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On November 28, 2017, Lia Asquini commented on Monsanto: Our climate change Messiah? :

I think Monsanto is in a good spot to lead some of these initiatives. As a multi-billion dollar company under a lot of public scrutiny, they can continue to pursue projects such as Water Efficient Maize for Africa in order to help bring food to poverty-stricken communities while boosting their reputation. They have the funds to make an impact. I believe the question of whether this is done “for the right reasons” is of low importance as long as they using their power and profit to undergo initiatives that do truly benefit communities. I think Monsanto should engage in the dialogue with the public, not hide from it, and respond to pressures with similar projects.

On November 27, 2017, Lia Asquini commented on Defending a Global Business Model in Turbulent Times :

Interesting read!
Your points on talent acquisition and retention really resonated in light of isolationism policies in the United States. Even beyond the DACA program, the availability and ease of acquiring work permits has declined and is likely to continue. For a global company like Microsoft, I believe acquiring top talent from all corners of the world helps them to remain in-tune with their global customers. Putting heavy restrictions on this is a risk to them. I like that Microsoft is taking a public stance against the policies it disagrees with while not letting it hinder their overall objectives and expansion goals.

On November 27, 2017, Lia Asquini commented on No More Chocolate For You: Global Warming and Cacao Trees :

Very informative read!
It is nice to know that Mars is taking real steps towards reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Although they and other companies are being more environmentally conscious, it is unlikely that these steps will have a quick enough impact on the sustainability of the cacao belt from now to 2050. I wonder what other steps Mars is taking in terms of shorter term business planning to mitigate the impact of a reduced cacao supply on their business. Which chocolate companies will survive once a third of the global cacao bean production is wiped out? Is it those that closer relationships to these cultivation sites, those with more efficient methods of cultivation, those who are able to find and incorporate cacao substitutes into their products, etc?

On November 27, 2017, Lia Asquini commented on Target under attack :

Really interesting paper!
We so often think about the benefits of supply chain digitization and you bring up a great point about a major risk. More information and more sharing naturally increases exposure of a company’s and customers’ information. To your point about who should be managing this risk, I believe Target and similar companies should begin investing in capabilities and not fully outsource to third party cyber-security and insurance firms. Strategic decisions at Target should be influenced by the associated security risk and if this this risk is fully managed by outside firms, it will not be appropriately factored into Target’s decision making. It can influence questions regarding vertical integration of supply chain, information that is recorded and tracked, who should have access to the data (e.g. consumer transaction data).

Interesting read, Amanda!
Very much agree with your points. To one of your questions, if I were Tesco, I would hold off on making any large-scale investments to deal with potential Brexit scenarios. There is still a lot of uncertainty around how the regulations will change and it is tough to know exactly which issue (tariffs, labor, etc…) will be most detrimental. There is a potential positive spin for Tesco as well. Being a UK grocery chain, they are likely better positioned than their EU competitor’s (e.g. Aldi, Lidl) presence in the UK. If Tesco has more locally sourced products and more equipped to grow these relationships, they could maintain reduced prices as compared to their competitors and gain market share.

Interesting read!
To your last question, I believe an investment in technological advancements can directly contribute to revenue and profitability growth while keeping prices low. One consequence of poor supply chain management is stock-outs and increased discounting. By introducing more real-time supply chain technologies, Macy’s can ensure high-demand products are continually available for purchase and quickly stop production on low-demand inventory. This means they are fully capturing consumer revenue and more items will be sold at full-price, which will improve profitability. I believe Macy’s can have a competitive advantage over the fast fashion brands listed if they are able to be better attuned to consumer demands.