Transparency is the norm today – everyone is watching

September 23, 2015 Torben Rick


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Transparency is the norm today – Trust comes from transparency

It’s been dubbed the “diesel dupe”. The German car giant VW has admitted cheating emissions tests in the US. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some cars being sold in the US had devices in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results. The EPA has said that the engines had computer software that could sense test scenarios by monitoring speed, engine operation, air pressure and even the position of the steering wheel.

When the cars were operating under controlled laboratory conditions – which typically involved putting them on a stationary test rig – the device appears to have put the vehicle into a sort of safety mode in which the engine ran below normal power and performance. Once on the road, the engines switched from this test mode.

The result? The engines emitted nitrogen oxide pollutants up to 40 times above what is allowed in the US. How many car buyers will trust VW now?

Surprising that the company’s leadership thought the plan wouldn’t come to light

While it’s surprising that the VW tried to pass off its cars as “clean diesel,” it’s even more surprising that the company’s leadership thought the plan wouldn’t come to light. One German newspaper has called it the “most expensive act of stupidity in the history of the car industry”.

Once upon a time, companies had complete control over their image and branding, but these days are gone. The good old world are barreling into a new world of complete openness – more connected than ever and gathering endless data. Consumers expect an answer to any question they have about the products and companies they interact with: What’s in this product? Is it toxic? What’s the carbon footprint? Who made it? Were they paid a good wage? How much does the CEO make? etc.

This expectation for transparency has extended beyond personal interactions and is now a reality in business. Across all industries, transparency has never been more important to a successful business model. Lets hope that this scandal is a warning to other companies: Trust needs to be an integrated part of any business strategy.

 

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Torben Rick
Transparency is the norm today – everyone is watching

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