On early Sunday morning an earthquake struck Northern Italy. The initial 6.0 magnitude tremor struck 36 kilometers (21 miles) north of the city of Bologna invoking wide scale damage. The quake occurred at shallow depth, estimated to be 5 kilometers, which adds to the magnitude of the destruction.  The quake was felt throughout Northern Italy. The region has suffered various damaging aftershocks including two on Sunday and another this morning. The area itself has had rare occurrences of major seismic activities, the last earthquake of similar magnitude being recorded in the 14th century.

Thus far, five persons have been reported killed with thousands displaced.  Our hearts and prayers extend to all of the victims of this tragedy.

The impacted Finale Emilia region is an area known as an industrial heartland as well as the production of Parmesan and Grana Padano aged cheese. There is already one report indicating over $320 million in cheese inventory destroyed by the quake. Reports also indicate damaged factories and warehouses including the death of two workers at a ceramics factory.  A statement from Titan Europe indicates that work at its agricultural wheel factory located in Sermide and Finale Emilia has been suspended pending assessment of damage, but the plant appears repairable. According to the Titan web site, the company claims to be the leading manufacturer of high speed wheels for agricultural tractors. Production is in the process of being shifted to other facilities in France and Turkey.

Supply chains teams with value-chains extending to Northern Italy should already be assessing potential impacts to supply and supplier facilities. Insure that your suppliers are doing the same, since it many of the 2011 incidents of disaster, smaller suppliers took additional time to sense the magnitude of supply disruption. Industries impacted could range from food, industrial, aerospace, as well as retail businesses.

Supply Chain Matters will continue to monitor and feature additional commentary when other assessment information becomes available.

Bob Ferrari