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26 July 2007


I spent five years managing development and production of running shoes in China, and another year managing production of backpacking tents and sleeping bags in Taiwan, China, Korea, and Bangladesh. In that time, I didn't experience quality fade.

There were certainly production problems to overcome, but no systematic degradation in quality. So I don't fully understand the root cause of the problems described in the Wharton article.

Perhaps we didn't have those issues because we had full-time staff in the Chinese factories (in the case of the running shoes) and because we checked the quality of the first production run for all products. (Not exactly lean, but it worked.)

How is any one of these practices different from what many US companies have been doing for years. They probably learned it from our executives.

Refusing to issue credit for bad product
Lowering the spec/quality of materials
Reducing weight/strength vs spec
Mixing bad product in with good product
Changing things to cut cost
Delivery games and problems

How are we surprised by this?



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