In just-in-time manufacturing, the "assembler" uses modern communications and transportation to ship parts and smaller assemblies from factories around the world. All of this is timed to get at the assembling factory "just-in-time" for production of the item.
Often one or two widget manufacturers are the sole suppliers not of one industry, but many, as the suppliers use economies of scale to reduce their prices.
However, if one of these sub-manufacturers has problems, there is usually no easy way around the shortfall. Toyota, after the Kobe earthquake, is famous for sourcing out to new suppliers, and getting around the problem. But that is one (world class) company working at a fevered pitch.
Toyota, after the Kobe earthquake, is famous for sourcing out to new suppliers, and getting around the problem. But that is one (world class) company working at a fevered pitch.
As noted by the BBC
Breweries are shut. Pretty much all automotive manufacturing has been suspended. Sony has closed six component plants. Power across the country is being rationed. There is enormous short and long term uncertainty about the impact of the nuclear debacle on health, the environment and the security of power supply.
A partial list of problems:
· Engines and automobile parts for plants around the world
· Steel, paper, and electronic plant are closed. Additional problems are with transportation and communications, as well as employees looking for the missing family members
· Renesas, the world’s largest microcontroller manufacturer (used cars, industrial equipment, office equipment)
· LCD displays for television sets.
list compiled from Plant Closures Imperil Global Supplies, Wall Street Journal, March 14,2011.