Supply Chain

In light of recent product recalls, this question nags: Has Chinese product quality actually deteriorated, or not? Opinion is split. Some argue forcefully that Chinese products have suffered in recent years, or at the very least, were never of high quality in the first place. Others believe the country is being unfairly singled out — victimized, in a sense — simply because it happens to be the world's leading manufacturer at a time when product recalls in general are on the rise. Responding to an academic forum published in the journal, Management and Organizational Review, experts at the W. P. Carey School offer insights.

In the summer of 2007, after a tumultuous year in which millions of Chinese-manufactured toys and other products were recalled for reasons ranging from high lead content to choking hazards, Chinese officials launched a massive campaign to restore worldwide confidence in the "Made In China" label. However, China's efforts to prevent product recalls haven't seemed to do much, and the roots of the problem — or even a basic understanding of its scope and causes — have yet to be defined. W. P. Carey professor of international management Anne Tsui recently organized an Editor's Forum in which leading business scholars examined the problem from various disciplines and perspectives. In a two-part series starting today, Knowledge@W. P. Carey will use the Management and Organization Review (MOR) forum as a jumping-off point to explore some of these questions, and attempt to answer them, through the expert analysis of W. P. Carey faculty and researchers.

Detailed metrics not only help purchasing departments measure and analyze performance — they provide data that can spur organizational and procedural changes and help companies proactively prepare for the unexpected.

Congress and President Bush appear to be on a collision course over U.S.-Mexico trucking, but most likely trucks will continue to traverse the border, fostering the flow of international commerce, according to Arnold Maltz, a professor of supply chain management at the W. P. Carey School of Business. At issue is a small but controversial one-year pilot project that has allowed Mexican trucks to travel throughout the United States, although most of such travel has been in the border states. The pilot project ends September 6, and strong opposition to its continuation has been expressed in Congress by Democrats concerned about American jobs and highway safety, and by Republicans concerned about security and immigration issues.

Americans concerned with the growing proportion of GDP devoted to healthcare would do well to consider the industry's supply chain. Soon the cost of drugs and medical supplies will equal the cost of labor and benefits in the U.S. healthcare system, a situation that could derail reforms aimed at increasing access and coverage. Professor Eugene Schneller, who heads the W. P. Carey School's Health Sector Supply Chain Research Consortium, offers his top 10 list of challenges for health care supply chain managers. This is the first in an occasional  series of opinion essays authored by experts at the W. P. Carey School of Business.