More than a third of countries in the Asia-Pacific area are seen to be corrupt, according to Transparency International's most current Corruption Perception Index (CPI). With the prevalence of contract manufacturing in countries like China, India, and Vietnam—which all got 40 or fewer points out of a possible 100 points—these results continue to cause alarm among importers and exporters.
There are likely dozens, if not hundreds of separate vendors in your supply chain, but you've only talked to a few. You may still be a victim of corruption even if you do quality control checks at various points in the production process.
True to form, honesty is one of the most sought-after qualities by importers, whether they're using their own inspectors or contracting with an independent firm. Even if you do all you can to avoid corruption, your inspections may still be harmed as a result of it. It's possible that you'll end up with defective or otherwise unsellable goods, or that you'll lose important customers and distribution channels because retailers won't offer your products anymore.
An overt exchange of money for a favor or favorable treatment is usually what comes to mind when the word "corruption" is used. However, similar rituals may be seen in other East Asian countries, such as China's habit of exchanging red envelopes filled with money, known as hóngbo. When it comes to the quality control industry nowadays, you may not be aware of the subtle kinds of corruption that may be found, such as:
Suppliers in East Asia often thank their customers with a night out at a local bar, karaoke, or supper (KTV in China). Their invitation to you may be extended to your inspector as well. Innocuous gestures such as these may affect your inspector's choice, which you may not have anticipated. While this isn't necessarily bad, the more time an inspector spends at a certain plant and interacts with the same manufacturing workers, their ability to perform honest inspections and reports is likely to be compromised.
Outside inspector extortion has been a growing concern in quality control over the past several years, despite the fact that most importers think unscrupulous suppliers are the only threat to integrity. The most common kind of extortion is when inspectors demand money or "kickbacks" from suppliers for approving excellent product quality reports on their own items. An inspector may threaten to write a report indicating the contrary unless your supplier gives them with some type of incentive or pay, even if the things produced at the plant meet your criteria.
Because of the threat of extortion, inspectors are more likely to disclose quality issues that are difficult to prove with images or solid data. When inspecting resin coating on a fabric, for example, inspectors generally just use their hands to feel for the correctness of the coating since there is often nothing more they can do to verify this on-site. An inspector might easily falsify details in their report about what happened as a result. According to a recent study, importers are more likely to depend on the inspector's word than the source's word.