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Elli, great article. It is interesting to see how the effects of isolationism here are somewhat different than for automakers in the US, which is a much larger market in its own right. Since JLR is exposed to such a high portion of international sales relative to its sales in the UK, I believe it is actually more likely that in the long run production shifts away from the UK. This shift would likely follow the model the company has established in China, whereby it might produce in conjunction with a Tier 1 supplier. Then the core competency of its business slowly becomes the design, aesthetics, and marketing of the luxury vehicles, rather than the production of them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a large amount of production shift to China to capture not only the sales of the Chinese market, but on the production side to capture the benefits of labor arbitrage. That in conjunction with increased levels of automation could be a very powerful combination. On balance I would say that, given the Brexit environment, JLR stands to gain more by leaving the UK rather than doubling down on it.

On December 1, 2017, Chris commented on H-E-B vs. Hurricane Harvey: A Case Study in Crisis Response :

Graham, nice article! It is really interesting to get such an in-depth look at detailed operational changes that H-E-B made before, during, and after Harvey hit. Your second question about whether this is motivated by morals or by profit is one that I found myself reflecting on quite a bit while I was reading. I do believe that their efforts had to have been at least in part motivated by the company’s own morals. Many of the logistical challenges you mentioned required significant organization and effort, which would ostensibly require employees to go above and beyond their normal responsibilities to deliver. Furthermore there is no evidence here of price gouging or other opportunistic practices. Although the longer-term brand image and customer loyalty benefits could have been the main motivator here, it still seems to me that the balance of evidence supports a more genuine approach to the fallout from Harvey.

On December 1, 2017, Chris commented on Building a Digital Supply Chain in the Building Industry :

This was a very interesting and well…constructed…article! The construction industry, as indicated in the article, seems to be one that might stand to gain tremendously from digitization. To Sara’s point above, I do wonder how local governments might begin to play a role in the design, permitting, and inspection processes for new construction. New and innovative construction techniques may take a while to gain acceptance at the regulatory/policy level, a trend that seems likely to be exacerbated at the local level. For me, this issue brings up questions surrounding how a company like Katerra might have to bring the industry and, more specifically, their collaborators along in understanding how technology can help the business and how quality and construction standards can be maintained.

Very interesting read. ¡Salud! The approaches to mitigate the effects of climate change you laid out seem quite reasonable and appropriate. In addition to those I might suggest that further attention be paid by Gallo to emerging technological trends in agriculture such as those being developed by Indigo Agriculture. Perhaps grape vines could be treated with a chemical that allowed them to exist in climates not as optimal for growing. Of course this may have a substantial impact on the flavors in the wine, and therefore pose a risk to the product itself, but it is perhaps also plausible that a new varietal or new blend of grapes could be established creating a new category of wine.

Katie, this is a very interesting topic. Thank you for bringing it to our attention!

It really does seem that DHL could leverage its expertise in logistic operations requiring some specialization, such as the cold chain. I would think that since innovation in this space has been stagnant for so long, that there is ample opportunity for DHL to improve and further build a competitive advantage through the use of technology. In addition to the efforts the company is already making, I wonder if it would be possible to leverage it’s large customer and supplier network in a similar fashion as UBer and Lyft to meet delivery demand in a more cost effective and efficient way. Overall, I believe that DHL could build out many other specialized segments of its business with similar types of technology in mind.

On December 1, 2017, Chris commented on Kansas City Southern Railroad Blues :

Kyle, well done. A masterpiece as always! I think your suggestion to increase the company’s focus on domestic operations would certainly be an appropriate step to take in the event that a NAFTA repeal seemed likely. Another approach the company could take would be to leverage it’s influence among its clients, who are ostensibly large multi-national firms with major operations in both the US and Mexico. It could build a coalition of commercial enterprises that oppose any renegotiation or repeal of NAFTA on both sides of the border, putting political pressure on Trump to remain in the agreement.