Riordan Manufacturing is a company that specializes in the manufacture of plastic products. Headquartered in San Jose, California it has factories in Albany, Georgia; Pontiac, Michigan and Hangzhou, china. The products range from beverage containers to custom plastic parts and plastic fan components. It is from San Jose that the management of the company controls and coordinates the operations of its interests. The headquarters also house the research and development division of the firm. Since incorporation in 1991, through expansion and mergers, the company has grown both in revenue and number of employees.
Riordan Manufacturing is solely owned by Riordan industries. Annual revenue projections of the company is $46 million and has 550 employees. Consumers of the company’s products include beverage manufacturers, Department of Defence, aircraft manufacturers, automotive part manufacturers, bottlers and appliance manufacturing firms. The mission of the manufacturer is to be an industry leader in plastic manufacturing industry. It strives to meet its current customer’s needs while expanding its operations in order to provide solutions to many more. To achieve these objectives research and development is vital for innovation and adoption of emerging technology.
As the corporate compliance officer of Riordan Manufacturing, I am tasked with ensuring minimum number of lawsuits and liabilities. Lack of compliance to the laws and regulations governing the environment within which the company operates may lead to bankruptcy due to the heavy fines which the firm will face. Compliance of Riordan to these laws is vital to its core business plan. It is also crucial to take into consideration both the Committee of Sponsoring Organization of the Treadaway Commission (COSO) guidelines and Sarbanes –Oxley Act in the process. A compliance plans therefore, cover all departments, processes and documentation of the manufacturer. Compliance of any business is challenging mainly due to the fast paced global business environment. Riordan Manufacturing is expanding to new markets and therefore, faces new business environments with different challenges and practices. The firm also has a plan to relocate manufacturing from Hangzhou to Shanghai over the next five years.
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An internal control and corporate governance mechanism is an integral part of the corporation. It is to ensure all agents of the firm including employees and management adhere to industry and government rules and regulations. A reporting mechanism should also be in place. The corporate compliance officer on receiving a report will pass it to the chief legal counsel. He then advises the company’s directors and officers on the best course of action. Some of key areas that the department should pay attention to in the formulation of its corporate compliance include product liability, international law, enterprise liability to employees and general public, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), tangible and intellectual property and legal forms of businesses in the various environments they do business.
It is imperative for a mechanism of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to exist. Constant review and revision of the system is vital to ensure efficiency and relevance to the users. This is important to inspire confidence in the system as compared to other forms of dispute resolution that are available to the aggrieved party (Ravine, 2009). The main aim of ADR is to avoid litigation that is costly to both parties and injures the reputation of the company. In the organization structure mechanisms of solving, employee disputes should be available. Some of the forms of alternative dispute resolution include arbitration and meditation.
The need for arbitration and meditation is magnified by the delay and inefficiency of civil litigation. Arbitration involves setting up a mini-trial for a dispute that is about to go for litigation. An individual or panel who are not judges take charge of coming up with an acceptable resolution. Before a dispute goes for arbitration, both parties must agree to use it. Cases in civil litigation can be referred back for arbitration where the judge is still familiar with proceedings to avoid exploitation and abuse of the pre-trial proceedings. Judge participation increases accuracy and efficiency. It also forms the basis for settlement negotiations and can even save time of trial if the case proceeds to civic litigation.
On the other hand, mediation is where a third party known as mediator tries to solve the dispute amicably. The mediator tries to work out agreement points between the disputing parties. Mediation differs from arbitration in that there is an individual or panel that symbolizes a judge in a trial. The resolution arrived at during arbitration must not be agreeable to both conflicting parties. The mediator takes an active role in the discussions, and it must result in a fair outcome to both parties.
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Second is enterprise and product liability. Product liability is the act of taking responsibility for harm caused by a product. Riordan Manufacturing produces a number of products for the global market. Therefore, it is liable to its consumers for any defects in its products (Gruner, 2007). It also liable to any harm that is as a result of the product to other agents along the supply chain such as retailers, wholesalers and others. Product liability includes both tangible and intangible products. An effective corporate compliance plan for Riordan manufacturing to minimise product liability is vital because manufacturers are main targets of such lawsuits. The most effective way to do this is to ensure its products especially plastics conform to a standard required and are manufactured using certified processes and technology. Innovation is important to produce environment friendly products void of defects.
Enterprise liability involves taking responsibility of negligent events that occur in the normal operations of the company and result in injury. Enterprise liability requires that compensations for injuries are drawn from the members who profit from the activities of the enterprise (Gruner, 2007). The cost, however, is not being concentrated on the aggrieved individual or dispersed to other units of business. The firm is involved in a quite a number of business activities diversifying its products and expanding to emerging markets. Therefore, the company should put in place a decentralised, comprehensive and effective plan to insure against enterprise liabilities. Rigorous testing of products should be mandatory and training of employees in the design and manufacturing departments to detect defects early on before they enter the market.
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Rules and regulations by government agencies and industry regulators if violated by firms lead to fines and penalties. A decision by a firm to adhere to these regulations will depend on the certainty of suffering punitive measures (Antarr, 1995). Riordan Manufacturing faces a number of ethical and legal responsibilities crucial to the continued operation of the firm. The accounting records of the firm are adhere to generally accepted accounting principles. The firm is also required to disclose to its investors financial records and make them readily available to them and the general public. The Sarbanes –Oxley Act gives rules and guidelines that corporations such as Riordan use (Ambler, 2006). It contains punitive measures in case of violation of the laws, also covers reporting and the regulations. Therefore, it is crucial for the financial records of the firm to adhere to the GAAPs and constant review done to update them.
Riordan Manufacturing sells its products to the global market. International law compliance is vital to the company. Further, the company has one of its manufacturing facility in Hangzhou, china. This means that the firm has to employ international law lawyers with useful and relevant knowledge of the Chinese market (Determann, 2012). The regulations for manufacturing in china are not same as those prevailing in United States. Therefore, relevant expertise will be useful to minimise conflicts. Considering the size of the company, achieving all the required expertise is not possible, therefore, competent and dynamic international law lawyers are hired to ensure smooth operations of compliance departments. Compliance is important to minimise intentional tort, negligence and strict tort liability (American Bar Association, 2005). Riordan Manufacturing cooperates with its Chinese partners. The Chinese partners are responsible for environmental clean-up at the facility, provision of labour and capital and linking with locals, government agencies and regulatory agencies (Pennell, 1992).
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Over the years of operation of the enterprise, it has accumulated copyrights crucial to protection of intellectual properties. The firm strives to be an industry leader in the manufacture of plastics therefore, innovation is encouraged through research and development. The tangible and intellectual property rights of the firm are enforceable through acts such as Copyright Act 1976, Lanham Act and the Patent Act. The Copyright Act 1976 enables holders of copyrights to exclusive use of their products. It also gives them the power to take legal action against infringements (Stim, 2010). The Lanham Act contains federal statutes that enable protection against infringement, misleading advertisement and dilution (American Bar Association, 2005). Finally, the Patent Act deals with issues relating to patents. It deals with application, examination and contracting of qualified patent examiners.
Legal forms of business regulations such as The Sarbanes –Oxley Act require that firms maintain a high standard of governance. High level transparency through maintaining open communication channels between the executive and board of directors (Schneeman, 2013). An audit committee to audit the financial statements of the company. The audit committee is to be independent and free of manipulation. The Sarbanes –Oxley Act outlines specifications and responsibilities of the audit committee.
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