PI Window on Business Special Bulletin – “For Want of a Nail: The Pandemic Effect”

Posted on May 1, 2009


“Here’s another real-world example of how a little break in a supply line can have a big impact.

(The pandemic-related concern about supply chains, of course, is that high absenteeism during a pandemic might cause companies to fall behind in their production, failing to deliver the parts or ingredients which customers need.  In turn, this might cause ripple effects downstream.)

The July 20, 2007 Wall Street Journal published an article titled, “A Key Strategy of Japan’s Car Makers Backfires,” which begins: For want of a piston ring costing $1.50, nearly 70 percent of Japan’s auto production has been temporarily paralyzed this week.  Blame it on kanban, the just-in time philosophy of keeping as little inventory on hand as possible.”


A recent by the University of Minnesota warning “that an influenza pandemic could disrupt the coal industry,” and with it “significantly” threaten the nation’s “coal-dependent power system,” demonstrates how interconnected and interdependent we are in a global community.

With the rapidly developing swine flu story occupying the majority of the headlines in 2009, we cannot claim that we were unaware of the potential risk of a widespread pandemic or its effects on an increasingly globalized supply chain practice.

In this 90 minute PI Window on Business Special, we delve into the true nature of the latest crisis relative to this critical area of an enterprise’s operations, including suggestions as to what steps organizations should take to mitigate the risks to ensure the continuing and timely flow of products and services.

Please join us next week when we welcome Ariba’s Chief Financial Officer Ahmed Rubaie to discuss that organization’s recent transition to the on-demand world in “Calculating the Cost of Transformation.”