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On December 1, 2017, Marie commented on Ford’s Global Supply Chain Hits a Bumpy Road :

I am going to take the alternative view to Mike and HBSRules. My suggestion to Ford is to manufacture closer to whichever customer base you are trying to reach. However, this isn’t just because of the risks of rising isolationism. My suggestion is also predicated on potential cost-savings that can be realized throughout the supply chain, including transportation costs, inventory level costs, and the risk of missing a delivery due to unanticipated events (e.g. a ship is not on time due to a hurricane). However, cost-savings do need to be realized for reasons cited by Japees. Strategy& recently released a report with two suggestions I will highlight [1]. The first is to use smart-sizing, where OEMs enter agreements to share car platforms (a fairly standard part of most cars) to build economies of scale, thus reducing costs. The airline industry participates in this practice to realize the very valuable cost-savings. The second recommendation is to decrease the retail side (car dealerships) and use data on customer preferences to accurately target each market. Ford could go as far as Tesla has in the U.S., where company-owned showrooms and online platforms are replacing traditional car dealerships.

[1] Strategy&, “2017 Automotive Trends”,, accessed December 2017.

I agree that Bunge is in the predicament laid out in Mike’s comment and in the blog post. I am most intrigued with research into the alternatives to palm oil to eventually replace this ubiquitous commodity. Several companies are currently pursuing the algae oil alternative, but many are struggling with how to scale it successfully to make it a feasible option for the regular consumer (low price, high melting point, fast production). The Guardian recently highlighted the backlash one company (Ecover) received to its algae oil because of the genetic modification required to scale the production for commercialization. [1] However, research indicates there are certain genetic strains of algae that are able to grow in mass. If Bunge can be a first mover in this new commodity, they will have a huge advantage over their competitors while simultaneously decreasing its impact on climate change.
1. The Guardian. “From Algae to Yeast: The Quest to Find an Alternative to Palm Oil”,, accessed November 2017.

On November 28, 2017, Marie commented on Avoiding cancellation, in aviation :

A cyber attack that infiltrates the control of an airplane while airborne is one of the most prominent risks that could result in the catastrophic loss of life. I agree that Delta is taking proactive steps to decrease their vulnerability to such attacks, where information systems are compartmentalized to prevent malware on an employee’s computer from migrating to the software controlling the autopilot. Regarding the question of how Delta should approach the security of its partners, I think it should take a similar approach to how it regards its responsibility to ensure the employees of partner companies do not have an intent to harm the airline or its passengers. That is, Delta should only work with partners that meet the security standard Delta and/or the FAA sets with third party audits. Initially, Delta may have to provide consultation support to its partners, but the infrastructure and maintenance of IT security should be the burden of the individual company. The airline industry as a whole should also share best practices with each other and establish standards for network and information security to continue to ensure the skies are safe.

Although the Dodd-Frank legislation and follow-on SEC regulations require transparency of supply chains for any conflict minerals, there is no regulation restricting its use. My recommendation to FLIR would go one step further and only source raw materials from a certified conflict-free source. The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) provides a certification mechanism of conflict-free mineral chains (see To become certified, a third party audit occurs to ensure the mine is conflict free and complies with international laws, but also ensures there is proper chain of custody of the material from the point of extraction to the point of export. FLIR should move to this requirement for all of its suppliers, to decrease the risk of relying on self-report measures and to increase its commitment to improving the local communities near its sourcing of raw materials and to ensure compliance with the law.

On November 27, 2017, Marie commented on Plenty of Fish – How to Sustainably Harvest New Fish :

Maruha Nichiro should pressure other companies to join the seaBOS agreement by allowing companies who join the agreement within a certain time frame have a voice in any modifications to the seaBOS agreement. Maruha Nichiro should also have the explicit goal of sending the seaBOS agreement from the international body of fishing companies to the politicians in their respective countries as the preferred adoption as an international political agreement.
As the country with the highest volume of marine fishing, China wants to be at the table anytime the the “Arctic Five” (US, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia) meet to discuss the future of the Arctic waters. In order to have access to the arctic waters for fishing without a public relations backlash, China has an incentive to negotiate with other international players to reach an international fisheries agreement. These talks are currently on-going and while the talks are far from final, there is a concerted effort to reach an international agreement and thus any company in the business of fishing has an incentive to also have their voice heard before finalization of the political agreement.

On November 27, 2017, Marie commented on RFIDs, bar codes and health care costs :

I agree with the digitization of medical supplies and believe the benefits outweigh the cyber risks outlined. In addition to lowering supply levels across the supply chain by implementing a just-in-time inventory model, the digitization can also provide cost-saving benefits to the supply chain of services provided to a patient. The idea of measuring costs to obtain a favorable patient outcome is outlined succinctly in the September 2011 HBR article: “How to Solve the Cost Crisis in Health Care”. If the digitization used to track supplies is also used to track the time of medical attention given from various physicians and staff members to each patient, medical centers can more accurately attribute costs of the service supply chain for a favorable outcome. The costs can then be analyzed to identify potential synergies between and within patient populations (e.g. various medical conditions) to improve efficiency of care delivery and decrease overall cost without compromising the end goal of a healthy patient.