Re: Direct from the factory floor (as-in stolen)?
Pshycho is right. This is not the work of a bunch of rogue workers, it has to operate with either the cooperation or at least the unspoken agreement of management. I find it hard to believe that they are being stolen in the traditional sense ie. Security: "Ahmad, what the hell have you got down your pants?" Ahmad:"Oh man, took a viagra last night, the damn thing still hasn't worn off!"
I saw quite a bit of this happen in quite a few countries, my favourite for sheer audicaty was a huge factory producing garments for a particular jeans manufacturer in Turkey, on the street outside pitched against the railings of factory were market stalls selling the produce. I even saw someone asking for a leg to be taken up and with that a boy was dispatched to the back door of the factory, 5 minutes later the deal was complete.
For a company like Ibanez hiring an investigator shouldn't be an issue. Perhaps they are afraid that they'll be forced to close the whole operation if they delve too deeply into the issue. I feel their best bet would be to hit the factory with a new contract whereby they fine the factory $1,000 for every part that hits the market "factory direct", every other solution would probably involve awarding the contract to whomever the rivals were during the tender phase (most large companies tender this sort of work and make a choice between 3 to 4 suppliers), this would have huge costs and issues associated.
There are more often an array of factors at the heart of this. One thing I can't help noticing is the parts are insanely cheap, this means that the guys selling it feel that they're getting a good price and more importantly so are the guys stealing it. All of this points to another issue, the workers are obviously not getting paid very much. Perhaps a combination of a well trained outside security team and a financial package more in line with Japan or the US would stamp this out altogether, sure it would push prices up, however, the finishing on some of the Indonesian guitars is great. I feel if the workers were given a decent financial package, the QC issues would start to taper off also. I am sure much of the stealing/shoddy workmanship is being internally justified by many quite skilled labourers who feel somewhat exploited and are using that as the excuse to set their own moral compass on the issue.
Guitar buyers are willing to part with a little more cash for a better made guitar. Some of the Indonesian guitars are only a few hundred cheaper than a Prestige anyway. That's my 2c