As described in my post ‘An innovative bribe!’, some years back, the company I worked with represented a manufacturer of industrial automation systems. The day after we collected the Purchase Order from our private sector customer, the manufacturer’s Sales Director and I visited a public sector company to conduct a demonstration of a product that they were interested in.
As we were driving towards the factory, the manufacturer’s Sales Director asked me whether I had discussed the kickback with the Purchase Manager. The moment I replied that I had not discussed this so far, he took off on me! “Don’t you know this is a public sector company? These people will give you orders only if you bribe them. I’ve been doing business with public sector companies for many years. The PSU policy is: No bribe, no business! Have you never done business with public sector companies?”
When I replied that I had indeed never done business with public sector companies, he replied, “Never mind. I’ll handle this matter today. Just watch me and learn. It’s child’s play!”
We reached the factory at the appointed time and were immediately ushered into the Purchase Manager’s room. Immediately after being introduced, the Sales Director addressed the Purchase Manager, “Sir, we’ve never done any business with your company before, so we need your guidance on an important matter. How much margin do you expect on the contract price?”
With a twinkle in his eye, the Purchase Manager replied, “We expect our suppliers to offer the best possible quality at the lowest possible price as per the required delivery schedule. There is no need for any payment to anybody in this company.”
The Sales Director was stunned! However, being a tough nut to crack, he recovered immediately and asked, “Isn’t yours a public sector company?” The Purchase Manager replied, “Yes, ours is a public sector company. But we’ve always believed in doing business the clean way.”
The Sales Director was not about to give up easily. “I’m sure it would be OK for us to give you some nice New Year gifts,” he said. “That would be OK,” the Purchase Manager replied, and added, “But, something nice and inexpensive with your company name on it, like diaries, wall calendars, table calendars or pens.”
“What about ‘Bade Saab’ (Big Boss)?” the Sales Director asked. The Purchase Manager replied, “You could give him whatever you give the others. Of course, if you want to give him something different, you could. For example, if you give diaries, you could give him a bigger diary, or you could give him a diary and a pen.”
The ever-optimistic Sales Director asked, “What would happen if we offered anybody in your company a lavish gift?”
“I sincerely advise you against any such thing. If you are lucky, the person would politely refuse to accept the gift and leave it at that. If you are unlucky, the matter will be reported to ‘Bade Saab’ and you will face his ire, perhaps be blacklisted.”
The Sales Director was speechless! Believe it or not, I felt sorry for him!!
I know this sounded like a piece of fiction, but it is totally true. People and organisations that remain clean even though they have ample opportunity to be corrupt are an inspiration to all of us! I thought I should share this heart-warming story with you all in this, my last blog post of 2013.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!