Ailin Castro

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On November 26, 2017, Ailin Castro commented on Diamonds Are Forever…But Their Supply Chains Are Not :

The blockchain platform will allow efficiencies at every step of the process and it could show the largest impact/savings if managing at an industry level.

However, this could pose some challenges:
Decreased threat of new entrants: risk of monopolization (regulated environment)
Decreased consumer bargaining power: differentiation between brands (price and quality will be assured). If the extraction/producer cost is fixed and there is a competitive % margin at the retailer level, customer service and personnel at the retailer could do the difference. However, considering that e-commerce will increase in the following years, this differentiation point could be eroded too.

The advantages are undeniable (lower price/assured quality) but the companies will have to pay attention to the investment in blockchain and the challenges that rise when there are only a bunch of players that can work with this technology and how they are going to attract customers.

On November 26, 2017, Ailin Castro commented on GE: Adapting to Isolationist America and its Workforce :

The essay is very interesting as it shows clearly the disadvantages of many countries in the competition for having low costs and skilled workers. Argentina faced a similar situation in the last decade as the government pushed nationalism and many local factories had to close as they couldn’t compete with larger foreign corporations that were manufacturing in China or India. Besides, large corporation, which must deliver results to their stakeholders, decided to move their operations to more competitive places.

When taking protectionist measures, it is important to keep investing in which could give the country a competitive advantage. If USA applied protectionism but doesn’t invest in education, the gap with China and India will never be closed and all the efforts will not give any outcome. In the meanwhile, skilled workers from abroad should be considered for an H1B visa and companies will play a huge role in the negotiation of terms and conditions to accept these foreigners.

I think these large corporations are in a great position to work with the government to set rules/standards that allowed them to compete fairly in a global scenario and allowed the government to keep working on a sustainable future for the country.

In my opinion, isolationism is a transient trend that we don’t know until when it’s going to stay. The efficiency that globalization brings will be crucial for future markets, consumption and global warming countermeasures. However, the companies need to adapt to the current situation. My concern, as the author mentioned too, is the impact on costs and growth rate as companies will need to change their structure, strategy and processes every time the world trend changes. These modifications will carry large investments and a steep learning curve.

Considering the nationalism trend, I will suggest UPS to analyze the option of using cheaper ways of transportation to keep cost below the competitors. I think that B2B business, even in a isolationism, will be prosperous as everyone will look for cheaper options to transport goods. Ex: Trains – entering the medium size/weight cargo business. Customers need speed service but if the cost is lower and they can wait a week, the option can be taken into consideration. Another point, as the author said, is the investment to be competitive at a country level which is considerable, so the company needs to establish priorities and country targets as it will be too hard to have a worldwide coverage (reducing scope).

On November 26, 2017, Ailin Castro commented on H&M Aims to be Climate Positive by 2040 :

I didn’t know that H&M was so committed to sustainable practices.

In the search of more environmental friendly practices, H&M can consider a vertical integration of its supply chain. Owning the land and leading the production of raw materials can give the company an economic advantage vs Zara or other retailers. Another initiative that could help the company to reduce its footprint is the recycling of clothes. Two different ways to do this could be by: 1) let customers bring their own H&M pieces of cloth and give them a x% discount 2) let customers bring their own H&M pieces of cloth and we will donate it to an NGO

I think H&M can have a huge impact in the industry if it helps educate the customers and makes them buy sustainable clothes which will make other retailers to imitate H&M to catch up with sales.

On November 26, 2017, Ailin Castro commented on Is insurance against natural catastrophes sustainable? :

I didn’t know about the role of the re-insurer and I must confess that I never thought about the changes in the insurance world due to climate change. However, it seems to be crucial for the future.

Having a data center with which the company can better predict the patterns of climate change seems to be a way to control risk, costs and “protection gap”. However, my first question is why these companies don’t rely on the info of other institutes/organizations more specialized in the topic. Besides, the money invested in the center could be used to support organizations that are more academic and are developing ways to reduce the pace of climate change. A partnership will be a better way to allocate resources.

I think that the insurance companies have enough leverage to work with governments to set work standards. For a country or a city, the fact that they will be not covered in the case of a climate disaster could foster the collaboration between countries/industries to arrive to a final solution and generate the commitment to reduce the impact on the planet.

On November 26, 2017, Ailin Castro commented on A New Approach to Infrastructure Construction :

It’s interesting that companies are adding resource allocation and communication platform to the regular schedule planner (software). One could think that it was the obvious thing to do in the way to optimization and It was already implemented.

Even though the idea sounds great, I envisioned questions over the % of savings that the software brings and how to back up the figures to call large corporation’s attention.

Additionally, as the author commented in the article the success of the software lies on the adoption of all the members of the supply chain, small/medium or large players.One idea that Autodesk can develop to maximize the utilization is dividing the software into modules (logistics/planning/budget/raw materials) that can be purchased alone so the small vendors which want to participate in large constructions projects can only acquire this cheaper version. The large corporations can have the complete version of the software being able to take fully advantage of the benefits of labor and material control/planning.