Posts tagged: Manufacturing

Tracking the effect of the earthquake and tsunami in printer shipments

Ralf Schlozer
 Oct 5, 2011

On March 11, 2011, a major earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan. Several factories of equipment suppliers and manufacturers of sub-components were struck, with more being affected by subsequent power outages. It was expected that this would impact shipments of digital printing equipment as many digital printing devices and parts used in these devices are manufactured in Japan.

Apart from anecdotal evidence getting hard facts on the impact is difficult. Due to the time it takes to ship the equipment overseas, no impact in Q1 was expected, but Q2 placements would have been affected by any supply chain interruptions. The InfoTrends quarterly tracking program looks at quarterly installations of digital production printing equipment, including A3-capable color MFPs. Placements fluctuate driven by overall demand, product launches, and tend to have some seasonality. Through our quarterly tracking program, we are able to draw historic comparison to gauge the seasonality factor.

Based on shipments in Q1 2011 we saw deviation from what would have been expected in the second quarter. In several color device segments installations were 15% to 20% below the expected level. Black & white installations in some product groups fell back as well, although to a lower extent. The few product groups that are dominated by vendors outside of Japan remained essentially within line of Q2 expectations or did even better than expected.

Is this a bullet-proof evidence that tsunami and earthquake did impact shipments by that amount? There is enough potential for fluctuation in times of an unstable economy, so we cannot be absolutely sure. However, the contrast to product groups mainly manufactured outside of Japan is remarkable. We will be closely watching Q3 results and see whether shipments recover or stay at a lower level.

InfoTrends published more details on the Q2 2011 results in a separate report:

Japan Earthquake Rocks the Digital Camera Market

Ed Lee
 Mar 15, 2011

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake of March 11, 2011 has wreaked havoc with all aspects of the Japanese economy, and the digital imaging industry will not be immune to the immediate and long lasting repercussions. Even though many digital imaging companies were not directly affected by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, they will certainly be affected by the disruptions to the Japanese power and transportation infrastructure and their supply chains.

One company directly affected is Nikon who has digital camera and lenses manufacturing sites in the Sendai area. Nikon produces its professional grade DSLR bodies, the D700, D3s, and D3x cameras, in its Sendai factory, just south of Sendai in Natori and about four miles from the coastline. The area was hard hit by the high walls of water but it is reported that the Nikon plant just suffered some building and equipment damage as well as injuries to some employees (satellite photos show that the water did not make it that far inland, though the water did reach up to six miles inland in other areas). With the destruction that the tsunami left in its wake, there will certainly be issues with personnel, power, water, components, and transportation that will directly impact this plant and others across Japan. Nikon is not able to say when the factory will reopen. Read more »

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