By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
Here’s a wider look at some of the industries and products affected by the situation in Japan, as reported by various news and corporate sources.
Paint: A shortage of a type of shiny pigment used in automobile paints that is only made in a single plant in Japanhas speared international automakers, including GM, Ford and several others. Xirallic, a specialty pigment, is only made at one plant in Onahama, and that coastal town was heavily damaged by the tsunami. Ford and Mazda, among other OEMs, have announced they are now using some alternate sources for most pigments.
Entertainment: Nokia, Nikon, Research in Motion (RIM) and other well-known names all have plants in the affected area. Some were devastated, others only inconvenienced, but all were shut down at least temporarily and product output was heavily cut.
Sony has announced it will shut down several plants due to power shortages. The company produces magnetic and recording heads, Blu-ray discs and other products at several plants in northernJapan. Other recent reports note the computer and video gaming industry losing over $85 million due to delayed release of titles and new products.
Chemicals: Reports from this sector are mixed; some companies have been heavily affected and others not at all. The supply of many chemical products, exported toChinafor use in other manufacturing processes, has been affected by transportation interruptions and Chinese industry is beginning to feel the effects.
InJapan, the reduced or interrupted chemical supplies will be seen in all markets including food, sanitation, manufacturing, medicines, and hundreds of others.
Plastics: Providers of every type of synthetic material continue to be affected by many variables. Reduced output means less material available for vehicle dashboards and trim as well as all the other industries that use any kind of plastic. Some PVC makers in the U.S are already sending product toJapanto support their market. Your next Apple i-thing (pad, pod, phone, etc.) may be either delayed or more expensive – or both; the company has said it uses plastics fromJapanduring assembly of several products.
Tires: Toyo, Bridgestone,Yokohamaand other tire producers have mostly re-established their operations inJapan, but all had closed some plants for a period of time. That lag put a drop in the supply, and certain specialty tires may be hard to get inNorth Americafor a while. All the companies also remain hampered by the electrical rationing, clean-up operations and fractured transport networks.
Some companies are concentrating on producing truck and bus tires, with the view that those are most important to get the country back on its feet quickly. In theU.S.at least one semi-pro racing series is already considering a rule change for the new season because they have been told by the supplier that their specified tire may not be available in sufficient quantities.
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