One area kind of caught my eye with regards to monitoring weather and planning for the future. Your second question about water depletion limiting production seems counter to the realities of California. They were in a prolonged 10 year drought but almond production is at an all time high. And then 2016 was one of the biggest years on record with regards to annual rainfall and the empty lakes and reservoirs started filling up to capacity. I don’t know that anyone expected 2016 to be such a huge year in terms of rain. Also, the Rocky Mountains had incredible amounts of snow and as such the Colorado River has been flowing high now for quite a while, California gets quite a bit of water from that river. I wonder how an industry, such as the Almond industry, can really prepare for any long term effects from weather, increasing and decreasing water supplies and if it really matters for almonds. And with Climate Change rhetoric going from the “Upcoming Ice Age” that was professed in the 70’s to Global Warming will kill us all in the 2000’s, what is a company supposed to do in terms strategy. Global average temperatures have risen less that 1 degree Celsius in the past 30 years. Is that enough to drive a strategy, and has it really mattered to the almond industry?
I really enjoyed this essay, as a good friend of mine is a marketing executive at Nike and he has told me much about the company and issues they face. The question: “How can Nike balance the tradeoffs and investments between cutting-edge athlete performance enhancement products and mass production, yet potentially less complex, affordable customization?” is a great one because I know that they are really struggling with this issue. According to me friend, the time from concept to production of a new line of shoes has not changed markedly in recent years. This is not due to technology per se, but their own internal processes that make the effort so time consuming. So while the company is trying to build efficiencies in production and supply chain, they are not doing much of anything in terms of the human side of the equation and the culture they have inside their campus. It seems some of these giants like Nike are great at implementing the latest and greatest technology advances but are very poor at looking to change the behavioral aspects of their business.
This is an interesting essay and puts out some good thoughts regarding NAFTA and GM, but much of the data provided feels incomplete. On the face of it I can see where the data provided shows potential negative impact. However, there is no mention of the potential positive impacts of a growing economy in the US, tax reform, the ability for companies to repatriate monies held overseas at a one time small charge. Much of this part of the current administration’s plan is designed to help mitigate issues described in the article, and provide strong long term growth and desire to be more “American Made.” Whether this happens or not remains to be seen, but on the surface the plans sound solid, and would have a positive impact on GM and the US, while a seeming negative impact on Mexico.
To the question of consumers shopping choices reflecting any concern for sustainability, it must be remembered that not all people are members of the religion of global warming. As such, Nestle and other companies like them should be and I assume are taking into account various points of view when measuring consumer concerns. Certainly negative press and intimidation from highly organized lobby groups are a factor as well. I would assume too are government initiatives around green technology help form the choices that a company like Nestle make. How much is the consumer voice heard in the whole equation? Hard to tell, but it is certainly one piece of the puzzle, and to assume that the majority consumer voice is one that each of us agrees with may be a mistake.
A really interesting article which made me think a lot. I spoke to some friends about this and they raised a good point which really has not been addressed. Warner Brothers and other mega studios are, at the end of the day, chasing the all powerful dollar. The influx of China influence over movie production is in fact being allowed because studios look to China as the latest funding source. About 20-25 years ago you would have seen the exact same trend with Japan, where there was a huge influx of film financing coming out of Japan and Japanese personalities being given cameo roles in the movies with Japanese money backing. This is what we are seeing right now with a number of blockbuster films being co-produced by Chinese companies or at a minimum being financed by Chinese money. It is not uncommon to find a well known Chinese personality being given small parts in those films. I would assume this trend will last until Hollywood finds the next preferred source of film finance.
You bring up some interesting points about the need for Toyota to navigate political waters in an every growing isolationist world. I think one of the key factors is to understand what the isolationist platform is really all about. It isn’t just about jobs and economic factors. There are other factors involved, for example Brexit had much to do about how the EU was gaining enough power that Britain was more and more feeling of a loss of Autonomy, and the influx of immigrants who are not assimilating well into the British culture. The US, has a similar problem and so much of isolationism is coming from a desire to have individual countries be responsible for their own people and have their own set of laws. This is a tricky issue for a company like Toyota to work through because “fair trade” is rooted in the same premise of “what is best for our own people.” How does a company like Toyota show countries like the US that they are working in the best interest of the US citizen while also having an expectation back home in Japan to be working for their own country’s Nationalist desires?” Would they ever lobby to Japanese government over trade policies that help the US over Japan? It seems that as these isolationist trends intensify, companies like Toyota are stuck between a rock and a hard place.