GEC Scenario #46: Critical Drivetrain Component

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 an industrial engineer working for a U.S. automotive parts supplier, you are planning production of a critical drivetrain component that is manufactured in Guangzhou, China. You recently asked the plant’s Chinese engineering staff to estimate the probability of increased part failures due to some changes in the production process. In reply, the lead production engineer tells you he is “fully confident” that the quality of the parts will not change. What would you do?

  1. Thank the lead engineer for his response, then schedule a visit to the supplier so you can take the engineering team to dinner and tour the plant
  2. Apologize to the lead engineer for not being clear, then ask him to review and sign off on the upper and lower failure limits specified in the contract 
  3. Ask the lead engineer to send you a report or documentation with a quantitative estimate of the failure rate
  4. Accept the lead engineer’s response and tell him you trust his judgment
  5. Accept the lead engineer’s response, but ask for written documentation of his claim

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

Citation: Jesiek, B. K. and Woo, S. E. (Eds.). (2018). GEC Scenario #46: Critical Drivetrain Component. 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).