Laura E

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Kamau – I have learned more from/about Target this semester than I ever expected. Thank you for flagging another interesting challenge!

I agree with you and some of the previous comments that technology is key here. To push back on some other comments, I think investment in tech will be costly but absolutely necessary for the long-term future of Target (whether or not Target seeks and puts into place other near-term solutions more immediately). I agree that Target will have to outsource some of its production (especially the labor component) to lower cost markets in the near-term but by investing in tech now, Target will make possible US manufacturing in the future which will create other US jobs (development and conception of tech solutions, tech implementation, management of factories, etc.). The market for global production and manufacturing likely will look dramatically different a few decades from now and Target should anticipate that change and make investments in tech now to ensure their long term sustainability.

This was entirely new to me so thank you for writing this up! I think it’s interesting how much companies resort to government “solutions” to address problems given how changeable the impact can be administration to administration – seems so risky to me to rely on government protection in your business model. In my opinion, it would be a shame for these tariffs to be put into place. Suniva should see the price differential as a call to market that they need to diversify their supply chain, potentially leverage less expensive global supply chain inputs (i.e., solar panel production, labor, etc.) to match the lower prices other foreign solar companies are able to meet. I understand the dilemma – it is important to create jobs in the US as well but I think if a company like Suniva used a global supply chain such that they were able to sell in the US without tariffs constricting solar panel pricing (making their price less than or equal to that of foreign competitors), other jobs will be created selling and installing more solar panels in the US. I agree with you that more data on the downstream effect of tariffs would be important in making this administrative decision.

On December 1, 2017, Laura E commented on A taste of their own medicine – GSK disrupted by 3D printing :

I had no idea pharmaceutical companies were considering 3D printing as a drug delivery and adherence solution! Pill Pack is another company that is working to address the problem of patient adherence / compliance. Part of their value proposition is that 50% of Americans don’t take their medications as prescribed so this is clearly an issue that warrants attention and innovation and I think GSK’s approach is quite novel. This will most certainly increase the price of each pill and to a certain extent, I see the value added that justifies the price increase but I’m skeptical that this is the right kind of solution in today’s cost-conscious healthcare landscape. I don’t think 3D printing addresses the core challenge of getting patients to take the pill (solving for compliance) and I think the challenge of patient-specific dosing can be managed at lower costs without the added expense associated with 3D pill printing – I’m skeptical it solves a core enough issue in drug manufacturing to work long term but I’m curious to monitor how this plays out, thank you for posting!

On December 1, 2017, Laura E commented on YiGuo 易果生鲜: Fresh Produce to Your Door Step :

Minghao – thank you for introducing me to Yiguo! I agree that last-mile delivery is a key cost Yiguo will have to optimize going forward. I also think the infrastructure of the supply chain warehouse –> customer will look significantly different in 1-2 decades. For Yiguo, I think they should consider taking advantage of the “gig” economy that is becoming increasingly important. Companies like postmates or UberEats create two-sided efficiencies – drivers who might otherwise drive passengers in an uber can work with Yiguo as well during times when demand for a car ride is lower. Yiguo will reduce some of its delivery demand and Uber drivers will maximize their profitability of time spent in a car. I also think drivers carrying goods from Yiguo’s inner-city warehouses to customers should have some buffer on-hand to meet demand that might arise (i.e., for perishable goods with highest demand, seasonal fruits or vegetables that Yiguo knows will have high demand) so drivers can monitor new orders that come in over the course of the day and sell/deliver the buffer goods they have on hand to immediately address changes in customer demand. Super interesting read though and can’t wait to see how a lot of supplier –> warehouse –> customer delivery companies address this challenge in the next few decades!

OEL – this is a super interesting read, thank you! I agree with the previous comments and applaud Huawei for the efforts they have made thus far in promoting sustainability in their supply chain. To your question, I think Huawei is actually able to push much of the upfront cost of becoming more green to suppliers, potentially offsetting some of the loss of profitability that would come with changing to a more sustainable business model. I agree with Chloe’s comment that they should certainly make Huawei’s own infrastructure more “green” but I think the real opportunity here is to incentivize or penalize their suppliers to become more sustainable, decreasing green house emissions without taking too many near-term direct costs on themselves. They are well enough established that suppliers will change to meet their demands over time. Huawei will have to take on the additional costs associated with auditing their suppliers but I think sustainability can then become one of their key value proposition as a company, justifying some increases in cost and making Huawei a market leader of sustainability in China and among ICT companies.

On December 1, 2017, Laura E commented on Climate Change and ABI :

Meghan – this is an awesome read, thank you! Thinking through your first question, I agree with a previous comment that ABI is uniquely positioned to have a positive impact on their global footprint and sustainability practices with food and beverage production. Many of the initiatives you wrote about (ABI encouraging local sharing of farming best practices, watershed protection, metrics tracking environmental impact of farming, etc.) are all important and certainly should not be discontinued but I would argue ABI is thinking too near-term and within the bounds of their current business model. As global warming becomes a bigger concern and the global population grows, ABI will not be able to meet the same % demand – there will be a point where despite best training / learning efforts, current inputs to beer production will not be possible to produce at necessary scale. I think ABI should focus equal if not more effort on researching alternate solutions like those we saw with Indigo Agriculture, leveraging science to fundamentally change plant yield. ABI should also devote R&D funds to study laboratory-engineered beer production. Though potentially challenging to sell lab-produced beer from a PR perspective, moving toward science as a solution will help ABI reduce their climate change footprint and manage a changing agriculture landscape.