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Ethics should be enshrined in company strategies. Moreover, in formulating strategies, companies should try to be ethical. The case study talks about companies that give limited warranties on materials that end up failing them. This paper will try to explore dishonesty that comes with warranties. The paper will also explore ethical issues that surround industries concerning default equipment or goods.
The case study tries to explore the reason for the failure of industrial goods such as vehicle pedals, tires, and engines, among others. The author realizes that most companies are usually dishonest about their goods. However, he also acknowledges the fact that determining the reliability of engineering equipment, such as tires, is difficult. Nonetheless, he points out that companies should do enough to improve on reliability as well as honesty. The main issue here is about companies that knowingly refute that failure of industrial products is inevitable.
This amounts to an ethical flaw, which the author supports with real-life evidence. The credibility of companies concerning their products comes into question because they tend to believe in them more than necessary. Companies like Microsoft and Toyota are mentioned to have refuted that their goods were faulty products. However, eventually, it haunted them through the recall of goods; in the process, they incurred heavily on repairs. The author believes that product failure follows a curve, which proves that their ability to break is inevitable (Stulz, 2009).
My initial thoughts before reading the article were that companies were honest in their information concerning engineering products sold. Moreover, I thought initially that companies do all they can to protect the lives of consumers who use their products. I believed that products like tires are tested for years before they are brought into use. By going through the case study, I realized that companies do not do adequate research on materials.
For instance, Ford should have performed all tests possible on firestone tires before placing them on their Rangers; this could have saved lives. The author has provided irrefutable evidence of mischief played in companies at the expense of people’s lives. Companies such as Mohawk, Johnson & Johnson, Southwest Airlines, GE, and Microsoft are mentioned to have denied that their products were faulty. This denial cost them billions of dollars as well as a negative image. In addition, people lost their lives or were hurt (Stulz, 2009).
In essence, after reading the case study, I realized that companies care more about profits than people’s safety. I also realized that ethics is rarely given priority when it has to be chosen over profit.
I believe that companies that make engineering goods should put people’s life before anything. In fact, just as Ford has been doing (trying to provide products that last 10 or more years), other companies should follow suit. I agree with the author that companies should base their strategies on the inevitable failure of products than reliability. That is, they should try to enlighten people on life span engineering products rather than make assumptions of reliability (Fleddermann, 1999).
Manufacturers must accept to live with risks concerning their products. In addition, they need to be honest in providing information on life spans of their products. Additionally, they should ensure that their products are under constant evaluation. If Toyota had evaluated the ‘shoe’ that their accelerated cars, they would have incurred less cost of recalls and repairs of vehicles sold.
Fleddermann, C. (1999). Engineering Ethics. (4th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
Stulz, R. (2009). 6 ways companies mismanage risk. Harvard Business Review, 87(3), pp. 86–94.