Western Digital Plants Flooded: Expect “Significant Impact” to Christmas Quarter

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Western Digital just announced that flooding in Thailand has reached their manufacturing facilities. Both of the company’s major plants in Thailand, one at the Bang Pa-In Industrial Park, and one at the Navanakorn Industrial Park, were hit by the rising waters.

Western DigitalSometime over the weekend, floodwaters managed to enter the Bang Pa-In location; not only did the water “inundate” the manufacturing plant there, but some of Western Digital’s actual manufacturing equipment was submerged. At WD’s other plant at Navanakorn, water started to rise within the park itself early this morning after defensive measures failed. As of this writing, the water has yet to enter the second park’s manufacturing facilities, but it seems likely that the company will be unable to remain unscathed.

Whle the company took pains to point out that manufacturing facilities in Malaysia, Singapore and here in the United States were still churning out product, the situation in Thailand will still have an impact on their bottom line. Between the actual damage to the equipment and facilities responsible for producing WD’s products, and the fact that the supply chain within the company is also suffering damage and significant disruption, it seems unlikely that Western Digital will be able to entirely meet product demand for Q4 2011.

In the second quarter of this year, the company shipped roughly 32 million hard drives from its Thailand-based plants. The damage is potentially worse, however, because WD sources a number of the components for its Thai operations locally – and the extent to which those suppliers are affected is publically unknown.

Fortunately, none of the company’s some 37,000 employees within the country were injured in the floodings. The news comes right on the heels of WD’s launch of its latest HD media player, the WD TV Live.

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