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On November 30, 2017, 201901730 commented on Ford: Fusion Across Borders :

Good read Alberto! You have real knowledge here I know. I do agree with Hchoi and Anonymous 8 though that no matter how unfortunately, it is best for Mexico to do all it can to reduce the risk of being a target of punitive legislation from the current administration.

Zack, I am curious why you think ultimately it will be much more costly to automate the factories for Ford. Initially, I agree that Ford will incur huge expense and switching cost establishing these factories and implementing these technologies, then perfecting them. But I found the cost of a robot per hour on the assembly line is roughly a quarter of the cost of human labor. I understand how this first effects the low-skilled workforce, and we are years away from the machine labor force realistically being cheap/reliable enough to fully displace humans. But ultimately would these cost savings hit the bottom line?

On November 30, 2017, 201901730 commented on Feeding the world one ugly potato at at time! :

Cool article! Great to look at minimizing food waste. Instead if purely redirecting “ugly” produce to different brands under the same conglomerate, one exciting initiative I recently learned about is a startup called “Imperfect Produce” that does just what it sounds like, delivers produce deemed too unseemly to sell to its customer base at discounts of 30-50% from grocery store markups.

Even though enterprising solutions like this are popping up in hopes of mitigating the waste at the *end* of the supply chain, I agree that another megatrend, technology, must be used *along* the chain in order to shorten the chain and reduce the time from soil to table, meaningfully reducing waste and spoilage.

On November 30, 2017, 201901730 commented on Nordstrom and Uber: A Match Made in Heaven? :

Great article! Following up on our class discussion on this:

A ride-hailing company’s biggest cost is labor – across the industry, roughly 60-80% of the fare charged to a rider goes to the driver. So it seems there’s a fast-approaching day where in order to outcompete in the same day, same city delivery industry (either as a third-party delivery service or one integrated into a chain, like Nordstrom’s here), one will need a fleet of self-driving cars.

I predict the war between ride-hailing apps and their delivery competitors will ultimately be won by whoever can most quickly and most meaningfully capitalize on the new technology available here, greatly minimizing costs and quickly scaling up supply at the same time. To Anusha’s point on another post regarding Shake Shack service, yes, one day not so far in the future, we will order a blouse from Nordstrom’s and a robot will deliver it to our apartment building within two hours. Yes, it is no surprise that the win will likely go to whoever has the deepest pockets in this space, likely to be a tech giant.

On November 30, 2017, 201901730 commented on RFID ENABLES INVENTORY ACCURACY AT MACY’S :

I agree with you that in actuality Amazon can’t really afford *not* not to make these changes. Interestingly, the Macy’s CEO has lately been just as wary of competition from discounters such as T.J. Maxx as well, not just the internet behemoths like Amazon. It seems the lighter and leaner a department store can become, the better.

On November 30, 2017, 201901730 commented on SHAKE SHACK: IS ‘ENLIGHTENED HOSPITALITY’ BECOMING DIGITALIZED? :

Great article, Anusha!

I am a bit wary of potential bottlenecks and rampant inefficiency at pickup caused by mobile order ahead bunching at periods of peak demand, after experiencing first hand the difficulty Starbucks has had implementing this (Justin, I am not sure I would call there implementation a rampant success – seems to me they have faced quite the difficult road with many would-be customers being turned off and exiting after seeing a crowd bunched up just inside the doors.)

It seems the kiosks could possibly solve these issues as they are dedicated areas for pick up of mobile orders, similar to curbside pickup at fast casual restaurants. Whether its kiosks or ArrowStream that allow Shake Shack to continue to outcompete in this exciting space, ii agree with you that whatever allows the company to compile and utilize the best data on diner preferences and patterns is what will make the difference in the end.

Great read, Jon, thank you!

I like that you focus on derisking the supply chain in an age of volatile climate change. As well as diversifying sources of raw materials and production facilities in order to protect against natural disasters.

However, I am wondering now about the broader implications of the ‘sprawl’ of industrial facilities. It would seem that true diversification in the supply chain would lead automatically to having many more factories located in disparate areas would lead to wider impact in terms of environmental pollution. Not sure how this element could be controlled, but would have to imagine that water, air, and soil pollution being negatively effected in perhaps three or four times as many regions would ultimately be akin to placing a very poor and temporary ‘band-aid’ on the situation, in fact contributing more and more to the problems that create such natural disasters.

Maud, great points! And Sara, interesting take as well! I am curious if you see any potential for a reduction in costs as well, Sara. This brings in to the question the effects of another megatrend: climate change. Perhaps counterintuitive, but my perception is that the UK has been kept in line and forced to comply with EU climate change policy, which seemed effective, yet costly. My hypothesis is that various industries will experience deregulation, certainly harmful for the environment and the communities long term, but reducing inefficiency that will allow companies like Airbus to hedge against some of the labor and duty costs Sara worried about above.