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    By: Chuck Munson

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    This case study shows how automobile manufacturers are reconsidering some "lean" approaches in the wake of events that have stretched supply chains beyond their limits. It focuses on two disasters: the devastating earthquake and tsunami that took place in Japan in March 2011 and an explosion in early 2012 at a key German chemical plant that produced a special type of resin used in fuel lines. Because many automotive companies had studiously eliminated redundant suppliers to reduce complexity and costs, suddenly there was no backup plan--risking potential model shortages and idle assembly lines. Focusing on realistic issues, this case study offers exceptional value to both students and practitioners. Authors: Erika Marsillac, Old Dominion University; Tom McNamara, ESC-Rennes.

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