I believe you are correct to be worried about the impact of isolationism on Foxconn’s supply chain strategy. Since they capitalize on their economies of scale by producing specific parts in different countries, it would be a large shift in production strategy and require large capital investment to produce all products for customers at domestic factories. This also begs the question of whether automated machinery can be easily programmed to produce a wide range of electronic components? If not and specialization is inherent in the machinery, then Foxconn’s supply chain strategy is further threatened and even more capital investment would be required.
Additionally, access to affordable raw materials varies between countries. Isolationism will drive up the cost of acquiring these raw materials which will further diminish margins for Foxconn. For multinational companies, isolationism certainly drives up costs.
The GE Digital Ghost is fascinating technology! I believe GE should focus on applications in additional industries, namely because of the self-correcting feature. Given the appropriate contract terms, I would expect companies to share data for installation of this technology to ensure the safe operation of equipment. In my experience with the oil and gas industry, control devices are restricted to hardwired connectivity due to the susceptibility of wireless technologies to digital intrusion. If this technology could be proven to work effectively and reliably, with minimal maintenance required by GE, I believe the oil and gas industry would adopt it to capture additional technological efficiencies. I am most concerned with how GE will demonstrate the Digital Ghost effectiveness to capture the early adopters in other industries. Industries, especially in the industrial sector, are skeptical of new technology and slow to adoption due to the high consequences if something should go wrong.
Very informative article Stefan! The second question you raised is a very interesting problem that all large companies face. I believe that Rolls-Royce will have to standardize how it inputs information from its various players, only storing the key information. Identifying the correct standard will require a large amount of research and likely the employment of a consulting firm. The risk of not standardizing is losing key information in transition from one party to the next.
Another concern for Rolls-Royce is cybersecurity with ever increasing digitalization. As one of its medium-term goals, moving all data to the cloud comes at a large risk. This data gives insight into the company’s competitive advantage. Additionally, the digitalization of the EHM is a key operational efficiency, but can present safety risks if hacked. Is the cybersecurity protection utilized by Rolls-Royce today adequate to protect the company’s digital platform as it grows?
Extremely well written and engaging! I agree that KCS should focus on domestic operations for both Mexico and the US. Although, I am skeptical that Mexico is interested in an only domestic business. As you mentioned, the Mexican government is interested in cross-border logistics because they are helping the economy grow. I believe focusing on lobbying efforts within the US government is the best use of time and money to keep the NAFTA agreement in effect while also investing more heavily in the US domestic market. Building more relationships and contracts within the US will provide stability if the NAFTA agreement is taken off the table.
Another comment mentioned the installation of ports or other infrastructure in Mexico to trade with other countries aside from the US as an alternative. I believe this is too large of a risk to undertake due increasing trend of isolationist policies globally.
Very interesting read! LATAM appears to be thinking creatively about potential solutions to reduce emissions of which other airlines should take advantage. One potential advancement you mentioned was the installation of lighter instruments in the plane. I am curious whether LATAM would be willing to take on the expenses associated with implementing those changes on existing planes or demand the improvement on its next fleet of newly purchased planes. My expectation is the latter, as many of their improvements to date do not include significant capital investment.
I also agree that the investment in alternative fuel technologies is essential due to the majority of emissions resulting from fuel consumption. One alternative that is in nascent development, is a battery powered plane. Providing financial support to research the development of these large batteries could accelerate development and have the most drastic reduction in emissions. Given that this technology will likely take many more years to develop and will require new planes for its application, I think diversifying investments to include other alternative fuels is essential as well.
It is encouraging to read about Statoil’s response to global climate change and its investment in cleaner technology to cut emissions. However, I fear that many corporations will not follow suit unless incentivized by their respective governments or by more cost competitive prices in clean technology. As mentioned in a previous comment, government regulations typically result in expensive solutions for corporations. Specifically in the US, the collaboration between industry and government in the drafting of regulations is limited, which results in higher costs for corporations than projected by the regulators. The solutions can also result in unintended environmental consequences that don’t get communicated until the regulation is finalized, combined with a lengthy process to acquire an approved deviation. My recommendation to minimize the financial impact of regulations is increased communication between parties during regulation drafting. This early communication would allow for the regulation to achieve its intended results of reduced emissions at the most efficient costs to the corporations. This could result in oil and gas corporations being more receptive to regulation, since many have mission statements to be environmentally responsible.
Additionally, I found it interesting that Statoil is starting to use hybrid batteries for many of their applications. Given the focus on energy storage technology in the renewable energy sector, it is likely that these batteries will decrease in cost in the near future. Affordability will drive adoption by other corporations with Statoil providing examples of its applicability.