Jonathan Stein, new vice president of international contracts for Timothy & Timothy North America, is faced with the decision of whether to renew the contracts of Lahore or not, which will increase the cost of labor by at least a third if he doesn’t renew.
Thomas & Thomas North America has recently redefined its’ company international policy & regulations with the Global Guidelines for Business Partners. This policy prohibited the use of child labor in the development of its products, meaning anyone under the age of 14 or the compulsory school age cannot be employed. This policy was prematurely implemented according to the experiences of Jonathan Stein’s 2 month track throughout Asia. There seems to be disparities between the communications of the Boston, United States managers and the international managers who run these outsourced business sectors.
Specifically in Pakistan, sourcing manager Yusuf Ahmed disagreed with the company’s new guidelines, simply because of the nature of business in developing countries. Although, he felt strongly against the company’s international regulations where they are imposing the American value system on Third World developing countries, he failed to mention his position or facilities employee structure to the responsible parties until the issue is brought to light with the visitation of new vice president of international contracts, Jonathan Stein. The fact that other contractors in other countries are complying with the guidelines and performing just fine, while other countries are renegading and doing their own thing is a big issue for T&T. Lack of communication seems to be a major problem for a company that is choosing to outsource certain business sectors to various parts of the world outside of their main markets, US and Europe.
Another issue arises when companies from the United States set up these international regulatory policies but want to produce good quality items on time cheaply or else they won’t purchase the items. The reality is that the policy doesn’t align correctly with certain countries, specifically Pakistan, way of doing business, especially ways these countries choose to excite the economy by bringing in jobs for families in need.
Stein feels extremely good about working with a company that values employee empowerment and diversity, but after his visit to Asia he’s a little uneasy about this sentiment. Although, Stein is persistent while talking to Ahmed about understanding the working requirements accepted by his facility and is trying to sway Ahmed from using these contractors who utilize children, he is worried about the additional cost the company will incur with an employee structural change. Stein is conflicted with the professional thing to do versus the moral thing to do in his position. Also the working conditions were close to be perfect with the exception of some facilities that did not provide heat for its employees, although most the job required employees to work mostly with their hands.
III. Recommendation a. Short Term
Thomas & Thomas is recommended not to renew the Lahore contracts for violation of company policy. The Lahore facility, should ask the contractors to fire any kids who are known to be under the age of 14. Additionally, children who are questionable or don’t provide valid documentation of their real age should be provided with a doctor’s