Honesty a key value for SMEs

Professor Thomas Menkhoff's commentary provided many practical lessons that Singapore's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can learn from and take heed of ("Lessons from Germany's 'Hidden Champions'"; Nov 18).

Another lesson that is equally valuable and pertinent to our industrial enterprises is that of honesty.

In business, whatever advanced or efficient technologies, methodologies or concepts one adopts, one has to be honest in all dealings.

This is amply illustrated by the Volkswagen emissions scandal, where the automaker was found to have intentionally programmed diesel engines to activate certain emissions controls during laboratory emissions testing ("Volkswagen accused of dodging emission rules"; Sept 20).

This caused the vehicles' nitrogen oxide output to meet standards during regulatory testing, but to go up to as high as 40 times the limit in real-world driving.

The company is still struggling to recover from this scandal.

The competition to gain market share is intense from all sides. Some choose to go the unethical way, but sooner or later, they will get themselves burned.

Liew Yeng Chee