Great article! With regards to your question on whether or not Walmart can achieve the best entrepreneurial ideas w/ its innovation arm – I think people give Walmart far less credit than it deserves and yes, they can achieve great ideas and potentially even beat Amazon.
1. Walmart still services most of the country and while people on the coast may depend on Amazon, it doesn’t mean the whole country uses Amazon. I think the latest revenue comparison is Amazon is about 1/5 the size of Walmart. 2. What this does mean for Walmart is that if it implements even just a few of the predictive modeling purchase or AI developments, it has the ability to affect a larger number of consumers. and 3. Walmart was in the fresh grocery business far before Amazon and I suspect can be a leader in the supply chain management of pershiable goods — Walmart is already partnering with IBM to create blockchain technology that helps improve transparency in its supply chains.
With regards to your question about whether or not it’s wise to use store associates to perform last mile deliveries – I think it’s a great idea! Not a single company has figured out how to make money out of the logistical nightmare of last mile deliveries (not even Amazon!) and every other company is clamoring to get into the business once it can be proved to be profitable (think ridesharing companies). In testing out this process, Walmart could be discovering very important insights about the last mile delivery market that puts them in the forefront of the delivery industry.
Super interesting article! As I read through this, something I would love more clarity on is the tradeoff between how ‘heavy’ and durable the materials needed for drilling are. You mentioned in your article that a big benefit of 3-d printing is that previously, the materials being shipped were made of heavy metals, and thus incur high transportation cost. I understand that there is a benefit in that industrial 3-d printing materials allows for less weight – but what are the implications for having a lighter product?
With respect to your main question – will companies invest in making these significant changes in using 3D printing in their current supply chain model, I am pessimistic. I see 3D printing still best used in cases where they are producing fast, less quality prototypes. Given that 3D printing is still developing, and oil and gas is an industry that relies heavily on precision and quality (anything not up to par could have outsized consequences), it seems like an unnecessary risk oil and gas companies would be taking on.
Great article! I’m terrified to hear that McLaren’s current intention is to introduce 22 new models to the market by 2022 — as you rightly pointed out, this is a decisions better made when McLaren actually understands the business landscape it exists in.
One additional thought on this – an argument of isolationism is always the protection and the ‘pushing up’ of one country’s own brands. Back in the day, the UK had McLaren, Jaguar and a few more brands that were iconically ‘British’. 1. Can McLaren benefit from the high tariffs of bringing in other luxury automobiles (i.e. Mercedes, BMW) and successfully supply a larger subset of the UK market with a range of models, not just the highest end of sports cars? and 2. Can McLaren use Brexit and the increase in price due to tariffs, to make itself more desirable to the outside luxury world?
Great article! Reading through this and keeping in mind that Coca Cola owns 90% of this company, I would say I’m not totally sure Innocent is in as much trouble as we think it’s in. Instead, this article highlights to me the potential negative effects in store for those living in the UK following Brexit negotiations.
Coca Cola recently went on a shopping spree for ‘healthier’ brands to balance out its portfolio as even developing country consumers developing countries are ‘demanding’ healthier beverages. From Coca Cola’s perspective – given that the raw materials are in the rest of Europe and they have multiple production plants in Europe, Innocent seems like a good brand to push to the rest of Europe and globally.
From those living and working in the UK – unfortunately Innocent will either need to change its raw inputs or become more expensive, given the tariffs charged for bringing either raw goods or final product in. I would also certainly be worried about global companies like Coca Cola shutting down production plants in the UK, as the country sees increasing labor rates (limited labor market –> increases in labor rates). With respect to your question – it certainly is hard to measure since there there is no comparison — I suspect an econ or lobbying group in the UK may survey global companies like Coca Cola to gain their perspective on whether or not they would 1. Start new investments in the UK or 2. Keep as is, or 3. Shut down production of products in the UK
Thanks for writing this piece! Such an interesting read. Similar to you, I am confident that Nike will continue to innovate and set the standard in clothing / shoe sustainability. However, instead of framing it as — should Nike play this role or actively help other industry players realize its benefits, I think we should view the retail industry as the very competitive and consumer driven market it is, and realize that it’s the competitive landscape and the consumers that will help other players see the benefit.
Consumers in the North America and Europe (give or take a few more ‘developed’ countries) have long cared about the environment and I believe they view new processes like using recycled goods to make running shoe as cool technological developments. These consumers will naturally push Nike to develop the newest, coolest, best products and will push other retail brands to do so as well. It’s not random that in the last 10 years, we saw the emergence of brands like Outdoor Voices, Girlfriend Collective and Reformation — while all more feminine than Nike, they are all in the athletic space, and all use recycled materials in their products.
I think what Nike should focus on as its next frontier is translating the coolness factor of products produced sustainably to its consumers in developing countries with a recent surge of high purchasing power (i.e., India, China). To really make an impact going forward, Nike needs to make sure its new consumers will see the benefits of buying sustainably produced goods and continuously push companies in these newer markets to reach the same level of sustainability as Nike.
Awesome article and such an interesting comparison to our recent IKEA case. To your first question – regarding whether or not Patagonia can improve their ability to reduce their carbon footprint through 100% commitment to closed loop production – I believe they can certainly do more here. Similar to the IKEA case, my biggest critique of companies who focus solely on the sourcing of raw materials in the production of their goods is the fact that they are not providing consumers a process to return those same goods into the usage loop once they no longer need the product. For companies like IKEA and Patagonia, I would argue that a bigger part of the problem is the fact that consumers buy a lot of products and often times, the product are trashed after just 1-2 years of usage. Without addressing this issue, Patagonia (and IKEA’s) commitment to the ‘triple bottom line’ seems insincere to me.
Patagonia can certainly do more here – many companies (Madewell, APC) now have a brand renewal program where the company pays a substantial amount of money ($25-50) each time you return a pair of jeans to them, to spend on new jeans at the store — and the old pairs are then resold after the company fixes them up. I think a program like this benefits the consumer – since they’re able to buy the next pair of jeans at a discount, benefits the company since it keeps purchases at that company and, benefits the environment since people are actually using and re-using products for as long as its viable.