We never thought that our first blog would be about our brush up against the Chinese Triads – all in the name of quality!
It all started in late 2008 when we produced a small order for a customer for metal containers. The product spec required a painted lid. Our sub-contractor produced the lids and these were rigorously checked by both ourselves and our customer.
As a result our customer placed a larger order, then even two larger order and the product was a runaway hit in the alternative-to-plastic market.
Then everything went pear-shaped and customers started to return product because the paint started to peel off. Not from the original first order but from the subsequent orders. We realized that our supplier had changed the spec or process. Our supplier repainted more lids to replace some of the faulty ones but Chinasavvy lost thousands of dollars airfreighting replacement lids. Of course, we refused to pay the supplier for the faulty goods.
That started our education into how business works in China…
For months we heard nothing. Then we received a lawyers’ letter to which we responded with a counter claim for our losses many times the value of the outstanding unpaid invoices. Silence again….
Two weeks later we received an unannounced visit by a nervous manager accompanied by a so-called angry shareholder – in turn accompanied by some “heavies”. They explained that they were not going to go through legal channels but made it clear that if we didn’t pay up they were going to trash myself, as Managing Director, and our offices.
Naturally we called in the Chinese police but they explained that until someone was attacked they would do nothing.
Eventually they agreed to meet with our lawyers the next week but not before they reminded us what they planned to do with us in a thoroughly violent way.
Episode 2 to follow.