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On November 27, 2017, FCP commented on Navigating Tricky Terrain: Toyota In An Isolationist World :

Awesome read and thank you for the insightful questions. If isolationism does indeed become the go-to strategy going forward, perhaps firms such as Toyota will have to decentralize manufacturing and decision making to focus on certain markets. This would enable key decision makers to connect with politicians and policy makers in the U.S. and elsewhere on a regular basis without creating conflicts with the home headquarters. This would also likely make it easier for Toyota to negotiate better trade policies within its subsidiaries, although complications would arise with capital costs and reconciliations required to execute the strategy.

Companies like Toyota not only create benefits in the form of jobs, taxes, etc., but they create massive benefits because of the products they sell (Toyota sells nearly 200,000 cars each month in the U.S.). As such, Toyota has an inherent negotiating leverage because of the impact and ubiquity that its cars have in many countries. If they decided to stop offering cars, this would upset some consumers which may have a spillover affect on political races. I think it could use its brand and scale, in addition to the economic benefits mentioned, to push more favorable terms with governments.

Thank you for an interesting read! I agree that the U.S. has benefited greatly from the influx and retention of immigrants who go on to build businesses and contribute to society. I am fearful that should recent U.S. policies continue that FB and other businesses that rely on this influx of talent will need to focus on expanding operations into more immigration-friendly nations (i.e. Canada and some of Europe). This is course will have a strong impact on labor availability and tax revenue in the U.S. if companies not only store capital elsewhere, but look to build out human capital and talent in foreign nations. This is the type of leverage that innovative companies like FB and Google will need to rely on when lobbying with lawmakers and decision makes as you alluded to in your third question.

There certainly seems to be merit to competing more aggressively for the best talent in America, but as you pointed out, the current supply is set to become even more constrained and it will become quite expensive to do so.

Very well done and a great read. I believe that it is Nike’s responsibility to set the standard for other shoe and apparel manufacturers and use its platform to act as a role model for its peers (as many of the athletes that Nike currently endorses are). Patagonia is doing remarkable things within CSR to not only work towards a Closed Loop System, but also to push climate change initiatives outside of its apparel purview.

I think the primary constraint for smaller, less innovative apparel manufacturers is lack of infrastructure and scale to invest in R&D focused on sustainable practices that actually enhance performance. While Nike has found several ways to drive performance, cut costs, and minimize its carbon footprint, it will be a long time become smaller shoe companies can replicate the model. However, I do believe that what Nike is doing is re-calibrating consumer expectations which eventually will drive how other apparel and shoe manufacturers approach climate friendly practices.

Thank you for writing this piece. I do believe that WB should maintain a vested interest in the moviegoing experience because it is often the jumping off point to market feature films through trailers, posters, etc. Going to a movie is still an important part of the culture in America despite falling viewership.

I fear that if the AT&T-TW merger fails due to government intervention that TW will have difficulty executing its digitalization strategy without a larger telecom partner that can enable bundling and easy access to devices. In either scenario, WB should continue to invest in and develop platforms focused on customized content that is best viewed outside of traditional channels such as movie theaters. Specifically, the longer running mini-series or multi-season models have worked well for Netflix and Amazon. WB is well positioned as a leading studio to potentially create even more compelling content than other largely digital providers.

Thank you for writing this piece – in my opinion, Patagonia is one of the leaders in Corporate & Social Responsibility. I believe that there may be limitations to Patagonia building a closed-loop system due to challenges with collecting recycled clothing. Patagonia is a global company with a significant portion of its sales in the U.S., where the culture is often to pass down or donate clothing to the less fortunate after it is “consumed.” Based on Patagonia’s CSR write-ups, it does appear that the company is committed to purchasing and manufacturing products from recycled materials, but the collection issue may make it challenging to close the loop. While Patagonia could certainly do more to create awareness of climate change issues, it really does embody the triple bottom line mentality. One of the most interesting aspects of its CSR initiative is the support the company provides to others creating a positive environmental impact. Patagonia gives the larger of 1% of sales or 10% of pre-tax profits to environmental groups each year which is truly incredible.

Thank you for writing this piece as it is a massive issue in both the healthcare services space as well as medical research and life sciences. As you mentioned, leveraging buying power within the organization and increasing utilization across departments substantially reduces excess waste and costs. In my career, we also assessed an interesting business that was digitalizing the supply chain for large capital purchases within hospital and health systems in Boston. Rather than focus on small dollar purchases like gloves, vials, etc., it instead focused on increasing utilization of capital equipment such as beds, tables, and MRI machines. Often times, hospitals don’t know that is in their current inventory system even for items that cost as much as several hundred thousand dollars. This business sought to use a sharing model that increased utilization, reduced waste, and gave users access to a database that enabled them to track spend across the affiliated health system. The reason the business ultimately failed is directly tied to one of your points on employee adaptation. Nurses, physicians, and procurement personnel have used pen and paper or siloed procurement methods for decades. Even when they did utilize this company’s database to look at pricing, hospital personnel were often unwilling to input their own data due to lack of training with the system, limited belief in the ROI, or a competitiveness across departments. I do believe that the future of the healthcare supply chain will be digitalized, but I think it will take leaders such as Boston Children’s to help prove the system before all stakeholders buy in.