Nick Simmons

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

Justin – thanks so much for sharing the challenges facing Coca Cola! I found your assessment of their efforts to reduce water usage to be fascinating and compelling. I never fully appreciated how much of a role water plays in their 500+ brands. I also appreciate how you established the link between water-supplies and Coca-Cola’s bottom-line. You convinced me that the firm is taking this problem seriously because their incentives are truly aligned with what is best for society.

It was also great to read about Coca Cola’s efforts to reduce water usage in their manufacturing processes. I wonder how they were able to do this without also reducing the quality taste of their products. I was also shocked to hear that Coca-Cola was able to successfully replenish 100% of the water it uses. I did my TOM Challenge on PepsiCo’s challenges with global warming, and they seemed to be far behind Coca Cola on these efforts. I wonder also if de-salinization plants could play a significant role here in leveraging the abundance of sea-water throughout the world. Thanks again for sharing!

On December 1, 2017, Nick Simmons commented on Solar Wars: the Battle for the US Solar Industry :

Kyle – thanks so much for sharing this interesting piece! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and learning more about the potential trade wars coming in the solar manufacturing industry. I appreciated the way you succinctly presented the context of the industry and of course your title.

I appreciate also your assessment of restrictions on imports from abroad, and the implications this would have on the market at large.

I would have loved to hear a bit about why exactly Taiwan and China are able to so decisively out-produce the U.S. on solar cells. I’d imagine it has a great deal to do with labor costs and availability of raw materials, but this would have helped me to better assess the options for U.S. policymakers, and to be able to answer the questions of whether US solar manufacturers can ever compete against low-cost Asian competitors.

Ultimately though you are right, solar energy could be the cornerstone of the 21st century economy, and it appears we are only in “Episode 1” of the Solar Wars, with much more of the story to be played out. I look forward to staying tuned!

Paul – very interesting and thanks for sharing! I had no idea about this problem facing the Australian Government, and I really appreciated your analysis. It is fascinating to hear that the Australian Government could realize 40% savings by outsourcing construction of their vessels. I think you did a great job too of presenting the tradeoffs for the Australian Government between producing this vessels at home versus outsourcing. The economy of Australia and local jobs would see a boon, but at a strong cost to the taxpayers.

I also think it was great that you refused to accept this false dichotomy – instead of accepting such expensive costs at home the Australian Government could reduce shipbuilding costs by: leveraging predictable demand, avoiding short-term over-expansion, and explore labor reform in the shipbuilding industry.

Putting my Kennedy School hat on, I wonder then if you think the isolationist movement in Australia might actually have beneficial results for the economy? It seems this political pressure is forcing the government to not only invest more in the local economy, but also look critically at their shipbuilding policies and how they can improve.

Troy – thanks for sharing this assessment of GM, I found it really interesting. I particularly appreciated you putting these challenges in historical context (which may be no surprise, as my comments in class too often try to do the same…). I also found it helpful that you challenge status-quo thinking or complacency in planning. While the complete de-stabilization of trade markets may appear to be low-probability, it has happened before, and CEO’s need to prepare their companies in case it happens again.

I found your analysis of GM’s actions so far to also be enlightening and helpful. Seeking to inform policymakers of the implications of their actions is critically important, and it seems like Bara is already taking action there. I also appreciate you grappling with the tradeoffs between longer lead times and holding larger inventories to compensate for over-exposure to global disruption. But do you think GM’s business model can persevere with such costly changes to their structure? Would they not be put out of business by Japanese companies who may be less susceptible to shocks from isolationism?

On December 1, 2017, Nick Simmons commented on The impact of Brexit on pan-European champions: the example of Airbus. :

Maud – very interesting read! Thanks for sharing. I really appreciated your assessment of how the U.K.’s pullout of the E.U. endangers Airbus’ position in the single market. I can see how Airbus could be in trouble, considering it’s two large industrial sites in the U.K. You helped me to understand how a move like exiting the E.U. presents massive challenged to complex global supply chains like Airbus’. I also thought your exhibits and figures helped highlight the points.

I agree with your assessment that Airbus needs to maintain a fluid and integrated supply chain as further delays to delivery would have great harm on their business and reputation. I would love to hear though how you think they should move forward with their U.K. facilities? Should they move them out of the U.K. entirely? Do you recommend a preemptive move before the U.K. and E.U. finalize their trade agreements, or wait and see?

Vijay – great analysis! I had never considered the threat that healthcare companies like CVS Health could face from competitors who are better equipped to handle a more digitized supply-chain. Your assessment very much brought these threats to life, and I feel like I have a better sense of the risks. In particular I liked how you referenced specific healthcare services that firms like Amazon are better able to capitalize on. Telemedicine, remote monitoring devices and digital diagnostics just to name a few. It was shocking to me to hear that only 1% of annual revenue earned by the retail pharmacy industry is from online activity.

I appreciate also the logic behind recommending CVS acquire Aetna to defend against Amazon’s encroachment. Since you have written this assessment, it looks like the CVS purchase of Aetna has proceeded even further. I wonder if you think companies like CVS, United, and Anthem will be allowed to continue to vertically integrate without interference from the FTC? At what point in the Healthcare/Pharmaceutical industry do companies begin tipping over into monopoly territory?