I am not sure if any significant sample of electronics exports was actually tested high for radiation, but i wont be surprised if this happens in coming days since the radiation level's are significantly high around the nuclear plant.
Interesting. Do we know whether a significant sample of electronics exports has actually tested high for radiation? Or is this just a marketing issue? I imagine it was already illegal to import or export something dangerously radioactive, before the disaster.
On the specific quake threat to technology: it's a very astute point that not just the factories and the Asia-based companies are in seismic zones, but really the technology industry is located around the shaky Pacific Rim. Silicon Valley is over the Santa Cruz mtns from the San Andreas Fault, and the Hayward Fault, which may be even spookier when you look at geologists' prognostications, runs right under San Francisco Bay. It's curious to think that such an industry is so specifically exposed to a particular, and particularly devastating kind of threat.
Brown is right in noting the suply chain is more about financial risk management than it is about actual supply and demand. A lot of the inventory the current structure deals with is actually theoretical rather than physical inventory, based on demand, leadtimes and forecasts...The current structure is also supposed to account for every possible "what if" scenario a computer system can create--all of this theory hasn't helped this time in acutal practice
As with many other human endevors, little regard is paid to the overall Economic position, but rather short term gain.
The supply chain is the way it is because of the financial incentives and as such it has grown to its current incarnation with very little regard to the geographical stability of any particular region, it is the same reason that a country would build ,not one but four nuclear reactors in a geographically unstable position, right next to an ocean prone to tsunamis.
The rebuilding of Japan will continue the same way it has in the past, that is to say with very little regard to the population of the effected area, it is a sad fact of life that many in Japan consider it none of their business or not their problem because they are to far away from the area.We may see a few officials bowing or 'crying' or saying sorry, but the reality is that many of the areas will receive little or no support.
There is of course a further issue to consider and that is of the radiation, the supply chain may actually become contaminated with radio active materials or emissions, putting any supplied products at a level higher than that of other suppliers, which in turn may then force consumers or governments to further restrict the supply chain even though it has entered a recovery phase, certainly as regards electronic components, there can be serious reliability issues related to stray particles, particularly as regards to Memory devices.
Japan has played a keyrole in the supply chain along with china and taiwan. But there is lot of reasons why the it is too costly to rebuild the Japan. It is very clear that they are at the risk in the future just like other countries in seismic zone. This could be one reason for the investors to look back and build the plants in other geographic without much problems.
While we have started worrying about the aftereffects of the earthquake in Japan and other Asian countries, we must also be well aware and alarmed that the Silcon Valley also lies in the seismic zone and may witness a similar natural disaster because of it being part of the very sensitive seismic zone. Such a disaster will upset the root business itself , leave aside the supply chain!
Thanks for the summary of Brown's discussion. It is often hard to hear the facts being stated bluntly. It is evident that the supply chain is too complex and there are many things that are based on assumptions with the basic self check of "what kind of real risks exist within the supply chain" is often avoided, and when touched upon is really uncomfortable to accept.
The current reality is what you stated in this article that the supply chain is no longer uni-directional, and Chinese wage increases is making the argument of sourcing closer to home a new reality, since savings on labor will no longer outweigh shipping costs with time. Also, the unpredictability of natures forces impacting many of these regions with cheap labor (Taiwan, Phillipines, Malaysia, etc) coupled with questionable labor practices in many of them, is further begging the question, what are the real risks within the supply chain? It is time to collectively identify the risks and to figure out what needs to be done. There is an urgent need for a paradigm shift!
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