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Despite its longer-term ambitions, automakers such as GM must still confront today’s nationalist movements and determine where to invest its capital. GM’s management must assume that the risks in producing in North America will continue to persist. Both political parties in the US are led by individuals who champion anti-free trade rhetoric. Andres Obrador, a populist leftist who has been critical of Mexico’s free-market policies, is a contender in next year’s presidential election. Political movements across Europe and Asia share the same sentiment and suggest that GM should optimize for political security rather than current favorable conditions.

On November 21, 2017, DT commented on Brexit and BMW: Disintegration of European supply chains? :

On the flip side, foreign automakers such as Toyota will need to tackle the supply chain overhang to remain competitive in the UK and Europe. Two possibilities for automakers:

Buy Local: First, they would need to consolidate as much of its supply chain as possible, to minimize production costs after Brexit. Only about 40% of components within a UK assembled car are sourced locally. That number will need to increase.

Seek concessions: Second, specifically for Toyota, as a low-margin manufacturer that caters to the mass market, Toyota should seek to get concrete guarantees on a transitional deal from the government as soon as possible. Nissan, for example, was able to secure concessions as a requirement to keep production of its Qashqai and XTrail models at its Sunderland plant.

On November 21, 2017, DT commented on Climate Change – A Tough Nut to Crack :

Interesting. An alternative view is that recent studies have shed light on an important benefit to keeping those one-million-plus acres of California almond crops alive: carbon sequestration.

Almonds, along with other perennial crops, suck up CO2 and keep it in the soil. Since perennial crops stay in the ground all year long, they help keep carbon locked inside of the soil instead of released back into the atmosphere. According to an analysis of the carbon life cycle in the almond industry, well-managed almond crops can potentially capture and sequester more carbon than they emit—around 38% more, if all the hulls, shells, and other biomass produced by nut farming were burned as a renewable fuel source.

On November 21, 2017, DT commented on Where in the world will our wine come from? :

Interesting. I guess it really depends on the grape varieties. Researchers in traditional regions like Bordeaux are already exploring cultivars better adapted to varying climate conditions and diseases. French agriculture-research institutions are studying Plot 52, a parcel planted with 52 different grape varieties, including some from Portugal, Greece and Italy. The goal is to identify varieties better suited to hotter climates.

I guess site selection also matters. Grape growers may need to plant their vineyards at higher latitudes or higher elevations to capture cooler climate conditions. In Germany’s Mosel Valley, they’re doing just that. They have moved plantings higher on the region’s hillsides, closer to the crest where the wind provides a cooling effect.

It’s no secret that the pharma industry is in need of some major upgrades. One glaring problem is the $220 billion worth of counterfeit drugs that plague the market.

The remaining fundamental questions executives want addressed are:
(1) who will pay for the technology
(2) who owns the data, and
(3) how companies will obtain internal and external buy-in from each of the necessary partners in the supply chain.

While the technology will likely be part of the health-care ecosystem, I wonder to what extent and how quickly it will be implemented. But I do agree that there is more promise on blockchain’s use in drug distribution than in other areas of healthcare because the supply chain does not involve individual patient protected health information.

Hello Mister McBoatface – cool name you have.

Okay, so you have to prove your blockchain application works, just as you do every other technology. Why, then, does blockchain pose such a challenge for internal auditors? I see 2 reasons:

Technical expertise is rare: Few IT departments have relevant blockchain experience. In the 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey, 86% of financial services executives said that their organizations haven’t yet developed necessary blockchain skills. And even fewer companies have teams with enough expertise to provide any sort of assurance around the technology and the associated work.

These controls are different: Since the tech is new, it requires a new way of thinking about controls. Auditors might welcome the change, but it’s their job to ask the difficult questions: Who controls the blockchain? Who gets access? Where are these servers? Who monitors activity? Is the technology in fact doing what it claims to do? How can you assess this claim when traditional auditing has never seen technology of this kind?