Mark Leahey

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On December 1, 2017, Mark Leahey commented on Sunrun: Confronting Solar Panel Import Tariffs :

Mike: Extremely well-done! Such a thought-provoking article on a topic I knew nothing about…..

Reading your article, I was amazed about how many layers of complexity these potential restrictions have on Sunrun. Your analysis on stockpiling was especially eye-opening. Even though panels are going to be used on an East Coast project, the pre-purchased inventory will incur a tremendously high tax in California? I didn’t realize there was this level of complexity and so many costs and factors to manage….

There are a lot of parallels in your article to the TOM case we did with Fuyao glass. You mentioned opening manufacturing in the U.S. to avoid trade restrictions. Similarly in Fuyao, this was one of the key considerations that they were taking into effect when considering manufacturing in Tianjin vs. Ohio. But as we also learned from that case, there are SO many others factors to take into account. What is truly unfortunate for Sunrun is that they are faced with only SIXTY days to analyze their potential decisions!

Great post, Mike!

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

Cranberry: Thank you for the extremely informative and relevant article!

Everyday I check the news to follow the latest updates on NAFTA and the impacts it will have on the United States. While I don’t think Ford (and the rest of the country) will see the extreme impact of the threat, President Trump’s administration has already influenced companies such as Ford to respond to the threats. As you pointed out, this included the cancellation of production plants in Mexico and shifting the workload domestically, among many other reactions. As you alluded to, I truly believe that this was the intent of the administration: A scare tactic to influence companies to make moves….

No matter what happens, history tells us that the policies under this current administration will almost certainly be reversed in the future. I think about the influence that the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations had on progressing the U.S.-Canada Trade Agreement, and then eventually NAFTA. Their influence mirrors the intensity of Trump’s, yet they were supporting the other side of the coin. History will repeat itself….

We will see what happens! Thanks again for the read!

On December 1, 2017, Mark Leahey commented on Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo’s Sustainability Mission :

Landen: Thank you for a thought-provoking article on a subject that I didn’t know anything about!

I was really astonished that while Pepsi can do everything in its power internally to improve their environmental impact on the world, it is truly the suppliers, partners, and customers that have a 93% share of PepsiCo’s carbon footprint!! For the suppliers and partners, my concern is what if they are resistant to environmental improvements (too hard to implement, increases their costs, etc.)? Would PepsiCo every cut ties with these suppliers/partners if they can’t reach a long term “marathon” agreement?

To follow-on Kenya’s comment about Aquafina’s flimsy bottles: A customer could easily switch companies if they find a product inferior. This is especially true in PepsiCo’s industry where so many competitors exist. To take Kenya’s comment one step further: Would a customer ever switch companies (from Pepsi to Coca-Cola, let’s say…) because of their poor environmental practices? I would think those practices would have to be REALLY terrible in order for a customer to switch….to the point where they are front headline news so that customers are informed.

Thanks again, Landen!

On December 1, 2017, Mark Leahey commented on The last dance of Just-in-Time? :

Giovanni: Thanks for the great read! To echo George, in classic Toyota fashion, I found their reaction to the problem to be ingenious.

However, Khush’s comments got me thinking about previous natural disasters that had significant economic impact. Do you think Toyota researched these companies to use as a benchmark to see how they responded after their respective natural disasters?

Two disasters immediately come to mind:

*2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake flattened Indonesia and Thailand (

*2005 Hurricane Katrina demolished southeast United States ( &

Since I am most familiar with Hurricane Katrina, let me use this as an example: I know that the surrounding areas of New Orleans are loaded with boat manufactures (good benchmark for a car manufacturer). In fact, several boats that I served on in the military were built in Lockport, Louisiana at Bollinger Shipyards. This is a small example, but hundreds of companies were upended by this hurricane. I wonder if Toyota reinvented the wheel with the response you mentioned or if they did their homework and benchmarked appropriately? I think the Hurricane Katrina supply-chain impact is especially relevant for Toyota because New Orleans was AGAIN hit hard several years later by Hurricane Ike (2008) and Hurricane Ida (2009). Did the adjustments at Bollinger Shipyard (and other companies) withstand the follow-on hurricanes they faced? If so, they could be the perfect benchmarks for Toyota to use.

Great article, thanks Gio!

Wow, Miguel! Awesome article! I have to be honest, I am in the market for a nice watch, but have always been turned off by the high price point. What if I don’t like the watch a couple of years down the road? Or what if I want to switch things up and buy another watch to accompany a different style? The extremely low price points (and the supply chain story behind them) is very intriguing and makes this company a very attractive option. I just went to the site and I am loving the Venice and Automatic series. I especially like how I can be “involved” in the watch-making process and watch my product being built!

One issue that you mention in the article is trialability. After perusing the website, it looks like FL offers a refund/shipping policy, which reduces my anxiety of being stuck with watch that looked good on the site, but not great on my wrist. Unfortunately, they do charge a 15 euro shipping, handling, and restocking fee. I know it’s only 15 euros, but perhaps this could be a barrier for people to try the product? Additionally, if people do return merchandise, then it will surely increase their inventory costs which they are working hard to reduce. Where is the balance with all of this? If you reduce the 15 euro shipping/restocking fee, then more people will try and return, increasing your inventories. If you increase the shipping/restocking fee then it further builds the barrier preventing people from trying the product…..I think if FL can figure out a good balance, this company could catch on fire very quickly….

Great article…and thanks for introducing me to my new watch!

Great article, Kai! This really hits home for me because I am a huge NIKE apparel fan, especially when it comes to shoes. A couple of things that came across my mind when reading your article:

First, I am a bit conflicted about NIKE cutting its manufacturing down considerably. I know that might sound crazy, but let me explain. While it is great that there will be more varieties of shoes available, when it comes to athletic shoes, I personally am looking for performance/fit/durability over rotating style. For my last pair of NIKE sneakers, the FS Lite II, I had to buy 4 pairs at once because I was afraid that when I went to repurchase the shoe 6 months later, I wouldn’t be able to find it online, let alone the actual brick and mortar store. Constantly rotating and changing shoes means less quantity of each shoe type. I think this works for fashion and style, but not when it comes to athletics (or not to the same degree…)

Second, to address your comments about brick and mortar stores and their role in the supply chain. I think these stores need to leverage Web 2.0 and other social/internet mediums to better educate their employees on the shoe benefits. I think back to my best shoe buying experience at a little place called West Seattle Runner in Seattle, Washington. The store employee made me try on shoes, run across the store, try different exercises, try different socks, etc. Afterwards he gave me an assessment of which shoe fit my running style and what would be most comfortable for the long term. Store employees at Foot Locker, Dick’s, etc. need to get online, learn about the product, and deliver what online retailers like Amazon can’t….first-class customer service and showcasing the trialability of a product. This isn’t just for running, but for basketball, soccer, football…you name it! Retailers could bring in small turf pitches or track surfaces and allow their customers to try their cleats, shoes, or sneakers in a real setting, all while getting advice from a knowledgeable store employee.

Thanks for the fun article! Great job!