Henderson predicts business impact locally

Published 12:02 am Saturday, March 19, 2011

It takes 7,000 miles to get sewing machine parts from Tokyo, Japan, to Andalusia.

Following last week’s devastating tsunami, not many of those miles are being traveled by exports of any kind.

Now, Henderson Sewing Machine Co. President Frank Henderson, like the world, is waiting and watching to see how business will be affected.

“Japan produces more products for us than any other single country in the world, as it does for the majority of the major vendors,” Henderson said. “Taiwan, China and Korea are the manufacturing hubs for the majority of sewing machine construction equipment.

“So, we know there are going to be some delays in getting products out,” he said. “What we don’t know is how much of a delay.”

The company is a global supplier of machines, parts and supplies for the sewn products industry.

“We’ve been told by our vendors that their staff is safe,” he said. “But within the country, there is huge global problem that affects nearly all products manufactured all over the world. Take for instance the auto industry, the aerospace industry and even our own industry.

“The total country lost a huge power source,” he said. “Companies don’t have enough power to operate on a full schedule.”

Henderson said transportation and logistics are also is effected.

“In Japan, which is an island, 80 percent of its population live on 20 percent of the country’s land area,” he said. “The rest of the country is mountainous, which means there aren’t as many transportation modes in and out of the northern part of Japan.”

Henderson said when a natural disaster hits, no matter its location, the effects are felt worldwide.

“In Japan’s case, it’s my opinion that it’s a situation that’s going to impact everyone for a significant period of time,” he said. “We’re going to have to wait and see.”

For now, it’s business as usual, he said as he plans to leave next week for China.

“I’ll be going through Japan on my way there,” he said. “I don’t know what I’ll see.”