Dronemaker DJI has outlined steps to prevent employee theft in the wake of news that DJI employees were inflating the cost of parts and materials for personal gain, in what could have cost the company up to 1 billion yuan ($150 million).
The case of employee fraud was uncovered via an internal probe, and DJI responded by firing a number of employees, alerting law enforcement, and setting up new internal channels for employees to submit confidential and anonymous reports relating to any violations of the company’s workplace conduct policies.
DJI has since elaborated on the news of the employee theft and outlined how it planned to instill new corporate internal processes, implying that previously loose management practices would be re-evaluated. Read the entire statement from DJI, released on Jan. 30, here:
Since our founding 13 years ago, DJI has been a company that emphasizes honesty and integrity in our operations. We strongly believe that upholding these values is a critical element in DJI’s long-term development.
We have been disappointed to learn that not all employees have upheld these goals. As DJI embarked on a management reform effort last year, we discovered problems that had evolved during our period of high growth.
Uncovering inefficient and ineffective management processes is extremely important for DJI to continue pursuing its success. This is an imperative for our company, and indeed for any company.
Unfortunately, DJI has discovered instances of cost inefficiency, purchasing manipulations and outright theft. We cannot ignore these issues. Indeed, for the sake of the vast majority of our employees who work hard and honestly, we need to uncover and eliminate these problems.
We also understand that strong management is the key to setting honorable expectations for our employees. While mature companies have established the training, controls and management protocols to limit these issues, DJI has in the past emphasized corporate growth over new internal processes.
In fact, taking greater control over internal processes is key to ensuring companies can continue to innovate and grow. Eliminating factors that artificially raise costs may be painful at first, but doing so clears the path for a company to operate at maximum efficiency and reach its full potential while upholding high ethical standards.
DJI will now take a leading role in developing clear policies, procedures and expectations to address corner-cutting and employee theft. We call on more companies to take similar steps.
As DJI has taken action to address these issues, we have seen rumors, speculation and incorrect information reported publicly. While we thank the media for treating this issue with the respect it deserves, we do not publicly discuss details of our employee discipline process.
We urge the media to pay close attention to the facts we have presented. DJI and its hardworking, honest employees are focused on growing our business by creating products that improve the world, and our efforts to eliminate inefficiencies and losses will help all of us continue to achieve this goal.
DJI is far and away the world’s largest drone maker, making popular drones including the DJI Mavic Air, DJI Phantom and DJI Mavic Pro. The company employees about 14,000 people globally. The DJI market share is now at an estimated 74%, up from 72% in 2017, according to the 2018 Drone Market Sector Report by Skylogic Research.
DJI is a privately held company and thus does not disclose its financials, but in 2018 was said to have a $15 billion valuation in light of discussions around a new round of funding that would have raised between $500 million and $1 billion. That would mark the biggest round ever raised by DJI, whose previous $75 million fundraising from Accel Partners in 2015 valued it at $10 billion.
But while the employee theft news shouldn’t impact customers, it has left some wondering “what if” in regards to the prices of DJI’s products.