Workers at Japanese tech firm Nidec Corp.’s plant have a novel remedy for the flooding crisis that has shut thousands of factories here: They’re piling up boxes of delicate motors for hard-disk drives on narrow wooden boats and ferrying them across a flooded plain to a truck waiting to take them to Bangkok.
The effort underscores the lengths to which some companies are going to preserve what they can amid Thailand’s worst flooding in decades. But a question emerges: Are the companies themselves partly to blame for some of the economic cost of the disaster?
Some experts say yes, and that the international impact of Thailand’s floods should serve as a warning to other companies world-wide. Many have come to rely heavily on thin supply chains for their most critical components, especially in areas, such as Thailand or Japan, that are vulnerable to disasters.
Many companies “never step back and never see the big picture, and see where the potential problems in their supply chains might be; and this is especially true as these supply chains become more geographically dispersed,” says Yogesh Malik, a partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Co.