Very interesting thoughts on what the true effects of isolationist policy are and if the intended impact of the policy is manifesting in reality. You do a really good job of outlining how isolationism may actually destroy more American jobs that it creates. For example, it is interesting to note that Asian manufacturers that would have just outsourced labor to the USA are now investing in technology so automation is doing the job of would-be factory workers. This kind of R&D research is most likely happening in GM as well. Large manufacturing companies like GM have been around so long because they are such adaptable organizations and hence isolationist government policy may not be the best way to influence their practices. Additionally, as U.S. policy causes costly import tariffs and affects GM’s multi-national strategy and global flow of goods, what will the response be from the countries that they are exiting. What is the conversation in the public sector about these isolationist policies and if other countries follow up with similar policies of their own? Is the private sector worried about retaliation as well? How will big companies like GM react?
It is interesting to read about an oil and gas company’s perspectives on climate change. On one hand, climate change is a fundamental threat to their business (ie rising water levels and decreasing water availability) but on the other hand, acknowledging that burning of fossil fuels is leading to climate change is also a fundamental threat to their business model. The very idea of investing in alternative energies like wind and solar will lead the world to be less dependance on oil and gas. Can Exxon-Mobil protect its assets along waterlines while at the same time acknowledge they the products they are producing from those assets are a part of the core problem? It will be interesting to see as government regulations get involved in the climate change debate if regulations will negatively affect Exxon-Mobil and other gas company’s business operations. Will they have something else to say about climate change if solar and wind became as ubiquitous as gas in the energy sector?
I think your main concern is valid in the fact that one company can only have a small impact on the overall impact of climate change, but I think Nike is taking the necessary first steps. Big industry has been looking only at the bottom line for too long and cost cutting measures and the lack of emphasis on pollution’s negative effects has led us to this climate change issue in the first place. As an influential brand in both the clothing and sports industries, I believe that Nike’s emphasis on sustainability has a much larger effect than just on their brand. They are also making sustainable practices “trendy” and by marketing themselves as an environmentally conscious company, they are encouraging other companies to do so as well.
Because the effects of climate change are now threatening some company’s very existence (ie the comment about no cotton will lead to no cotton garments), this issue is more urgent than ever. You may enjoy researching another major retailer, Patagonia, who is facing similar issues. While the extinction of cotton is arguable far off, Patagonia is seeing the effects of global warming on their sales of outerwear. In areas that have historically cold winters, Patagonia is selling less of their high tech down jackets. They, like Nike are seeing it as essential to their core business to care about climate change because in a world that doesn’t need jackets also doesn’t need Patagonia. The sooner that more companies realize that sustainable practices are not only good for the world at large but they are also good for the company, the more aggressively we can combat the negative effects of climate change.
Interesting article about how the digitization of the ice cream supply chain can lead to a more just-in-time inventory model and prevent stores from having to anticipate demand. My first thought reading this, however was similar to Andrea’s in the fact that in order to implement this model it is important to note who will pay for the smart shelves. The retailer would benefit because they would no longer have to order inventory as Nestle would automatically know based on inventory levels what to send the retailer. Nestle would also benefit because they would have much more predictability and the bullwhip effect would be much less profound (as we learned in the beer game exercise). The problem with this model, however would be when Nestle wants to introduce new ice cream flavors or new products. Who would determine when the new orders would be shipped and how? Would the retailer have any say if a new product would replace an old product or would Nestle make that determination? Would Nestle’s product innovation suffer if they were making all of their inventory decisions on historical buying behavior?
Very interesting research on how WalMart is going to compete with Amazon in the digital age. I agree that Amazon is a threat to WalMart’s fundamental business model and they will need to adapt and adopt some of Amazon’s practices in order to survive. I would challenge your recommendation, however, that the way to tackle the last mile would be to implement pick-up boxes in WalMart. I don’t know if a customer would log on to WalMart’s website and shop for items that they then have to pick-up in store. The items that WalMart is offering will most likely also be found on Amazon for similar prices so if the consumer can get a particle board coffee table on Amazon delivered to her door, why would she order and pay for it on WalMart’s website and then travel to the store to pick it up? Additionally, this model is most likely unfavorable to WalMart because they sell a great deal of merchandise on “impulse buys.” I would argue that WalMart would not want people that are willing to drive to the store to make their full orders online because the consumer will no longer walk around the store shopping for merchandise and make these impulse buys. I think you are correct in saying that WalMart must continue to compete with Amazon on price and should focus on acquiring start-ups in the delivery space. If WalMart can beat Amazon at the drone game, or have an internal delivery process that competes efficiently with UPS / FEDEX / USPS, they may be able to keep costs lower than Amazon and continue to reach a wide audience of price conscious consumers.