HDD makers plug Thai flood supply gap – a bit

Hard drive giants Seagate and Western Digital are doing their best to see off the supply shortage following the floods in Thailand, but shipments still won’t meet demand in Q1 2012.

Although volumes should reach 140 million units the global demand for each quarter sits at roughly 170 million. It’s better than Q4 this year, where the supply gap sat as high as 35 percent.

The extra shipments should narrow the gap to 18 percent but companies will still have to prioritise where their HDDs go.

Digitimes says Seagate is penned in for 43 million units in Q4 while Western Digital thinks it will ship 26 million units for the quarter. Both have raised forecasts but they’re not out of the woods yet.

Hard drive makers have been fighting tooth and nail to match demand. Factories have sunk underwater and manufacturers have had to fight off the occasional crocodile or two.  

WD put its revenue forecast up to $1.8 billion in December – compared to $1.05 billion in October. Seagate also said recovery was well ahead of schedule.

Despite the manufacturers’ frenzied clean-up operations, the disaster has had a longer lasting effect on the industry as a whole. Seagate said, though its factories are up and running quicker than it expected, there could be a hard drive famine for up to 12 months