own culture to select samples that showcase our
product in its best light. This doesn't work with the Japanese,
however. When the shipment reaches Japan, the hardwood is judged
against the sample, the matching or better material is kept and
anything substandard is returned. There is no compromise for a
bell-shaped grading curve: it's the sample-or-better side of the
curve, only. Many a new vendor has learned a hard lesson about
that little cultural difference.
The last example is about a US built product that is sold by one
company in the US and another in Japan. Both come off the same
assembly line, but with different tags on them: USA or Japan
names. The item shipped to Japan is literally invaded by
inspectors for the buyer, and even things like fingerprints on the
inside of the cabinet rate down marks. . . enough of which and the
product is returned. There are different standards, beyond
performance, that affect Japanese-bound items.
ELOQUIDIOT (n) A highly educated, sophisticated,
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