Disasters Highlight the Need for Risk Management Plans and Reliable Supply Chain Partners


The earthquakes that struck Japan in mid-April caused massive property damage and a large-scale loss of human life, with many survivors injured and displaced in the wake of the quakes and evacuations. Relief efforts and recovery are still underway as everyone affected by these tragedies works to heal and rebuild, but – for many – it will be a long road.

Beyond the most urgent and sobering outcomes of the disaster, we have seen other consequences, as well, as supply chains in many industries have been disrupted. Automotive plants have been hit especially hard, with operations shuttered in affected plants by major players such as GM, Honda, and Toyota. And – closer to home for the electronic components and semiconductors market – we’ve seen factory shutdowns by Sony and Renesas, a key player in semis for mobile devices and a leading manufacturer of microcontrollers.

Though shutdowns have been brief and affected factories have quickly rebounded to at least partial operations, the effects and potential supply chain interruptions may still be long-reaching. With Sony’s sensors playing a key role in many leading smartphones and other mobile devices, the mobile market is likely to feel the stress of shortage. Likewise, Renesas’s semiconductors and chips go into everything from phones to cars, and the company’s shutdown may cause sourcing issues down the line.

There are situations like natural disasters that we can’t see coming – but it is possible to plan for them with thorough risk management strategies and the support of reliable supply chain partners who can help ease the strain of unpredictable lead times, shortage, and other issues. Independent distributors like Smith are primed to navigate difficult sourcing situations like the current one, locating necessary product and also promising quality and authenticity through strenuous inspection and anti-counterfeit testing.

As we wait to see a sense of normality return to the lives of those affected by the quakes and to the region as a whole, Smith will continue working to help manufacturers manage their supply chains in this and other uncertain situations. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your questions or supply chain challenges.

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