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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Lessons Learned from the Japan Earthquake

Written by  PATRICK BRENNAN July 11, 2011

On March 11, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake rocked the main island of Honshu Japan. The earthquake, tsunami and its aftermath caused devastating human, social and economic damage. People around the world were stunned by video of exploding nuclear power plant buildings, demolished cities and personal accounts of the tragedy.The earthquake also heavily disrupted global manufacturing supply chains. My discussions with electronics and aerospace companies since March as well as public sources have exposed commonalities in manufacturer experiences and revealed important lessons for reducing losses during future supply chain disruptions.Manufacturers Deployed Global Teams to Limit Potentially Massive LossesAll the electronics and aerospace manufacturers interviewed had a significant supply chain presence in Japan so it was immediately apparent that there was a high risk of widespread supplier parts outages. Their company executives met on March 11. Each company suffered little or no damage to their own facilities in Japan. Still, when supply

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