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On December 1, 2017, MWS commented on Nissan at the Brexit Poker Table :

This article makes the very interesting point that the effects of Brexit will be felt not only in the UK and EU, but across the world. In fact, any country that receives imports from a UK-based company may see prices of their products rise. As the article points out, when Brexit comes into effect, the Sunderland plant will no longer be able to source materials for their production lines tarrif-free from other European countries. This will drive up costs that Nissan will ultimately have to pass along to the consumer. Nissan could reinvent its entire supply chain. But short of that, if they want to keep their current set of European suppliers, they should consider investing in a new manufacturing plant within the EU that can benefit from free cross-border trade.

On December 1, 2017, MWS commented on Can Protectionism Save Auto Jobs in the US? :

I think it’s appropriate for countries to establish a modest border tax when importing goods from other countries to protect their own workers’ rights and their own production. However, the tax has to be modest, say 5-10%. If you prevent all jobs from moving to areas of the world where labor is cheaper by creating very high import taxes, then costs for all products will rise dramatically and the end-consumer is ultimately punished. I think there should be more discussion and debate on what an appropriate ceiling is for import taxes. Once that number is established, companies can easily decide whether it is in their and consumers’ economic interests to keep jobs and factories in the US or to move them abroad where labor is cheaper. This article does a good job outlining the benefits of moving a factory overseas and clearly questions President Trump’s effectiveness of keeping jobs in the US. I think it’s interesting that Ford chose to keep the more highly-skilled jobs in the US.

I think this is a really important point to make. Climate change is a reality and is something that humanity will have to face, adapt to, and hopefully solve in the coming decades. Doing so will require broad participation and collaboration across the private sector, governments, NGOs, etc. Unfortunately, many conservatives and Republicans in the US are not on board with the idea of tackling climate change. They do, however, have great respect for the Dept of Defense and the US Military. Speaking their language and having the message of tackling climate change come from a party they respect will hopefully convince many conservative lawmakers in Washington.

On November 30, 2017, MWS commented on Tesla Shoots Itself in Its Blue Suede Shoes :

Super interesting. I didn’t realize that Tesla had committed to mining cobalt exclusively from North America (despite writing my TOM paper about Tesla and their Li-ion batteries :D). It seems they will definitely have a challenge getting enough material for the skyrocketing demand of both their Model 3 cars and Powerwall battery systems. I think your suggestions to invest in cobalt exploration companies and cobalt recycling will be important components of Tesla’s strategy moving forward.

Interesting insight that Hyundai is at risk of having its suppliers increase prices due to changing legislation. Helping its suppliers become less carbon intensive is a good move to keep costs low. It’s interesting, as you point out, that Hyundai is not helping itself and suppliers adapt to changing weather patters. Surely, climate change will have a direct effect on their operations; mitigating this effect is also important to keeping costs down. Nice job!

This is a really interesting example of the power of digital tools. I found it very interesting that JD was able to determine that 10% of users will end up purchasing the product 2.7 days after first clicking on a product. JD is then able to pre-order products that users have clicked on and reduce delivery time. This insight is only possible by having digital tools. I also found that use of robots in their warehouses interesting. If programmed properly, robotic warehouse management can be quicker and more accurate than a human-managed warehouse.

On November 30, 2017, MWS commented on Digitization of Walmart :

I think there is a lot of potential for Wal-mart to become even more efficient, to be a better partner to suppliers, and to provide an even better customer experience, through digitization. Ideas such as providing customers with digital shopping carts and making suggestions for other products the customer might want increases sales for Wal-mart and can also provide a useful service to customers. Expanding to e-commerce can allow customers to buy product from the comfort of their own home. And digitizing inventory data can be useful so that orders are automatically re-filled when quantities run low.

On November 30, 2017, MWS commented on Big Missiles + Big Data = Small(er) Price Tags? :

Raytheon has huge costs associated with its supply chain, so identifying ways to reduce costs is critical. Given the US’ massive military spending, I was thinking that companies like Raytheon wouldn’t be too concerned with their costs. But I suppose there are several other customers around the world that are more price sensitive. I think your suggestions to reduce supply chain costs are good — particularly around developing communication & prototyping tools and then packaging them together for suppliers to use. By getting suppliers on your same system, you can realize efficiencies and make sharing information that much easier.