Thailand flooding impacts electronics supply chain
The horrific flooding in Thailand is affecting more than just the automotive supply chain.
The electronics supply chain, most notably hard-disk drive manufacturer Western Digital, is experiencing all kinds of problems in its operations. The company said earlier today that it's suspending its business in Thailand because of the floods.
As the world’s largest provider of hard-disk drives, a hiccup in the Western Digital operation could have enormous supply chain impacts from all over the world. Approximately 60 percent of the company’s product comes from its Thailand plants, adding to the dire situation.
THAILAND’S WORST FLOODING IN DECADES
“If this lingers on more than a quarter, there could be outright product not available,” Needham analyst Richard Kugele told the Wall Street Journal. “Right now there’s definitely pretty dramatic shortages and pricing is increasing significantly.”
Rising floodwaters affected Western Digital plants in Pa-in Industrial Park and Navanakorn Industrial Park, though the company says facilities in Malaysia, Singapore and the U.S. are fully operational.
SEE OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK
Other electronic supply chain members impacted by the Thailand flooding include hard-drive disk rival Seagate Technology and chip manufacturers ON Semiconductor and Microsemi.
Thailand’s automobile supply chain saw its operations badly snarled by the damaging flood waters. Honda, Toyota and Ford were among the largest companies impacted, while General Motors and Nissan had their Thailand operations relatively uninterrupted.
The 2011 Thailand floods are the worst to strike the nation in 50 years. Professionals from around the world are going to have to use some pretty nifty supply chain management maneuvers to ensure that global trade is not entirely disrupted by this latest disaster.
FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles
FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics.
The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener".
FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, both in-warehouse and on-road.
“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”
The changing role of couriers
Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time.
But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse.
“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”
Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds.
Last mile's role in ESG
Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings.