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On November 24, 2017, B_SDLR commented on Adidas is clicking “print” on your next pair of shoes :

Thank for this post, Adidas always finds ways to excite me. This production strategy seems to align with its long-term strategy for market share by the way of fashion-forward collaborations and product design. Focusing on streetwear vs. performance products, which has typically been the mainstay of competitor, Nike, this rapid production will allow Adidas to replicate the quick to market supply chains of fashion forward companies such as Zara and H&M. While the initial roll-out may be perceived as visionary and technologically advanced, I wonder how this production style may undercut the premium pricing that Adidas seeks in some of its product lines? The conclusion of this essay is also thought-provoking around how 3-D printers may forever change our relationship with certain products. With brandless shoe companies such as AllBirds and the rise of minimalist designs by Stan Smith (Adidas) and Common Projects, its not hard to imagine a world where one simply prints a no-frills sneaker for everyday use!

On November 24, 2017, B_SDLR commented on Coca-Cola’s Vending Machines Get Smart :

Very interesting post, particularly because vending machines have the ability to provide very targeted information on micro-neighborhoods around the world. Relative to the broader supply chain where Coca Cola distributes to wholesalers, it would be interesting to see how information gains achieved through B2C vending machines can impact the B2B supply chains. Alternatively, does this facial recognition and other technological advances set the stage for direct-to-consumer Coca-Cola where patters around consumption can be timed to certain home-delivery products in the future?

On November 24, 2017, B_SDLR commented on Hawaiian Electric’s Supply-Chain Transition to 100% Renewables :

In the aftermath of hurricane Irma and its effects on energy systems in the Caribbean, HEI may prove to be a useful case study for sun-blessed island nations around the world. This essay, however, touches upon a critical issue for a transition to renewables in any geography: production is just as important as distribution and diffusion of renewable technology. One question raised here is how does a company such as HEI insource clean energy production? What barriers exist either from a regulatory, capital, or technological standpoint to support this production? In many locations, it has been the utilities themselves to stifle the steady march forward of renewables (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/08/climate/rooftop-solar-panels-tax-credits-utility-companies-lobbying.html). How can HEI and the public align incentives to accelerate the implementation of clean energy production?

The potential end of NAFTA would certainly be of impact to NEMAK and a key obstacle for the company’s prospects, but this essay also touches upon the opportunities that such an event could have in terms of sparking consolidation in the industry with smaller players who would not be able to survive without the access to North American markets via NAFTA. Could this consolidation lead to a more integrated and cost-efficient Mexican OEM player? This essay is also thought-provoking when it comes to the stickiness of the auto-supply chain. Would NAFTA cause producers to immediately disrupt the supply chain or would the preference be to pass along the additional costs to end consumers? If so, how long would that cost be sustained before a more integrated (foreign) player enters the market similar to Toyota in the 20th century?

On November 24, 2017, B_SDLR commented on The impact of Brexit on Kerry Group :

The essay concludes on a very interesting point around how the Kerry Group should think about passing incremental costs on to customers as a result of the added complexity of rigid borders between Ireland and the UK. A more fundamental question that I am sure many participants along the supply chain are considering is how much will it cost to establish new shipping and air links directly to Europe and the rest of the world? When these new routes are factored in, do the products then suffer because of a lack of competitive advantage among substitutes? This competitive advantage links to the very good second question of the conclusion around ex-Ireland manufacturing. Does this create brand dissonance to be an Irish foods company producing in Wales, for example? The UK currently imports 50% of food and feed from abroad, and with little ability to substitute imports in the near and mid-term, security of the food supply chain may prove to be one of the first areas of cooperation in the exit talks, which may mitigate the need for ex-Ireland production in the Kerry Group.

This essay raises an interesting point around the “unbundling” of banking products and processes. Typically, products are bundled to maximize a company’s ROE on the client and allow less profitable products to be offered to clients that are subsidized by others. How will these tech-enabled entrants affect profitability at more established institutions and what are the potential responses to this competitive threat? For a company like Axis, how does it build up trust in its customer base in a digital world? The model seems to contrasts with what we observed in the Handelsbanken FRC case of a high-touch and personalized relationship. Can a banking model survive in the long-term in a fully digital way? This is a tension that seems to be at the fore of the expansion model as described above (e.g. growing its total branch footprint by 400 per year). It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds and the operating environment has dynamics that will be lessons for other banking groups in developing countries.