- Takata Corporation will pay a $1 billion fine for its sale of defective airbag inflators to automakers after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice reported Monday.
- Takata apparently misled its customers for a decade or more regarding the safety and reliability of its airbag inflators, allowing the installation of defective equipment in vehicles sold to the public.
- Takata's guilty plea revealed that both customers and auto manufacturers were defrauded through misleading data that whitewashed the faulty performance of the company’s airbag inflators. What's more, the company deliberately continued the falsification even after customers experienced injuries and even death.
Takata was caught in a lie, and a big one. They are paying the price, both with a billion dollar fine, a criminal tag, and a massive hit to their reputation. Relationships with their customers, and suppliers, are fractured.
But these days companies seem to survive these hits. Volkswagen did. And Wells Fargo. Pick an industry and you can find a company who plays fast and loose with the law, and gets caught. Yet, in so many cases, business goes on like nothing has happened.
Sadly, we’ve become hardened to these instances, waiting for the next one. Its hard not to get cynical and assume every supplier is out to rip you off.
But be careful in painting all suppliers as untrustworthy. For the most part, suppliers are sincere, honorable and truthful. They come to work, do the best they can, and go home at the end of the day. Sure, there are bad apples out there, and as buyers we need to ferret them out and replace them with better choices. Rest assured that there are more good suppliers out there than bad, no matter the headlines.
Take a glass half full approach to supplier trust. Reward the good ones. Keep an eye on the others.