Julio S

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On December 1, 2017, Julio S commented on Checking Out Should Feel Like You’re Stealing :

Thanks Mel! The concept of leveraging digitalization in brick and mortar check out is fascinating. From personal experience, I agree that a poor check out experience can reduce the likelihood that I walk into a given store. The fact that stores are currently using 40-year old barcode technology demonstrates that the check out market is ready to be disrupted, however I agree that Amazon, with eCommerce expertise primarily, may encounter challenges in bringing new technologies to brick and mortar stores. In order to implement a technology like Sensor Fusion, stores must be retrofitted with new furniture and structures, which would represent a significant capital investment even after acquiring a chain of stores.

Finally, as the technology progress I foresee privacy concerns from consumers. The least mature technology listed, computer vision, may discourage consumers from shopping due. I would expect there to be an unwillingness to have such detailed footage of their buying habits, physical features, and other personal information tracked by a company that already has an incredible amount of information about their online habits.

On December 1, 2017, Julio S commented on The Cash Before the Storm: Forecast-based Financing at Red Cross :

Thanks Ginny for your post! The FUNES technology is an incredibly powerful way of using data to mitigate damage due to natural disasters. While its critical for The Red Cross to leverage digitalization trends to direct solutions toward emergency preparedness, it could be even more impactful to raise funds to support structural investments to help mitigate the severity of disasters. For example, investing in structural improvements to poorly-built houses, hospitals and other buildings in areas prone to earthquakes could save lives in the event of an earthquake. (Source: https://www.asme.org/engineering-topics/articles/performance-test-codes/earthquake-proof-infrastructure-put-to-the-test) As a another example, mangroves could be planted to mitigate the threat of tidal surges. (Source: http://www.ifrc.org/en/what-we-do/disaster-management/preparing-for-disaster/risk-reduction/reducing-disaster-risk/)

In both these instances, digitalization could help by collecting data on disaster prone areas, including frequency and magnitude of natural disasters, as well as structural elements in place to mitigate effects of disasters. Similarly to unlocking funding for operating procedures of disaster response, such digitalization could be used to inform funding for these infrastructure and environmental improvements.

On December 1, 2017, Julio S commented on A Small Company Setting the Standard in a Big Way :

Thanks for the post MDB. It’s inspiring to see a brand like Patagonia take an intentional and active stance on climate change. Another initiative that Patagonia pursue that is aligned with its commitment to sustainability is its “Ironclad Guarantee” (Source: http://www.patagonia.com/ironclad-guarantee.html). This guarantee ensures that consumers are not just throwing away Patagonia items due to wear and tear accumulated through years of ownerships – instead, they are shipping them back to Patagonia for repairs. This initiative improves consumers’ brand perception as well as customer satisfaction. One could argue that for every jacket that is repaired, materials and carbon pollution due to manufacturing an additional one is spared. From a more cynical perspective, I wonder if this strategy only encourages more consumers to purchase more items, therefore driving a net positive effect on carbon pollution.

Thanks Charlie for your post. I agree that Tesco and many other UK companies will need to manage increased costs of goods sold related to Brexit. It makes sense that the UK can shift to local producers for dairy items, but I imagine some produce currently sold, such as tropical fruits, would be nearly impossible to grow within the U.K. Tesco will need to balance paying higher tariffs on these goods with cost savings initiatives related to other goods that can be produced locally.

Another adaptation I would recommend to Tesco is to further reduce SKUs by reducing assortment within key categories. By buying less variety but in larger quantities, Tesco will have greater buying power in their relationship with fewer suppliers and be able to negotiate lower prices. These cost savings can be passed onto consumers whose wallets are also being squeezed, via promotions that Charlie mentioned or by everyday low prices.

Finally, I’m surprised that Tesco was able to use it’s sheer size to pressure Unilever to lower supply costs – the UK itself represents only 5% of Unilever’s sales (Source: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/13/unilever-finance-director-graeme-pitkethly-defends-company-tesco-price-row-marmite). It appears that Unilever was faring more poorly from a public relations perspective and consumer pressure and a decrease in share price may have also been convincing factors in encouraging Unilever to answer Tesco’s demands (Source: https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2016/oct/13/pound-sterling-brexit-price-row-tesco-unilever-live).

On December 1, 2017, Julio S commented on Burden of Arabia :

Thanks for the post, Samson! Aramco is both adapting to global warming through diversification, as well as mitigating it by supporting the development of renewable energy. I agree that these methods will ultimately help Aramco survive, but I wonder how sustainable Aramco’s action will be – Aramco’s strategy seem purely motivated by it’s stock price, and if the market begins to favor renewable energy less, I imagine Aramco would revert away from mitigating global warming. Aramco’s stock price is highly dependent on global climate change policies (Source: https://www.ft.com/content/2115e218-802e-11e7-94e2-c5b903247afd) and thus Aramco’s commitment to mitigating climate change may not be sustainable.

One additional promising move toward mitigating greenhouse gas emissions is that Aramco, Shell and other major oil companies set up a fund that focuses on carbon capture and storage technology, which captures carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels and stores them underground. (Source: http://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/saudi-aramco-and-shell-join-other-oil-majors-to-set-up-clean-energy-fund-to-fight-climate-change)

On November 30, 2017, Julio S commented on Breaking the walls with 3D printing :

Thanks for the post, Caue! The paradox you point out initially of technology connecting the world while governments attempt to become more isolationist is striking, and I agree that GE is innovating to overcome this isolationism.

I believe even opening factories in local markets is an example of GE innovating to succeed in its environment, however I do have some concerns about this method. I would argue that the net number of new jobs would be welcomed by the host country, even if the presence of 3D printing machines has a negative effect on that number. At the same time, moving a plant to a host country may introduce competition unwelcomed by GE’s customers other suppliers. Regardless of government regulations, nationalist sentiment among the host countries may still encourage customers to remain with suppliers native to their country, rather than a U.S. company.

The idea to install machines at your customer is smart. You could lease machines and then sell high-margin designs. This way, you reduce risk of backlog and your customer bears the responsibility and costs of producing parts. Your customer also benefits from what essentially resembles Just-In-Time ‘delivery.’ My one concern here is GE may still needs to lease or sell the 3-D printing machines to the customers, which may be hindered by trade barriers.