While adherence to labour laws are crucial aspects of managing any facility, this story has additional lessons to be learned. For starters, companies must visit their global sites. According to a New York Times article, two Apple employees pointed out that Jobs never visited the company's factories in China.
Second, companies need to keep their communication lines open. Some of Foxconn's problems are reportedly tied to top-down only communication. How many times have you heard someone in industry say that the Quality team doesn't communicate with the Development team, or that Senior Management doesn't communicate with the Technicians? Listening to employees—no matter their department—can only lead to improvement at all levels.Third, companies need to be transparent. A January 2012 Apple report included for the first time the names of companies that supply Apple with parts and services, something it had previously declined to do. We know from recent unfortunate events, that the final manufacturer, distributor, or assembler is not necessarily where problems can occur. Quality must be sewn into and confirmed throughout every point in a product's supply chain. Regulators have enforced this message repeatedly.
I believe these points are must-do's for securing the industry's supply chain.