GEC Scenario #58: Alternate Feedstock

This sample scenario is from a collection of 70+ Global Engineering Competency (GEC) scenarios developed for instructional and assessment purposes. For more information, including links to usage tips and other supporting resources, visit our About page.

As a biomedical engineer employed by a U.S.-based medical device firm, you are working closely with a Chinese partner company that has been contracted to manufacture one of your firm’s new products. During a recent teleconference, you learn that the plastic feedstock originally sourced for a key component of the product is no longer available. Shortly thereafter, one of the lead production engineers from the Chinese company sends you a specification sheet and test results for an alternate feedstock from another supplier. While the extensive English-language text in these documents is poorly written and difficult to interpret, the numeric data and performance graphs look good, and your Chinese colleague insists that the material is acceptable. You are under pressure to sign off on the production plan. What would you do?

  1. Request the original Chinese language documents so you can have a trusted colleague or third-party translate them into English.
  2. Thank the supplier and sign off on the production plan.
  3. Request a sample of the feedstock, and explain that this is a requirement of your company’s material retention policy.
  4. Ask for a better translation of the documents.
  5. Ask your Chinese colleague to run a second round of tests to verify the test results, per company policy.
  6. Thank the engineer, then bring the results to your supervisor and ask for their advice on how to handle the situation.
  7. Refuse the material and start looking for a new supplier.
  8. Sign off on the production plan, but ask the supplier for a material sample.
  9. Seek out the original feedstock supplier and request a sample.

Recommended Uses: INSTRUCTION/TRAINING (see our GEC Resource Guide for additional guidance)

Citation: Jesiek, B. K. and Woo, S. E. (Eds.). (2018). GEC Scenario #58: Alternate Feedstock. Retrieved from

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1160455 and 1254323. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We also acknowledge support for this work from Purdue's Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR).