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Shimano forced to shut Malaysia component factory in latest blow to the supply chain

Published June 10, 2021
Kent Bicycle's factory in Malaysia is also closed.

OSAKA, Japan (BRAIN) — Shimano's factory in Malaysia will be completely closed until at least June 14 due to an official COVID-19 mandate. Since June 1, the factory had been allowed to operate at 60% capacity.

Shimano informed its customers of the change on Thursday, saying it was uncertain whether it would be able to resume production in any capacity after June 15.

"So far, the Malaysian government has not informed the decisions to be taken after June 15," read a company update that Shimano's Yutaka Taniyama shared with customers. Taniyam is the company's vice president of sales in its bicycle division.

"Our customer understanding is of utmost importance to us and we hope this better informs you our measurements to the situation, always considering the safety of customers and employees in mind," the update continued.

Shimano has in the past manufactured its lower-priced hubs, derailleurs, wheels, pedals, freewheels and brakes at its Malaysia facilities, which it first established in 1990.

Kent International CEO Arnold Kamler confirmed to BRAIN that Kent's factory in Malaysia is also closed until at least the 14th. 

On May 29, Malaysia's prime minister announced that the company would be on a lockdown from June 1-14, with many businesses allowed to continue operating at 60% capacity.

Prior to the lockdown, the country was seeing more than 8,000 COVID-19 cases per day. The goal was to bring the number of daily below 4,000, but this week the average daily rate was still above 5,000, prompting the decision to extend the shutdown indefinitely.

The country has had 3,611 deaths due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and 633,000 confirmed cases. Less than 4% of its population is fully vaccinated.

Related: BRAIN 2007 article, "Inside Shimano's Malaysian Wheel Factory." 

2007 BRAIN photo by Matt Wiebe.
Topics associated with this article: Supply chain, Broken Chain, Coronavirus

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