[This is the first blog in an occasional series highlighting interesting people in the global electronics supply chain].
Megan Pedigo started her current role at Smith & Associates right as the high water was sloshing around Thailand, and the industry was starting to realize the consequences.
Welcome to the supply chain.
To recap the history: In 2011, major flooding in Thailand killed hundreds and knocked out much of the world's hard disk drive capacity because so many key factories were located in the flood zone. (See: Thailand Floods Hit the Supply Chain.)
“It came on fast and hard. It was a learning experience for everybody,” Pedigo told me in a recent interview. (See also Residual Effects Abound From Thai Flooding).
How did she and her team manage through the chaos of those first weeks and months after the flood? In a word: communication.
“Everybody had shortages. It was not just regions, it was worldwide,” Pedigo, who is Assistant Director of Purchasing at Smith & Associates, told me. “I can't can't tell you how many phone calls were made to identify needs. We knew this was going to be a year-plus problem.”
The team at Smith communicated not a quick fix to customers, but a one-year vision, she added.
The fix-it challenge
That was the product-demand side. On another front: service and repair, “We had a lot of locations with critical shortage… The small companies that were getting overlooked and were getting no support.”
This was important because, at the time, a lot of focus — both from media and from the industry itself — was on the huge disk drive companies and how they would adapt.
“Relationships are key at every level, whether it's internally or whether it's with our suppliers,” she said. “Having that relationship is knowledge. You're going to get more information and more knowledge.”
Pedigo's career is a handy illumination of how fluid and challenging a supply chain career can be — something she enthusiastically recommends for college students.
“Absolutely. It's fluctuating. It's always going to be around. You're always going to have electronics, the need for manufacturing, and service and repair. Electronics is going to change (but) it's always going to be around.”
Why is it an interesting business to hang a career?
“You learn and evolve with your surroundings,” said Pedigo, who is an occasional contributor to EBN through Smith's Supply Chain Intelligence blog. “In electronics, you have to keep up with the technology, or you're going to get left behind. Tomorrow's a new day and new wealth of technology to tap into.”