Howard Yan

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On December 1, 2017, Howard Yan commented on Starbucks: Saving Our Coffee from the Threat of Climate Change :

Really good article!

Borrowing from what we learned from Indigo, I wonder if they can raise coffee plants that are not subject to climate change? After all, Starbucks is only a small player in CO2 emission and even if they cut 100%, it is uncertain how much we can deter the gradual climate change. I think it is also worth Starbucks to test if there are breeds of coffee that are more robust.

In addition, with an eye for long-term, they can also develop places that are farther from the equator and see if there are good soil to grow coffee.


This is a really interesting article.

I absolutely agree that AR is underutilized, although I think rightly so since AR is not yet a mature technology. One promising utilization of AR is actually in remote surgery. If a patient can be sufficiently and accurately scanned, then a surgeon can operate remotely as if he/she is operating on the actual patient!

Back to the warehouse business, I wonder if companies should transition to full automation and involve no people or should they invest in letting people using AR. I suspect the former since human are simply not as good as a pure labor force as robots. I really like the last mile delivery using AR since drivers, doing both driving and offloading can hardly be replaced by robots.

On December 1, 2017, Howard Yan commented on Value-Based Healthcare: Game-Changer for Medical Suppliers? :

Great article!

I think medical devices companies currently are in a tough time, as hospitals are undergoing significant reduction and wanting to transition to JIT. This may put burden on the inventory cost of these medical device companies, possibly leading to large supply chain cost. On the upside, electronic health records and other hospital systems are on their way to be more consolidated, and it may reduce the cost of Medtronics trying to integrate their supply digital system into the hospital software system.

On December 1, 2017, Howard Yan commented on A Perfect Fit: 3D Printing Custom Medical Devices :

3D printing is a very exciting for medicine. We could even push JIT further: immediately after a surgeon is taking out a tumor in the arm (which cannot be entirely and accurately predicted ahead of time due to differences in surgery skills and judgment), scan the patient, produce the artificial replacement material and put it back into the patient in the same procedure. I think it may be doable to work closely on-site with major hospitals and really meet the demand real-time. This will be very valuable to hospitals since patients do not need to come back to the hospital and increase outcome at the same time.

On December 1, 2017, Howard Yan commented on Climate Change will change the way we farm and eat! :

This is an fascinating article wrestling with the chicken-and-egg relationship between farming and the environment. Cargill as the leader in food production has to shoulder some of the social responsibility, even though it contributes to less than 5% of carbon emission. I somewhat disagree that changing the product mix is a good solution both short-term and long-term without responding to the market demand. The ultimate goal is to reduce the (CO2 emission)/productivity. One solution that does not involve reducing CO2 is to invest or collaborate with firms that are taking looking into how to use CO2 as a resource (e.g. fuel) rather than a waste ( One other solution is to focus on reducing the carbon emission from the packaging without compromising on the product mix.

On December 1, 2017, Howard Yan commented on Personalized Medicine, Personalized Supply Chain? :

As we enter the period of more personalized medicine such as CAR-T and more genomics sequencing, the problem of production comes more and more into play. The question I have regarding this is: are there enough patient demand for a need to scale? We’ll need to know the future demand and whether it’s a wise idea to scale if there are frequent switches in the technology. Second question I have is whether patient sampling is really the bottleneck. The drug delivery process is inevitable coupled with hospital operations, which involves clinic booking, which often also takes time. Therefore, I think it is important to simplify and enable a more efficient drug production, while it is also prudent and forecast future demand both in patients and changing in technology that may make CAR-T less relevant.