May 17, 2020

Factory explosion at Apple Taiwanese supplier Pegatron

Supply Chain Digital
Apple Supply Chain
Apple Explosion
P
Freddie Pierce
2 min
Apple’s supply chain took another hit in 2011, as a weekend explosion at a Pegatron subsidiary in Shanghai is the latest incident in a rash of Apple supplier problems
Really, again? Apples beleaguered supply chain partners cant stay out of the headlines for all the wrong reasons. This time, a metal casing factory own...

Really, again?

Apple’s beleaguered supply chain partners can’t stay out of the headlines for all the wrong reasons. This time, a metal casing factory owned by a Taiwanese subsidiary Pegatron in Shanghai experienced an explosion on Saturday, injuring 61 workers, 23 of which were hospitalized.

Pegatron is one of Apple’s main metal casing suppliers, and said in a statement that the explosion took place in a part of the facility still under construction. That would be good news for production, which the company says won’t be interrupted, but it’s another black eye on Apple’s supply chain.

Earlier this year, an explosion at Foxconn’s Chegndu factory killed three workers and injured 15 others. The polishing plant is a close supplier of Apple iPad products, and the explosion was possibly caused by a build-up of aluminum dust within the plant.

According to U.S. organization China Labor Watch, the most recent blast was also caused by a build-up of aluminum dust where iPad cases are polished. If that’s true, Apple’s supply chain could (and really, should) undergo some serious changes.

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Foxconn in particular has been a publicity nightmare for Apple, as the Taiwanese tech company made employees sign an agreement saying that they would not commit suicide earlier this year.

Last year, 250 workers at a Foxconn factory in India were taken to a hospital after suffering from pesticide poisoning. Also in 2010, an employee died from the effects of exhaustion, following a reported 34-hour shift for Foxconn.

Supply chain risk management is a huge issue facing companies as we turn the page to 2012, but a renewed sense of manufacturing safety should also be a point of emphasis. A smart public relations move for Apple might be leading this effort. We’ll see if it comes to fruition.

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Jun 9, 2021

Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force

supplychain
Supplychainriskmanagement
Procurement
Biden
3 min
US government lays out plans for supply chain transformation following results of the supply chain review ordered by President Biden in February

The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration. 

The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing. 

“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said. 

In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”. 

In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips. 

Support domestic production of critical medicines

 

  • A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration. 
  • The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”. 
  • The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.


Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries

 

  • The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”. 
  • The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”. 


Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals

 

  • An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”. 
  • The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.


Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages

 

  • The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing. 
  • Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”. 
     

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