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On December 1, 2017, Monica commented on The impact of Brexit on Kerry Group :

Fantastic article! Wow, what a rough outcome for Ireland and the Kerry Group in particular. The Brexit impact on exchange rates, labour costs, and tariffs bring a host of expenses for Kerry Group. If in response to these new regulations, the Kerry Group does move manufacturing to the UK or Europe, then Ireland loses a huge source of jobs and exports.

From a supply chain perspective, I think it makes sense for Kerry to change the “UK landbridge” strategy. Docking at the UK before going into Europe sounds like it will be prohibitively expensive. Since the UK is 30% of their exports, Kerry should definitely evaluate the option of manufacturing in the UK to support the local customers there.

For Kerry’s European customers, I would evaluate the costs of shipping straight to Europe before moving all my manufacturing to Europe. With perishable dairy products, a short shelf life means on time delivery is of the utmost importance and delays are destructive. This makes shipping straight to Europe challenging. However, I wonder if there is some investment in technology and transportation that can allow Kerry to ship reliably over land and sea with high quality. Are there more effective refridgerated contrainers that they can invest in? Are there quicker modes of transportation that they can take advantage of? Are logistics companies opening up new routes from Ireland to mainland Europe as a result of Brexit? Hopefully the Kerry dairy empire is big enough that logistics and transportation companies will cater to their new supply chain needs!

Great article! Before reading, I did not realize how big a percentage of medications taken in the US are produced in Puerto Rico and hadn’t before considered the need for geographical diversification of pharmaceutical companies.Your recommendation that the FDA require geographical diversification to mitigate climate change risks and heavy inventory to protect against supply chain shortages are both sound solutions. However, the challenging part is that these solutions are expensive and I wonder who would bear the cost. Would the FDA bear the burden and provide financial rewards to the pharma companies that enacted these solutions? Or would it be the pharma companies footing the bill? If the pharma companies must bear the costs of new construction and carry more inventory, then my worry is that they will pass these costs down to the consumer contributing to the sadly, ever rising costs of healthcare.

On December 1, 2017, Monica commented on Apple Inc. – Powered by 100% Renewable Energy :

Great article! This was such a heartening read. Apple’s commitment to 100% renewable energy powered production is as admirable as it is ambitious. Hopefully it will continue to set the industry standard and more companies join suit. To that end, I would like to see Apple use more of a “carrot” than a “stick” approach to getting its suppliers on board.

Financial support, as you mentioned, would certainly go a long way toward helping suppliers take advantage of solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources. Apple can offer investment funds to its suppliers for energy efficient projects such as the installation of solar panels and wind turbines.

Operational support will be required. As the suppliers make the switch to renewables, Apple must operate a flexible and responsive supply chain. Planning and process changes should be expected. Even those that are painful in the short run will likely be worth it for the long term gains from sustainability.

Technological support could also be useful. Apple can offer its suppliers data and analytics to show historical performance metrics, current snapshots of energy use, and future opportunities to improve cost savings and efficiency gains through clean energy.

On December 1, 2017, Monica commented on Boeing Navigates Nationalist Winds :

Awesome article!

From an economic perspective, it makes sense to me to expand the F/A-18 program internationally. As demand dries up in the U.S. Boeing must turn to other countries to find customers. Although the program is an older one, with the first McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet created back in the 1970s, the fighter has been enhanced throughout its lifetime and brandishes the latest and greatest technology. Its leading edge technology is desired by many countries, making it a reliable revenue stream for Boeing.

From a political perspective, I am more concerned with selling F/A-18s to other countries. Obviously, the U.S. would rather provide attack fighters to allies than enemies, but history has taught us that allies and enemies do not stay constant for long. Allies can become enemies and enemies can become allies.

Political concerns worsen when we consider that Boeing will move the production to India as well. This means India will have access to Boeing’s IP and may be able to replicate the technology in the future. At this point, Boeing could lose its competitive advantage and India may want to produce fighters on their own. As a result, when choosing countries in which to produce the F/A-18, Boeing should prefer not only countries which will be long-term allies but also countries that will not be able to replicate Boeing’s technology in the future.

On November 29, 2017, Monica commented on The Internet of Things and Maersk’s Gains from Digitization :

Fantastic article!

It sounds like Maersk has discovered an extremely valuable use of IoT in its smart containers.

Enabling Maersk to track the relevant vitals that you mentioned–internal temperatures, location tracking, and power supply–seems like a huge value add for the shipping conglomerate in terms of improved operations and reduced waste.

Enabling Maersk’s clients to also have a view into these same vitals seems turns the smart containers into not only a operational advantage but also a great revenue opportunity.

As Maersk, I would certainly offer this service for an additional fee to my clients. No doubt the clients would be willing to pay for increased transparency into the shelf life and locations of their goods. And Maersk could use this as a chance to show customers how they are helping reduce waste and increase cost savings. As for your question whether Maersk should license the technology to competitors, I wouldn’t. Maersk should keep this technology as a point of difference and a reason to come to Maersk and not some other competitor. In what I imagine is a fiercely competitive market with a few big players, Maersk would not want to help out its competitors in any way and would benefit more from keeping the cost savings and revenue gains to itself and its customers. I would also guess that once the competitors saw Maersk’s shiny new technology, they started working on smart containers themselves if they hadn’t started already.

On November 29, 2017, Monica commented on Dashing into a digital future with the Amazon Dash :

Super intriguing!

When Amazon dash came out, I must admit I thought it was silly and I dismissed the idea. Part of the value proposition for the customer of Amazon’s online marketplace is order customization. Customers can compare prices of product substitutes, add multiple products to their cart, and then adjust product quantity and delivery preferences. The Amazon dash reduces the user’s options to one product, one price, one price, and one quantity. The Amazon dash also seemed to me to be bad for Amazon. As you said, Amazon wins on the scale of its supply chain. Online Amazon won’t ship some items alone because they are too small to justify the delivery cost, so it forces an order minimum. Yet, the Amazon dash encourages a lot more small orders instead of more big orders. Lastly, the button just looks cheesy. Who needs this tiny, branded, easy to lose device when people are more than happy to order on their mobile phones?

Your article convinced me of some of the merits of the Amazon dash, especially if they move to the digital Dash app and the Dash wand that can scan barcodes, because now I see how the Amazon dash can encourage more frequent purchases and eventually unlock more predictive ordering capabilities.

To your question about partnerships, I believe Amazon has to offer the customer the choice between small, large, and private label brands. Their customers value brand choices and the expectation of choice has already been set with Amazon’s online marketplace. Competition between brands is good for Amazon because it gives them leverage when negotiating their margins.

To your final question regarding predictive ordering with customer data, generally online customers have become more comfortable with the idea that Amazon knows their ordering history and what items have browsed through but not purchased. It is OK if it recommends these products to the customer, but it would be nice to offer the customer the opportunity to clear order and search history. What I would be less comfortable with is if Amazon brought in recommended purchases of products that I viewed on non-Amazon websites, meaning Amazon is tracking my online activity across non-Amazon websites. Finally, auto-purchases should always require consent, even if it is just a small online checkbox that ensures the user is ok with auto-purchases at some pre-determined interval.