The events in Japan recently have had an effect on global manufacturing supply chains, particularly in the automotive sector. Car giants, such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda have announced production cutbacks as they seek to overcome parts shortages. Toyota, for example, is planning to cut production in China in half, as well as implementing a 70 per cent cut at its plants in North America.
In spite of the disruption, Japan's three major automakers - Toyota, Nissan and Honda - all reaffirmed their commitment to the world's motor industry at the recent Shanghai Motor Show, each saying they stood by their 2011 sales targets for China.
Meanwhile, the ongoing problems have the potential to affect automakers all over the world, not just Japanese ones.
Shortages of electronics, rubber and resin-based parts have already affected companies such as Ford and Peugeot Citroen. The problem is that It’s not easy to find replacement sources for high tech components, such as microchip controllers.
It takes time to develop and test such products. In a world of global supply chains, the disruption is asking questions about the wisdom of single sourcing and just in time parts production .
Brendan Coyne - Editor QMT