Today, supply chain teams are constantly responding to disruptive events with significant consequences.  The latest disruption shines the spotlight on producers of disposable diapers and other woven plastic products.

Over the weekend, an explosion occurred at a chemical plant designated as one of the largest global producers of acrylic acid, reportedly providing 10 percent of the global supply.  The Nippon Shokubai Co. plant located in Himeji Japan suffered the explosion when a storage tank of chemicals accidentally exploded.  One firefighter perished and 30 people were injured.

Reports indicate that the company was the supplier of up to 20 percent of the global supply of SAP, the raw material compound utilized in the production of disposable diapers. Once more, initial reports are that it may be some time before the plant can resume production.

This incident comes after another reminder of the current fragile nature of industry supply chains.  In April, an explosion occurred at the Evonik Industries AG chemical plant in Marl Germany resulted in cascading impacts related to the overall global supply of nylon-12, a rare resin that is utilized in the manufacturing of fuel tanks, brake and fuel lines.

No doubt, some big-name supply chain and S&OP teams are scrambling to assess this situation and its impact on near and longer-term customer fulfillment needs. Diaper consumers will have to wait and see if any real disruptions ultimately occur as certain supply chain teams marshal plans to overcome this potential supply disruption.

As with other incidents of this nature, Supply Chain Matters will continue to follow this situation.

Stay tuned.

Bob Ferrari