It's not that the industry is unaware of the disaster, just that its impact isn't as widespread across the supply chain. Tablet PCs, for instance, don't have hard drives so Apple's supplies of components and assemblies for the iPad wasn't impacted.
Barbara, Correct. The problem is Intel won't want to bear alone the cost of ensuring its customers would have all the hard disk drives they need. If it secures diversity of hard disk drives because it wants to sell microprocessors, then it would have to secure supplies of other components that go into the finished equipment, ranging from capacitors to connectors, power products, cooling fans, enclosures, packaging supplies, the list goes on and on.
In some ways it's easier to imagine such a system than to actually design and operate one. Each region and country wants a share of the global supply chain but none is perfectly suited to harbor everything without jeopardizing the entire structure. Political instability in China, for instance, could probably derail the entire global manufacturing economy but I don't think this is even being discussed. We are all hoping this would never happen. Let's pray too it doesn't because it would be the mother of all supply chain disruptions.
When I talk to people outside the industry, the flooding in Thailand didn't even register. The Japan disaster got a lot of coverage--as it should have--but the Thailand event has had a greater impact on the electronics supply chain. Manufacturing still tends to cluster geographically--proximity to customers, etc.--but there has to be some diversification. The supply chain eliminated a lot of redundancy by moving to JIT and lean--but there's gotta be some leeway to put some back. There are many shuttered factories around the world that can be called into service. It's time consuming, but ultimately less expansive than a $1 billion loss.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.