The Reading Room – What’s The SCOOP?


By Philip Spagnoli Stoten, Forbes writer and Founder of SCOOP

In a regular Friday spot, this is the Reading Room, a weekly roundup of what we’ve been reading, watching and listening to. You can see these updates even more regularly if you follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

After a week off for APEX 2020, The Reading Room returns dominated by some of the same topics that occupied the chatter at that very trade show. So, let’s start with the elephant in the room, the coronavirus. Wednesday saw a massive rise in confirmed cases in China, with nearly 15,000 cases being confirmed and over 240 deaths in Hubei. The WHO (World health Organization) suggest some of that is due to a broader definition being used to diagnose, but either way it is a horrific tragedy affecting huge numbers of people in China. Outside China numbers remain relatively low with two deaths and less than 500 confirmed cases, many of which are on board the cruise ship, Diamond Princess, with 3,700 people on board, which is in quarantine in Yokohama.

The impact on manufacturing and supply chains is substantial and I spoke to several supply chain specialists and executives, including IPC’s Chris Mitchell, on the topic at APEX. You can see some of the interviews and panels discussions on SCOOP’s APEX 2020 playlist on YouTube. This, like previous disruptions, is underlining the frailty of certain supply chains and inadequacies of using spreadsheets to manage ever more complex supply chains. Here’s what some of the media is saying on the topic:

  • According to CNBC, we’re in “‘Crisis mode’: as Coronavirus disrupts the heart of electronics manufacturing in China”. Adding, quarantines and other measures put in place to stop the spread of the disease in China could continue to disrupt electronics manufacturing well into the 2020 holiday season, even if factories quickly return to full production, manufacturing experts said.
  • Also in CNBC, “Tesla acknowledges ‘health epidemics’ as new risk in financial filing amid coronavirus outbreak”. Tesla recently estimated that a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China would only cause their business a week-and-a-half production delay. On Thursday, Tesla changed its tone, and said that the COVID-19, or coronavirus outbreak, may have a material adverse impact on their business in an annual financial filing.
  • EPSNews tells us, “Supply Chain Braces for Coronavirus Fallout”, suggesting that crucial to the electronics industry in this crisis is the trifecta of a US/China trade war, Brexit in Europe and supply-chain uncertainties triggered by the coronavirus. The electronics industry is poised for a cascading disruption that could change industry growth forecasts for the year.
  • Barbara Jorgensen writes in EE Times, on how “Coronavirus Tests Tech’s Supply Chain Resilience”, adding that standing still is not an option for an industry renowned  for innovation. Companies can still take steps to mitigate the impact of the outbreak.
  • The Economist states, “The new coronavirus could have a lasting impact on global supply chains”, adding, Multinationals have failed to take seriously the risk of disruption.
  • In Forbes, Steve Banker writes, “Global High-tech Supply Chains Disrupted By The Coronavirus”. The high-tech industry is the industry getting the most attention, but the pharmaceutical and automotive industries are also facing significant impacts.
  • Also in Forbes, John Cumbers tells us about “The Synthetic Biology Companies Racing To Fight Coronavirus”. Collaborating with the World Health Organization and the U.S. military, researchers at Distributed Bio are developing Centivax, a new kind of universal vaccine. Their computational approach finds the unique molecular features on the surface of a range of different pathogens, then uses antibody the immune response against the parts of those pathogens that do not mutate over time.
  • IndustryWeek has an unrelated story to provide some relief from the doom a gloom entitled “2070: A Manufacturing Odyssey”, suggesting that the past 50 years in manufacturing have been a wild ride. Thinkers and doers predict what’s ahead for the next half century.

Video of the week: It was a pleasure to be at APEX and talk to so many industry executives and luminaries about the opportunities and challenges facing the industry, check out the videos on the SCOOP APEX 2020 YouTube channel, and if you haven’t watched it yet take a look at The (EMS) Eric Miscoll Show – Mexico Special.

That’s it until next week! For more regular musing connect or follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Read more, watch more, hear more, know more – that’s the SCOOP!