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Corruption Today
This is corruption month at Paperitalo Publications. The primary place we are highlighting this editorial topic is in my column on Nip Impressions. However, I wanted to take the space allocated to me here to mention the subject briefly.

Some people talk about corruption as if it were a thing of the past. Many stories I hear start with, "We used to do ...."

Let me assure you, corruption is not an issue of the past, it is alive and thriving in our mills today.

Sometimes, it is as simple as someone taking a bribe. Such cases are the easy, clear cut ones.

How about the felt salesperson that comes in every shutdown, bringing donuts and taking everyone out to lunch? Do you think that the felt company authorizes this expenditure out of the goodness of their heart(s)? I don't think so. It is a matter of developing a long term endearing position. Their managers know it is a bit harder to kick them out for a better price, or to push hard for an allowance for a felt that did not run as long as it should if they have made friends of you. It is simple--donuts are cheaper than returns and allowances.

Then there are the more insidious cases. The cases of the hotshot manager that is deliberately negligent in maintenance expenditures to make themselves look good and get their own big bonus and promotion. Their bonus was taken out of the assets of the company that they allowed to deteriorate. This is fiduciary malfeasance.

Even worse are the safety incidents caused by neglectful safety practices. There is a major company in our industry right now that has been put under the watchful eye of federal bureaucrats for this very reason. It took a fatality to bring this situation to light.

Corruption is all around us. At one point in time, I found people who were being overly cautious and labeling matters as corruption that were not. I seldom find that today. More often, I observe people doing clearly corrupt acts who are so desensitized they don't even realize it.

Look around your area of responsibility. Look hard. Question what it going on. Regain your competitive edge by eliminating the leakage in your own company.

Jim Thompson is Executive Editor of Paperitalo Publications. He can be reached by email at jthompson@taii.com.
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