Really enjoyed reading your essay. It seems like the Body Shop has made environmentalist a core component of its strategy and supply chain which is commendable. I think your question around working with other companies to promote sustainability is an interesting question. It could potentially partner with other players on initiatives similar to Bio-Bridges to further increase the impact. It could also evaluate and choose its supply chain partners based on their environmental-friendliness. There is also a question about how far the company should go in its mission. I think efforts like reducing the amount of transport packaging, which can also improve profitability, should definitely be pursued but the economic costs and benefits of some of these initiatives must also be considered.
I think the promise of personalized medicine really puts pressure on the traditional healthcare supply chain. As you pointed out, the time-sensitive, personalized and critical nature of this product makes the problem very difficult to solve. It seems like Novartis has taken the approach of integrating and controlling more of its supply chain, which makes scaling hard – particularly as one things about internationalization. Novartis may also want to consider A/B testing a part of its supply chain where it does not adopt an end-to-end model but rather develops a playbook for delivering this treatment. There may be optimal ways to educate current members of the supply chain on the requirements of this new system, software that can make information sharing easier and best practices / policies to implement.
I had not considered isolationist policies in the context of data and cloud computing – I thought this essay was really interesting!
I completely agree that these policies are challenging for companies and can make it difficult to compete with local players. Furthermore, for a global Azure customer, keep track of these policies and different costs that may be passed through because of this complexity is an additional downside effect.
However, I do believe governments have rights to and should enact rules upon multinational corporations in the interest of their citizens. For example, the EU has often taken a strong stance against many tech companies. Many citizens were in support when it enacted the ‘right to be forgotten,’ allowing individuals to petition to take certain pieces of information off the internet. On the one hand, one could argue the need for these types of nationalist data policies in order to ensure adherence and control to legislative measures like these. On the other hand, as the previous commentator suggested, a better solution may require a fundamental shift in the way countries and organizations look at data and the data supply chain.
I agree that it is not viable to bring a great deal of labor-intensive manufacturing back to America. The cost seems too high for most companies and would ultimately be passed through to the consumer. I think a better approach is understanding the root causes that are driving companies to manufacture abroad (e.g., is it purely cost of labor or other factors). The New Yorker posted an interesting article about Trump’s manufacturing policies (see link below). I believe the labor content required for manufacturer is going to decrease while the need for skilled workers who can operate specialized manufacturing equipment will grow. Both the US government as well as US based companies like Apple should evaluate how they are positioning American workers to shift to the changing environment and help these employees receive the requisite training they need to handle the shift to the modern factory.
I thought this essay was fascinating. I had no idea Coca-Cola was pushing forward so much innovation and change with its vending machines. I think your warnings are wise given the growing prevalence of hacks and consumer data privacy leaks. However, in this particular case, I am particularly excited about the power of chat and facial identification. The ability for a vending machine to identify me and provide me a specific item I have ordered and/or the ability to obtain products better tailored to my preferences vastly increases my utility from the vending machine. I also think smarter vending machines have significant potential to improve the welfare of the American population. Japan, which has the highest ratio of vending machines to landmass, offers an interesting case study. Many individuals in the country will purchase a range products from these machines. Roughly ~14M Americans live in a food desert (USDA). While setting up new grocery stores is costly and time-consuming, using smart vending machines to serve these individuals could be an interesting option.