When Takata Corp.'s airbag plant in Mexico blew up in late March, it set off a supply-chain reaction that illustrates the sophisticated problem-solving capability of the auto industry.
It seems remarkable that such an event didn't disrupt production for any of Takata's customers.
The company supplies Honda Motor Co., General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and DaimlerChrysler.
Storms, accidents, financial crises, political unrest and labor problems can all lead to parts disruptions. But, in reality, such shutdowns are rare even in this age of just-in-time parts delivery.
The industry -- the manufacturers' purchasing departments and their supplier networks -- has become adept at solving problems. But it must become even more adept at crisis management as the size and scope of the problems change in the years ahead.
The use of business-continuity plans is industrywide, and it's evolving.