Caterpillar voices concerns over Japanese supply chain

By Chris Sleight23 March 2011

Caterpillar chairman & CEO Doug Oberhelman

Caterpillar chairman & CEO Doug Oberhelman

Caterpillar has sounded a warning that the 11 March earthquake and tsunami in Japan may lead to disruptions in the supply of components to construction equipment industry. None of Caterpillar's three facilities in Japan were directly affected by the disaster.

Caterpillar chairman & CEO Doug Oberhelman said the company had set up a team in Japan to study supply chain issues. Production of hydraulic pumps and engines are among the components that may be affected by the quake, which damaged property and has led to power shortages in the affected area.

"It is too early to say what the impact is on our supply chain," he said, before continuing, "I don't think there is any question that there will be an impact on the world economy. That part of the world is critical to the auto industry and parts of the construction equipment industry, although not our plants. But I think that the impact will be short-lived and fairly minor on the global scale."

Mr Oberhelman confirmed that none of the company's 5000 Japanese employees had been killed or injured in the quake, and also added that the company was donating equipment to the relief effort

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