It seems that the biggest problem facing the IT industry at the moment is a plague of crocodiles.
While everyone suspected that the floods in Thailand would cause problems for the industry, it seems one of the major problems is not so much the water, but the crocodiles which have seen an opportunity to get some extra lunch without having to crawl around on dry land.
According to Reuters, workers are knee-deep in foul-smelling water, piling gear into fibre boats and shunting high tech gear to new sites or to higher floors.
This makes Thailand’s high tech plants a happy hunting ground for crocodiles and in one case a cobra. One outfit reported two crocodiles in the car park and they did not seem to be parking. One plant had to be fumigated because the local snake population thought it would be a good place to escape the flood waters.
While water is going down 20 cm a day it will still take a while to clear. However the extent of the damage is becoming clear.
Hana Microelectronics, Thailand’s biggest semiconductor packager, who makes gear for Texas Instruments managed to get its integrated circuits outside the flood zone a week before the water breached defensive dikes on October 13.
But dozens of machines weighing up to 5 tons each on the ground floor of the main building, were submerged.
It was lucky. Canon was devastated as were some other key electronics plants. More than half of global hard drives and houses top hard-drive makers Western Digital, Seagate Technology and Toshiba were damaged.
It is expected that a third of global HDD supply will be cut affecting core businesses of the likes of Samsung, Lenovo and HP.
It will not be until next year that the plants can restore production to full scale. By then uHDD inventories will be exhausted and depleted and drive manufacturers have yet to recover from the damage from the flood.
Meanwhile Gigabyte has told us that it does not manufacture motherboards in Thailand, so the floods won’t affect its manufacturing ability at all.
However, Deputy Director of Motherboard Marketing, Tim Handley tells us that it is concerned about the increased price and shortage of HDDs in the global market.
He said that this will have an effect on Gigabyte’s Q4 sales, but this will be a worldwide problem that affects every other PC hardware manufacturer in the same way.