Thailand is a tropical country with annual monsoons, but nearly 2 meters of water was well beyond most factories’ flood prevention plans. When the rain started, Western Digital organized teams of factory workers to fill and stack sandbags around the perimeter of the plant.
But it soon became clear that these would be no match for what has been described as a once-in-a-century event.
“We were pumping water, and when the amount coming in was more than we could pump out, that’s when we knew we were doomed,”
says Joe Bunya, a Western Digital senior vice president.
Thailand assembles about 40 percent of the world’s hard drives
and if you account for drive component manufacturing, it’s the global leader, according to Fang Zhang, a storage analyst at market research firm IHS iSuppli.
Seagate was the first company to bring some of its hard drive manufacturing to the country, in 1983, and as it built up a local network of specialized part suppliers and workers, others soon followed.
It’s now such an important industry to the country that multiple Thai universities offer curricula designed by hard drive manufacturers to replenish their engineering workforces.
This clustering of a highly specialized industry has become common in the global trend toward lean supply chains and just-in-time manufacturing. Companies can save costs by minimizing the components they store in inventory and minimizing their distance to suppliers.
“We encouraged suppliers to be nearby so that cycle time was shorter and there was less inventory,”
says Bunya. For example, Donaldson, a filter company, employs hundreds of workers at a nearby plant that produces only the tiny air filters that collect loose material inside drive enclosures. That facility, along with many others, also went underwater.
The environmental case for remote working
Anyone searching for a silver lining to the pandemic should look to the clear, blue skies above them. A reduction in pollution worldwide has been an unintended benefit of the lockdowns and stay-in-place orders imposed to control the spread of COVID-19.
Thailand Q1 Investment Applications Soar 80% as FDI More Than Double says BOI
The top three source countries of FDI applications during the first quarter were South Korea, China, and Singapore, with similar levels of investment. Korean investment soared due to a large-scale joint venture in the medical sector, Ms Duangjai said.
The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) said today that in the first quarter of 2021, investment applications rose 80% from the year earlier period to a total value of 123.4 billion baht (USD3.9 billion), led by projects in the medical and electric and electronics (E&E) sectors, as foreign direct investment (FDI) applications more than doubled.(more…)
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