Posted by ff on 9/09/03
On 8/28/03, curious wrote:
> There has been some discussion of 'suppression bias' and all
> its nuances; translation, it's just good business.
> In other words, the insurance companies and chemical
> companies would be overwhelmed and the system couldn't
> afford the compensation. Sucks, no?
Actually, I think in the long term there would be a positive
effect on the system. Suppression bias is a method used by
manufacturers to deal with liability resulting from defects in
their products. Essentially, these defects are a reflection of
the organization and product quality, or a compromise in
quality. For example: inherent design flaws, tires that blow,
products that contain toxic contaminants due to sloppy
manufacturing practices, fuel tanks that explode on impact,
When you look at the total costs associated with these and
other problems, it would be cheaper (and more responsible) to
produce a true quality product in the first place. Compromise
quality in the organization once, and it spreads like cancer.
As for the system, we're all part of it and we all bear the
costs. We are in trouble today because the system cannot
afford the consequences of manufacturers' screw-ups. It can
afford a clean-up.
To give an example of sloppy manufacturing practices or poor
quality spreading like cancer and becoming a part of the
corporate culture, here is one CEO's approach to waste
handling, hazardous or not:
"I want us to create a corporate culture in which there is no
such thing as industrial waste. I believe anything that goes
out the waste pipes may well be something that can be recycled,
reused or sold."
It sounds great, but in actuality the "waste" simply became a
part of the "product," increasing bulk quantity at no cost,
saving disposal costs, and initially increasing profits. In
the end, it cost the manufacturer, the customers, the agencies,
The system cannot afford it.
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