Meg Takada

  • Alumni

Activity Feed

On December 1, 2017, Meg Takada commented on Jumping through hoops: Cirque du Soleil in an era of isolationism :

Kimia, I truly enjoyed your analysis and insights on the effect of isolationism on Cirque du Soleil, thank you for sharing! I agree that the effect of isolationism is extremely huge for the company, the staffing will face a shortage of the talented artists, the company’s most critical asset. Unexpected events such as political risk and diplomatic risk are to be avoided, and I agree that Cirque du Soleil can do more to protect the staffs. I found it interesting that the visa-team works in-house to facilitate works around immigration for staffs. This way, company can operate quickly to take care of visa issues, and data/information that the company can gain from artists and immigration offices are more transparent.

To your question about if the work Cirque du Soleil currently does is enough to protect immigration risks, I think that the company can do more to prevent future risk. Adding to your suggestions, I think that Cirque du Soleil can consider opening regional offices, and temporarily send artists to the regions in which shows take place. This way, immigration is not necessary, and the isolation risk is mitigated. Also, Cirque du Soleil should develop artists in-house and not fully depend on external hiring. The company can found an artist school in Canada or regional HQ countries, develop talents domestically, so that isolation risk isn’t a problem in supply of the staffs.

Another point about Cirque du Soleil partnering with immigration support organizations to increase lobbying efforts – I think this should be an area that company should be careful about. In my opinion, Cirque du Soleil artists are professionals, and they should brand their immigration packages as so. To achieve this, I think that Cirque du Soleil can be careful about which partnering organizations to work with, and what message to convey. Shifting to focus on another area of entertainment is a way for Cirque du Soleil to increase its business however, it does increase more risk of isolation in staffing as the volume of people will increase.

Cirque du Soleil truly represents diversity of people and entertainment. Brexit and other diplomatic situations make it difficult for the company to maintain and retain the outstanding artists, but more can be done for Cirque du Soleil to operate like a private sector to secure the talents.

On December 1, 2017, Meg Takada commented on How digitization of pharma R&D can decrease supply chain costs :

Thank you for sharing your analysis and insights, Monika! To me, it is easy to overlook how much impact digitalization can add to a traditional industry like pharma and medical supplies, and I think that you accurately raised the positive effect of the digital and the factors at risk for TransCelerate to scale its initiative. TransCelerate’s project makes sense very well, as more data they have, more acceptable the clinical trial becomes by the regulatory rules.

To your question about how patients, pharmaceutical companies, and regulatory bodies to trust TransCelerate to protect their data, I think that this is a challenge. One suggestion I have to combat this is to get several prestigious pharmaceutical companies and their supplying hospitals to be on the board for the project, and create a successful case study of the faster R&D cycle with increased safety for patients and transparency. I also think that the speed of the R&D cycle that the digitalization will add is going to be a key success factor for TransCelerate. As you suggest, I agree that having FDA on board adds a credibility of the platform and technology, and moving a traditional entity to trust in the project will be another area to tackle. Also, involving the government to invest in the project is another way for TransCelerate to gain trust. On the organization side, TransCelerate must hire skilled engineers and security teams. It will be critical that TransCelerate learns the operating model as a sophisticated software company to emphasize on the security of the data collected.

To your point about about how TransCelerate can create an end-to-end healthcare system worldwide despite high switching costs, I think that current model is tailored toward US & Europe market. One issue is that regulations around pharma/medicals differ tremendously depending on regions and countries, and localization is needed in order for TransCelerate to digitalize the aggregation, analysis, and compare between data. However, the need for shorter R&D cycle, easiness to compare and analyze data, and transparency/safety for drugs is absolutely a hot topic in other regions such as Asia. In my opinion, TransCelerate should focus creating successful cases in US/Europe for now, and as these markets are the leaders in medicine worldwide, if they can scale the project in these regions, this will become an industry practice for other regions.

On December 1, 2017, Meg Takada commented on No Longer One Single Shade: Sephora and the Beauty Industry :

This was such an interesting read in the digitization that impacts the retail operation and inventory management of Sephora. Thank you for your analysis and insights! As Sephora suffers to accurately forecast the demand to become more efficient in inventory management, I think that the nature of the product makes it difficult. Seasonal shopping trend is one data point to help, however, with diverse customers it is difficult to assume the demand at SKU level. One suggestion I have is that Sephora should eliminate the number of SKUs carrying. The store does add value by providing a wide array of products however, I think this can harm the ability to put a stringent control over inventory. Also, I am concerned that each store at Sephora completely differs in product demand pattern. My suggestion in this area is to use the technology to signal the demand from the store just in time, Sephora can also take an advantage of the customer reward system they developed to connect the personal data of the customer to the purchased product immediately.

To your question, I think that digitalization of the supply chain can move the focus of the labor toward strategy. Achieving efficiency can be relied to the technology, and the actual human labor should focus on providing extra customer service in the store where human power works better than the technology.

For Sephora, competition only grows to be more harsh. In the make-up and personal care category, brand competes with an e-commerce giant like Amazon. I think that the speed to achieve efficiency and innovation is the key to Sephora’s further success.

On December 1, 2017, Meg Takada commented on Unilever’s climate-proofing strategy :

Gayathri, I learned a lot in how Unilever puts efforts to transform its supply chain to avoid the environmental risks. Thank you for your analysis and perspective! I was especially impressed to know that Unilever practices eco-efficiency methods in 263 manufacturing sites in 71 countries. Scaling the practice is hard given that the product processes can vary tremendously from countries to countries. I feel that the global scale of this effort makes them a committed leader in the industry for the environment.

Regarding your discussion points in how Unilever can turn climate change into an opportunity for value generation, I think that Unilever, the leader of the CPG industry taking these measures to combat environmental risks is a competitive advantage. A lot of consumers are also now aware of environmental issues, and Unilever truly practicing these solutions is a way that they are leading a transformational change for the industry. As a consumer, knowing that Unilever carefully picks suppliers who pass their standard for sustainable practices is a way that I become loyal to the brand. Also, when Unilever invests in environmentally-friendly practices, this become an industry norm – other companies must follow the similar practices to well compete with the company. The impact Unilever puts to consumers and the industry is tremendous in my opinion.

To your second question in how Unilever can inspire conversations and actions among organizations and governments who are indifferent to fighting climate change, this is a challenge that the private sector faces. One way is that Unilever can conduct a research in the eco-friendly supply chain model, and publish it to scale the practice and technology it employs. Leveraging the research team, this is the way to move the governments and other companies to start the discussion. It is a challenge to involve the governments to take actual measures, however, with other large companies in CPG joining Unilever, I think that the impact is elevated to involve the government.

On December 1, 2017, Meg Takada commented on Coca-Cola’s Newest Competitor: Water Supply :

Justin, I appreciate your analysis and perspective on the responsibilities of large corporations to preserve water. I believe that it is meaningful that Coca-Cola takes measures to combat this issue, and the company actually achieves goals set for themselves. When a leader in the industry like Coca-Cola practices efforts to reduce the use of water in the production processes, it becomes an industry norm – other companies will follow it.

To your question about how large multinationals fare now that their water efforts are in the public eye, I think that Coca-Cola’s practice is leading to a right direction. In a competitive landscape in CPG, other companies must take their own water efforts to manufacture their goods, as water efforts will be the common requirement in the public eye. Also, I think that it is critical for companies to message the visual goals, timing, and detailed action items as a water effort to take, and this will be a value-add as a company. Because I think this will be the common practice of the industry, I believe that companies will be willing to prioritize water efforts before profits. However, my worry is how companies are able to scale this effort. As you mentioned, actions are not yet on the same page as US in Africa or Asia. Because larger the company, more responsibility that comes with, these global companies must operate and implement the water efforts globally. Because supply chain model, precisely how water is consumed in each stage can differ from country to country, another challenge for these companies will be how to scale the water effort to truly practice the solution.

Sud, thank you for bringing up this important issue of how Brexit puts UK’s NHS at risk for staffing and an access to pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. This made me think of the impact of unexpected risks in politics, as the effect on the supply chain goes beyond and it puts the whole country at risk for citizens to maintain healthy lives.

To your question about how the NHS could reorganize to survive under a “no deal” scenario if EU negotiations are unsuccessful, there are several action items the government and hospitals can play. They should increase the pay to professionals to retain them, provide better working benefits and environment for them, and start investing in in-country medical/nursing schools. This is hard to achieve without the authority of the government, thus it is critical that the government recognizes this risk that the NHS faces.

Also on how the private sector play in the future of the NHS, I think that private sector, especially the pharmaceuticals and medical suppliers in UK should take this opportunity to build closer relationships with the hospitals, work on efficiency, price, and quality to compete with those of European suppliers, and market them well to penetrate the market. This way, in a longer-term, UK’s NHS will be more sustainable and at less risk of politics due to the supply provided within the country. Another thought is that this is an opportunity to further invest in technology that can reduce human depend jobs. For example, analysis of data to forecast demand and supply in the pharmaceuticals and medical supplies can adopt the AI and Machine Learning technology, and this will help hospitals to operate with less emphasis on direct labor. Advanced technology will help supplement the lack of talents potentially risked by the failure of the negotiation. And the success depends on the speed of the private sectors to recognize the need and scale the practice.