Manufacturing Transparency Hard To See

By |  July 12, 2007

It began with chemicals in toothpaste and tainted dog food. Then children’s toys were found with lead paint. Now, Chinese-made tires are raising the ire of the automotive industry and its subsequent consumers.

U.S. officials have told Foreign Tire Sales of Union, a small New Jersey importer, to recall 450,000 radial tires for pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans after the company disclosed that its Chinese manufacturer had stopped including a safety feature that prevented the tires from separating. Tread separation is the same defect that led to the recall of millions of Firestone tires in 2000.

The company first suspected problems in October 2005. Almost a year later, in September 2006, the Chinese manufacturer, Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber, a former state-owned company based in eastern China, acknowledged that a gum strip that prevents the tread from separating was left out of the manufacturing process.

In the burgeoning era of globalization, it’s increasingly difficult to determine subtleties in the supply chain. I remember the scorn from my father when I was shopping for foreign cars. I was fresh out of school, and I needed a good deal. He guilted me into buying a Ford, which I later found out was built in Mexico with mostly Japanese parts.

Do you know where your products are made?
Would you be able to detect a manufacturing defect if you found one?

— David Frabotta

This is posted in Columns

1 Comment on "Manufacturing Transparency Hard To See"

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Capitalism at its finest. Keep production cost down. NOTHING IS WRONG?