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Five Weeks Post Japan Earthquake- Supply Shortage Picture Grows More Concerning in Automotive

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The effects of the March 11 earthquake that occurred in Japan are now having a visible impact on automotive supply chains.  Toyota is the first of the big three Japanese automotive OEM’s to acknowledge that supply of new vehicles could be significantly impacted during the upcoming summer months.  Reports in both The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times indicate that Toyota has informed its dealers that parts shortages will significantly curtail production operations in Japan, North America and Europe based production facilities. While Toyota officials indicate it is still too early to ascertain specific cutbacks, nonetheless expectations are now being set for what may come. Inventories of finished vehicles are currently less than 60 days of sales in North America. Toyota’s North American plants, which are already operating on a constrained schedule, will be idled for five additional days in April, including an extended three day Easter holiday.  The […]

Large Scale Chip Heist Adds More Concern to the State of the Secure Supply Chain

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In the area of supply chain related theft, we often hear of cargo related or warehouse theft but a story last week out of Silicon Valley California places a more concerning dimension to theft. California authorities last week cracked a case which involved an armed robbery of a semiconductor production plant that amounted to upwards of 1.7 million flash memory chips valued at $37 million. Thirteen to fifteen masked thieves were involved in this incident that targeted the Unigen Corp. production plant in Fremont California on February 27th.  The culprits held-up five Unigen employees at gunpoint, and moved them to a back room, while the stolen material was loaded onto a large truck. The stolen parts included flash-memory chips widely used for storing information in smartphones, digital players and cameras. It seems fairly obvious that the thieves knew what they were looking for and where to find them. Thus far, […]