Lessons Learned in the Wake of Thai Floods

Severe flooding in summer and fall 2011 in the country of Thailand left many businesses scrambling to deal with the situation. U.S. automakers GM and Ford both have auto plants in Rayong, which lies south of Bangkok, an area particularly hard hit by flooding in October of last year. And while both of the companies were prepared due to lessons learned from the tragic events in Japan earlier in March 2011, they were still impacted by the floods, mainly on the supply side. But, by working together with their suppliers, both companies were able to minimize their damages, as well as get back into operation earlier than expected, according to a recent article by www.just-auto.com.

So, exactly how did GM and Ford deal with the impact of the floods on their suppliers? For GM it was a matter of setting up a war room from which the company tracked activity and coordinated responses to help their suppliers and dealers hard hit by flood waters, as well as to help relief efforts in flooded areas such as Bangkok. GM also supplied needed vehicles to rescue agencies, as well as furnishing 200,000 bottles of water.

Ford, on the other hand, closed operations at its plant in Rayong throughout October 2011, as many of its suppliers were situated in hard hit Ayutthaya province. But, they were able to salvage the situation and get the Rayong plant back in operation ahead of schedule. They were able to attain this goal by working hand-in-hand with each of their suppliers affected by the flood. The importance of their crisis contingency plan was brought to the forefront through the Thailand floods. What was even more evident was the need for that plan to be implemented throughout their entire supply chain going forward.

So, what can be taken away from a disaster like the flooding in Thailand? Contingency plans must always be examined to try and take into account any new factors that might come into play. With an ever-changing world climate, it is important to review emergency management plans from time to time to make sure they are up to date with the latest in threats: from tsunamis, earthquakes, flooding, volcanoes and more.

For more information about how GM and Ford dealt with the Thailand floods, visit: http://www.just-auto.com/analysis/thai-floods-and-their-impact-on-ford-and-gm_id127932.aspx