There are two elements of Rappi’s approach that appear to be key to allowing them to survive despite thin margins, but are a cause for concern moving forward. One, avoiding vacation days, pensions and health insurance for employees is an effective way to control costs early in life for technology companies, but is a strategy that will attract public and regulatory pushback as the company grows. Even if Rappi is able to sustain such policies in its home markets, it will likely have to adjust its approach as it enters new markets. Second, allowing couriers to handle cash is a departure from what similar firms are doing in the U.S., and will leave both the customer and the company vulnerable to fraud and losses. Given Central and South American countries rely more heavily on cash transactions than is the case in other parts of the world, it makes sense that cash have a place on the platform, but Rappi should be exploring ways to minimize cash exchanges in its business model moving forward.
India faces many of the same challenges that other countries have had to overcome when it comes to education, but two things that stand out as somewhat unique to the country are its sheer size, and the large variance of resources committed to education from region to region. India has 1.3 billion total people and a land mass only slightly more than a third of that of the U.S. Despite this, the population spends inconsistently on higher education, which is likely a result of variance in the access and quality of primary education. Across India, the average spend on higher education is “15.3% of the total household expenditure in rural and 18.4% in urban areas.” However, in the southern part of the country, the corresponding figures are 43% and 38% respectively.  This indicates that the southern part of the country islikely producing a vastly different number of students per capita that possess the skills necessary to attend a higher education institution. This is important to acknowledge and understand when considering how digitalization and education interact moving forward. Digitalizing an established education system is likely easier than digitalizing one that barely exists, but in terms of initial effort and resources, the part of the country with a weaker existing education system would likely benefit more per dollar spent on digitalization efforts, and therefore should potentially be the first to receive an allocation of what are very limited resources.
1. South india spends most on higher education education]. (2017, Jun 14). The Economic Times (Online) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/1908938808?accountid=11311
Interestingly, many experts have only limited enthusiasm for the future of on-shore wind power, that is, by comparison to their enthusiasm for wind power generated over deep ocean waters. There are several reasons for this: one, “wind speeds can be as much as 70% higher [over ocean waters] than on land,” and two “the potential energy that can be extracted over the ocean, given the same area, is at least three times as high” . The science behind the increased productivity of off-shore wind farming is somewhat complicated, but the bottom line is that with so much untapped potential, it is likely that in the mid to long-term wind energy production will shift increasingly off-shore. Given this, it makes sense for a company like Vestas to double down on R&D to advance this technology while there is still ample regulatory support for innovation and implementation in renewable energy. In addition, emerging markets, like those the in certain parts of India, would be prime targets for Vestas deploy existing wind power technology, as well as launch innovative off-shore wind energy production technology.
1. Mooney, C. (2017, Oct 16). Ocean WINDS ‘could power the WORLD’; deep water next step for technology. National Post Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/1951412099?accountid=11311
There are firms in almost every industry that have created environmental initiatives, but in many cases, those initiatives are poorly communicated to customers. If a firm’s customers aren’t aware of the firm’s environmental aspirations, doesn’t believe the they are sincere, or sees them as short-lived tactics to gain goodwill, the firm and the initiatives will not be successful. For this reason, marketing has emerged as one of the most influential elements in the push towards environmental sustainability. “The goal of sustainability in a marketing strategy is to attain competitive advantage through a position that is desirable, different and defensible.” With this in mind, sustainability initiatives should be formulated in such a way that profits can still be earned even after having a reduced impact on the environment and society.  In the case of Inditex, the ability to identify and effectively communicate meaningful long-term sustainability goals to its customers is essential in being able to have the desired impact without suffering financially. If the initiatives are in line with customer sentiment, then the firm will be able to pass some of the cost of those initiatives on to its customers without negatively impacting sales.
1. Thrust for sustainability in marketing strategy. (2014, May 27). The Financial Express Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/1528424027?accountid=11311
The cause for concern is twofold for Nissan’s UK production. First, the EU has significant control over the UK as Brexit unfolds, and the UK’s promised support of Nissan “has raised questions whether Britain may be breaching EU state-aid rules by handing the company selective support that could give it an unfair advantage over its rivals.”  Pushback from EU regulators could hamper the UK’s ability to make good on promises to Nissan, which would make the UK operation uneconomical given the historically low margins achieved there. Second, Nissan “has the option to shift work from its Sunderland plant to factories in continental Europe run by its global alliance partner Renault.”  However, according to Arnaud Deboeuf, a director of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the Sunderland plant “is key for Nissan in Europe with the production of [the] Qashqai [SUV] and the production of Juke [a compact SUV], so in the short term there will be no impact”.  So, while in the short-term it appears it will be business as usual for Nissan, the idea that the company would expand production in the UK over the mid and long-term seems unlikely, particularly if the economics sour in any way.
1. Drozdiak, N. (2016, Nov 07). EU examines U.K.’s brexit assurances to nissan; nissan’s decision has ensured the jobs of 7,000 people in the north of england. Wall Street Journal (Online) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/1836701012?accountid=11311
2. Campbell, P., & Inagaki, K. (2016, Jul 14). Brexit steers UK cars into unknown territory. Financial Times Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/1811137585?accountid=11311
Although Siemens is a dominant player in the U.K., they’re publicly listed in Germany and recently acquired the Spanish firm Gamesa, which “is primarily active in the supply of onshore wind turbines but also in the sale of offshore wind turbines through its wholly owned subsidiary, Adwen Offshore SL.”  With a bigger percentage of its business in the E.U. than in the U.K., plus the recent acquisition of Gamesa, combined with “balance-sheet headroom and a presence in a wide range of countries” , Siemens bottom line wouldn’t be impacted as harshly by a “hard” Brexit as their U.K. market share might suggest. Given this, it is likely that Siemens will take a wait-and-see approach to Brexit, as opposed to a riskier proactive strategy.
1. European union: Mergers – commission clears acquisition of gamesa by siemens. (2017, Mar 15). Asia News Monitor Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/1876807749?accountid=11311
2. Trentmann, N. (2017, Mar 13). Smaller german firms rethink foreign investments; ‘mittelstand’ companies see challenges with political and economic instability in core markets. Wall Street Journal (Online) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/1876440734?accountid=11311