Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!

Too much slack in supply chain means softer Japanese recovery

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
April 07, 2011

Analysts for IDC Manufacturing Insights and IDC Retail Insights, report that Japanese manufacturers face severe disruptions across several value chains in the coming months.

According to IDC group vice president, Bob Parker, Toyota is losing $80 million per day largely due to several strategic suppliers being located in the Northeast.

“Even if plants were not damaged, power has been unreliable,” he said in a recent blog post. “General Motors, who also relies on suppliers in northern Japan for global production, has cut overtime at its Korea plants in anticipation of parts shortages and expects the impact to reach other parts of the world.  GM reported that the complete picture wouldn’t be known for several weeks.”

In the high-tech sector, Parker sees a similar crisis playing out, with a crunch put on semiconductor supply—particularly flash memory.

“The effects are already being felt in an industry that, prior to the earthquake, was already utilizing high levels of capacity,” he said. “Apple has announced that lead times for the new iPad 2 have already been extended to seven weeks, largely due to a lack of memory components.  Having a source of reliable energy is critical to getting this industry back to running normally and there is little optimism that the nuclear issues will resolve either favorably or quickly.”

Parker noted that base materials and consumer goods were also taking a hit – due in part to failures in supply chain technology.

Simon Ellis, who currently leads the supply chain strategies practice area at IDC Manufacturing Insights, concurred:

“There has been a trend up to now, to invest in systems that would assure redundancy,” he said in an interview. “But that puts too much slack in the supply chain. Now companies have to plan for the future without getting too focused on an overwhelming rapid response to disaster.”

Ellis said that companies should not retreat from a “just-in-time” model, as inventories will become too spare.

“Preparing for normal events and mitigating risk can be done sensibly and in a cost-effective manner. We advise companies to have contingencies in place for bad weather…not 100-year storms.”

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Slowing global trade and a bloated orderbook of large vessel capacity mean that container shipping is set for another three years of overcapacity and financial pain, according to the latest Container Forecaster report published by global shipping consultancy Drewry.

The NRF is calling for 2015 holiday sales to see a 3.7 percent annual gain to $630.5 billion, which comfortably outpaces the ten-year average of 2.5 percent.

On the heels of announcing it plans to acquire freight transportation and logistics services provider Con-way Inc. for $3 billion, XPO Logistics may be considering selling off Con-way Truckload, the company’s truckload arm.

The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) has called on world leaders meeting at the United Nations this week to work together to find solutions to the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe

More than 20 U.S. port authority officials and their key staff, representing seaports from all four U.S. coasts, will gather on October 8 to meet with Congressional leadership to discuss the upcoming surface transportation bill and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ navigation budget.


Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA