Car manufacturer Toyota has suspended production at 14 plants in Japan for at least a day in response to a “system failure” at components supplier Kojima Industries. Toyota added that it was continuing to work with its suppliers in strengthening the supply chain in order to deliver vehicles “as soon as possible”.
Car manufacturers such as Toyota have long practiced ‘just in time’ (JIT) inventory management, where components are delivered direct to production lines rather than stockpiled. In normal times this leads to massive cost savings – but it does leave the system reliant on every single supplier fulfilling orders on time.
Kojima Industries – which supplies plastic parts and electronic components to Toyota – has reportedly suffered a cyber-attack but this remains unconfirmed. Recent international events have led some to speculate that Russia has retaliated against Japan with a cyber-attack. There’s no evidence of this and the problem could just as easily be the result of a ransomware attack for profit-motivated cybercriminals or some other reason entirely.