Erika Idaho Ben

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On December 1, 2017, Erika Idaho Ben commented on Mayo Clinic: A Digital Prescription :

Great read Phil! The RFID technology sounds amazing and I’m sure can have equally large gains for smaller hospitals. I wonder what is preventing small hospitals from adopting this technology especially given the clear gains from implementing them. Is is possible that there is a very high up front cost to implementing this technology that deters hospitals? Or is it an organizational issue where hospitals that are less innovative than the Mayo clinic are less inclined to make such big changes to their operations?

I also wonder if they will be able to further integrate this digitized supply chain with their suppliers and other partners such as blood banks and laboratories. This seems especially pertinent for hospitals where the movement of products (such as blood or other critical hospital supplies) is highly time sensitive. I am looking forward to seeing how this technology further improves our hospitals, their bottom line, and the well being of their patients.

On December 1, 2017, Erika Idaho Ben commented on The Cartographer and the Cloud: Isolationism’s Impact on Cloud Computing :

This article was fascinating and I had some firsthand experience working around such regulation when I worked in UK. I was tasked with CRMs and databases to store our contacts and the Software as a Service (SaaS) that was the best fit for the organization unfortunately didn’t comply with EU data regulation’s privacy shield because it was based in the US and most of their customers were in the US. My understanding is that there is a review next year to further tighten these regulations, which has been largely led by Germany to increase privacy requirements. This raises costs for software companies and I’m sure Microsoft is no exception.

I wonder how much Microsoft and other software companies can pressure governments to ease access across borders. Even in the US, we are about to lose net neutrality and that is already the reality for countries like Portugal. Such regulation will also limit what services Microsoft can provide over the cloud.

On December 1, 2017, Erika Idaho Ben commented on DIGITIZING THE MAKERS OF VIAGRA :

Great piece Solomon!

What I found most striking is why Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies have been slow to digitize given that they have the resources to do so. I agree that competitive pressures will play a role and there is evidence that pharmaceutical companies that utilize digital technology in their supply chains have higher growth. However, one of the conditions needed to implement this change is a digital culture mindset and organizational appetite for change. Interestingly, given the regulatory environment in which pharmaceutical companies operate, their culture of risk aversion reflect that environment. I think the biggest obstacle for achieving such improvements in digitizing their supply chain will depend on their leaders’ ability to change the culture of such a large company that has been comfortably earning high margins for decades.

On December 1, 2017, Erika Idaho Ben commented on Ford’s Future in Great Britain Post-Brexit :

Reading this article, I think the best Ford can do now is to negotiate with the British government on receiving economic incentives to stay in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the entity that is most affected by Brexit is the British people themselves who will have to pay in one form or another via their taxes going to subsidize companies like Ford to keep jobs in the UK or losing jobs and paying higher tariffs for cars manufactured in Europe. It seems sensible from Ford’s perspective to hedge their risks and start shifting their manufacturing outside the UK.

I wonder if there are any competitive advantages the UK has compared to other European countries in terms of manufacturing or sourcing parts. Are there any components of vehicles upstream that are most efficiently made in the UK? If the UK government is unable to provide economic incentives to auto manufacturers, which ones will remain, Ford or its competitors? This will be based on what other upstream components produced in the UK that make it favorable to stay there post-Brexit. I’m interested in the competitive environment of car manufacturers post-Brexit and their increased negotiation power with the UK government as other firms drop like flies and exit the country. I think that the competitors and their supply chains are an important consideration for Ford as it considers whether to stay or set up shop elsewhere.

On December 1, 2017, Erika Idaho Ben commented on Will climate change dampen Inditex (Zara)´s rapid-fire supply chain? :

After reading this, it seems to me the greatest CO2 impact Inditex has is from transporting its goods from raw material to end consumer. While I agree that opening manufacturing plants in Asia or the US would help decrease shipping costs, I’m curious to see how much of the CO2 emissions come from sea cargo versus truck. My understanding has been that transport by water is much more efficient per weight than by land. This makes me question how much of an impact opening a plant in other continents would have given the costs and challenges of setting up a logistics center abroad for a company that has been so centralized in Spain since its founding. I’m curious to know if their logistics centers are close to sea ports and if they could relocate any Spanish logistics centers to be as close to the seaports as possible?

I think the major issue is that fast fashion’s business model is unfortunately CO2 intensive due to how short the “days wearable” is for the end consumer, which means purchasing more quantity of clothes. While increasing the quality would help with CO2 emissions, it would go against the customer promise of buying cheap fashionable clothes that last a season. Thus I’m not very optimistic that there is much Inditex can do apart from minimize travel distances by land and have low CO2 emission stores to decrease its impact on climate change.

On December 1, 2017, Erika Idaho Ben commented on Climate Change is No Walk in the National Parks :

I agree with Emily and the previous comments that the priority for the NPS is to use the parks as a way to educate the public about climate change. Specifically, they should use their partners’ resources in research to provide better educational materials at the parks’ visitor centers.

The NPS is not only the parks but a public-facing brand that has a significant meaning to many Americans, such as myself, who have fond memories at the National Parks. In the past, the NPS has collaborated with top universities to hold workshops and on climate change. NPS can use its brand to further advocate for climate change at educational institutions and conferences, which further promotes the urgency of climate change to the scientific and academic community and help fund more research on solutions to combatting climate change.

Another consideration is focusing on research to help inform or persuade policymakers. A few months ago, I met with the CEO of REI, an outdoor recreational equipment retailer, who said some of the biggest impact REI has made on influencing policy to promote the outdoors and raise awareness on climate change has been presenting research on how much of the local economies near National Parks rely on outdoor recreation and tourism. NPS surely has a lot of information and research to share to push for and raise awareness on how economically valuable the National Parks are and how much climate change may hurt the local or state economy.