Thank you, Amanda! There are not many essays from our section talking about the isolationism, but your essay is definitely an interesting read, especially given your input from an ex-Ford employee’s perspective! There are some data points in your article I found quite interesting, for instance, the canceling of $1.6Bn investment in Mexico and bringing back the Focus factory to the U.S. only created “700” jobs; also another $1.2Bn investment would create “130” jobs. This means roughly every new job created by Ford in the auto industry int he U.S. will roughly require $3.4 million investment? This seems not a very effective way of creating more jobs. That being said, the future GDP and local tax generated by the new factories of Ford could potentially benefit the local economy in the long term. In addition, is there any difference between the tariff of auto parts and finished vehicles, i.e. if it makes more sense to just have the assembly lines in the U.S. or manufacture everything in the U.S.?
Thank you, Caue! This is a super interesting topic, and I love the title of your essay (and the featured picture)! I’m wondering which parts can GE manufacture by 3D-printing and which not? For instance, if 3D-printing can be used in most parts of a high-value machine/vehicle, the decentralized network and manufacturing sites will make a lot of sense! In addition, is materials, e.g. resins, the bottleneck of GE’s 3D-printing lines? Is there any report or data showing the improvement on the 3D-printing material side, which may potentially replace steel or alloy in complex parts in the aerospace manufacturing industry? To your concerns about the potential loss of local jobs, I guess raw materials development and production may help create more jobs vis-a-vis the loss of jobs in traditional parts manufacturing sites.
Thank you, Nate! I found this essay really interesting, and it feels like the flip side of my essay, which is about the further digitalization of a major e-commerce player in China. With the further penetration of online shopping, especially mobile shopping, both traditional players, such as HBC, and e-commerce players, like Alibaba and Amazon, are investing heavily in digitalization. What is your view on the future competitive landscape, if traditional retailers have a shot? Some reports argue that e-commerce players have digitalization in their DNA and traditional retailers are often slower in adopting new technologies, if not just “copy” what e-commerce players have done already. Specifically, will acquisition help traditional retailers ease the pressure of going online? For example, HBC’s acquisition of Gilt has not been very successful. In addition, I found your second question “How should HBC manage any potential negative publicity as the company shifts from manual to automated processes?” very interesting, and this is the same issue Amazon and Alibaba are facing when they are trying to roll out the cahier-less retail stores.
Thank you, Juan! I found your essay very interesting, and it reminded me our IKEA case regarding the balance between growth and sustainability. It seems that BMW, being a leader in the auto industry, has a much stronger “pull” to ensure all the tier-1 and tier-2 suppliers to follow its lead in reducing CO2 emission. I’m wondering, as you mentioned in this essay, if the electric vehicle is ultimately the best solution to reduce CO2 emission as much as possible? In addition, what is the sales/growth target of BMW while it’s targeting to reduce at least 50% of its CO2 emission by 2020? Similar to our discussions in the IKEA case, how will BMW achieve both its growth target and CO2 emission reduction target, especially given the more and more fierce competition in the automotive industry?
Thank you, Sushant! I found this essay very interesting, especially with your insight as an ex-Philips employee. Digitalization is a super trending topic in medical device industry currently, and as you pointed out, the focus of such digitalization is really the shift from “diagnostics-as-a-product” to “diagnostics-as-a-service”. I personally think what Philips has done so far in terms of remote upgrade and predictive maintenance makes a lot of sense from the cost and efficiency perspective, however, do you have any report or data showing the acceptance of physicians and patients? For instance, will patients push back because they don’t feel 100% safe to take a CT scan right after the system upgrade? In addition, the ownership and use of patients data is probably a more controversial topic. Will hospitals and patients be willing to share their data with the medical device providers, or the data should be provided on an as-needed basis?
Thank you, Aileen! This is a really interesting topic, and it’s shocking to me when I saw that Ethiopia is expected to lose up to 60% of its coffee-growing land by the end of the century. Starbucks seems to be the trailblazer in the private sector, and I’m curious about the efficacy of their “US Corporate Sustainability Bond”, which can potentially strike a good balance between commercial interest and social responsibilities. In addition, given the rigorous requirement for coffee plantation, have you seen any data showing a potential shift of the coffee farms from existing countries/areas to others? Will such shift, if any, cause additional geopolitical disputes and troubles? What could Starbucks do, again as a private company, to preempt the new production sites and at the same time optimize the global supply chain in a more sustainable way?