The fragility of global supply chains has been shown up once more by news that Honda’s production at its Swindon, UK plan has been suspended by a disruption to the supply of parts.

According to the manufacturer, the components are still on a container vessel destined for the Port of Southampton. Its journey has reportedly been delayed by bad weather.

One particularly interesting facet of this incident is that Honda is assuring its customers that they won’t be affected by the disruption. This is because an agreement with its labour force means that time can be recovered in the coming few weeks. In this respect flexibility in working practices is making up for the shortcomings of its logistics.

This is not to say that its overall strategy is necessarily flawed. Although it would seem to be poor planning that production is dependent on weather patterns affecting seaborne goods, perhaps management believe in terms of minimising inventory costs this is a price worth paying. Only they will know the answer. To the outsider though, this does seem to demonstrate once again that many supply chains are just too lean for their own good.