It feels like for whatever reason this year, Mother Nature has got it in for us Earthlings but good.
No matter where you live, it seems like freak snowstorms, hurricanes, tsunamis or plain old excessive rain and flooding have put a damper on your activities or home values. But one other thing we’ve learned is that however frightening the weather itself is, there is also always an issue of unforeseen consequences looming.
For instance, the story about peanut butter prices increasing is not so much of a surprise given excessive flooding in some parts of the US. But would you believe a laptop shortage could result from the rough weather? Oh, yes, it’s possible. And after a disruption in manufacturing due to excessive and persistant flooding in Thailand, which is a major production hub for Japan, several manufacturers are trying to mitigate the effects of a shortage of key components.
California-based Western Digital is one of companies facing shortages after the disruptions, and CEO John Coyne spoke to investors on a conference call in October. Coyne said:
“This is a disaster of unprecedented scale. The flooding in Thailand presents us with a series of daunting challenges during the next several quarters.”
Production slowdowns are expected for at least six months, which is likely to lead to a shortage of laptops in the first quarter of 2012. But it isn’t just a laptop shortage- consumer electronics as a whole are expected to be impacted by the flooding, including cameras, compact cameras and automobile components.