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What Have We Learned From Aston Martin's Experience with Chinese Suppliers?

Earlier this year, luxury automaker Aston Martin announced that it was recalling more than 17,000 vehicles—about 75 percent of all the cars it has made in the past six years—after discovering that a Chinese supplier, which had subcontracted with another Chinese company, was using counterfeit materials to manufacture accelerator pedals. Although no related accidents have been reported, the risk to drivers was seen as unacceptable, necessitating the recall. Now, Aston Martin is rushing to return production to the U.K.

This raises a simple question: Would anyone knowingly buy a product with a 75 percent chance of being defective? We believe the answer is a clear and resounding no, which is why we place a high priority on ensuring that we only work with the most reliable suppliers in our standard and custom hydraulic manifold business.

In early 2000s, Daman Products investigated the possibility of using Chinese suppliers. Ultimately, the idea was scrapped over our concerns about how the arrangement would impact our commitment to continuous improvement. Material quality was only one of the factors that we considered.

Even with a credible partner, it is simply much more difficult to do steady business across such vast distances, to say nothing of the cultural and legal differences that inevitably add further complications. There would have been constant logistical issues and we would have had to buy in very large volumes to make the arrangement cost effective.

Exposing ourselves to all of these issues just to save money on materials would be entirely contrary to our commitment to continuous improvement and lean manufacturing practices.

At Daman, we know what our customers are counting on—quality products and responsive, dependable service. We’re constantly looking for ways to align every part of our business, from suppliers to sales, with our goal of exceeding those expectations.


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