Ninad Kulkarni

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Excellent post with some remarkable insights. I had no idea rising temperatures had such a direct effect on airline operations!

While I do agree that South West’s current approach to climate change events has been reactive, I wonder if they are the ones to blame for it. By all accounts, the severity of these events has caught everyone by surprise. I agree that better ways to predict these events would help, but I am unsure whether SW has the bandwidth or the know-how to invest in them. For now, they might be better served with a more robust yet reactive approach. This could be through investing in buffers like you suggest and creating a dedicated team which can respond to such events on a consistent basis. Even if you can’t predict where the next hurricane will occur you could create a centralized knowledge base and plan of action for how SW responds in these situations.

You also raise an interesting point regarding rescheduling flights (better from a climate change and utilization perspective) vs flying with a reduced load (fulfilling customer promise). While it is difficult to select a right answer without detailed analysis, my gut reaction would be to go with the latter. Rescheduling flights consistently is likely drive to away customers to rival airlines which could create more problems than it solves.

On November 27, 2017, Ninad Kulkarni commented on Profits Starting To Wind Down: A Setback for Wind Turbines? :

Great article highlighting the double edged sword that is renewable energy price improvement. While I completely echo the points Kieron makes, a question I have is if one particular source of renewable energy is more likely to succeed in the long term. Till date, wind has held a slight edge over solar due to lower costs and more reliable supply (sunlight is only available for about 30-40% of the day and battery technology has only recently improved). This is likely to change in the future as prices of solar panels and batteries continue to drop, while wind may have reached a plateau.

Solar is also just as adaptable to dense urban landscapes as it is to large solar farms in rural regions. Unsurprisingly, rooftop solar has been one of the most rapidly growing market segments in the energy industry of the last few years. The potential of offshore wind farms is quite interesting and could be a avenue for Vestas to explore.

I believe renewable energy providers will have to be clearer about their distinctive value proposition as we move into a (promising) era where renewable energy sources are no longer PR stunts and experiments, but compete with conventional fossil fuels at a market level.

On November 27, 2017, Ninad Kulkarni commented on Outsourcery: Will Infosys lose its magic? :

Great essay highlighting the impact isolationist trade policies are having on an industry that has arguably driven India’s GDP growth over the last decade. I firmly believe that Infosys has no one to blame but themselves for the mess they find themselves in. As Sikka points out, for too long the company has stagnated as salary arbitrage allowed it to build a profitable business without investing in core product development, long term strategy or R&D. I am also unsure as to how ‘near-shore’ centers can allow IT companies to get around the local hiring requirements the new administration has imposed. While the move towards digitization, AI and cloud is welcome I am afraid it comes too late. In this new market paradigm, Infosys will have to do what Microsoft does better than Microsoft. I am not sure they can.

On November 27, 2017, Ninad Kulkarni commented on Inditex/Zara: Fast is the new slow :

Excellent analysis and insights. While I do think that e-commerce and online is a critical avenue for retailers, I do not think Inditex needs to overhaul its supply chain to compete with the Missguideds of the world. Zara for example has built a strong brand for itself, which attracts customers for the quality of its collections as much as its fast fashion. It also provides a great store experience. And while it is certainly at a lower price point than luxury brands, I am not sure Zara’s customers would shop for clothes every week purely because the collection is being refreshed.

The other important consideration is price. I would assume the faster your fashion, the lower your unit selling prices. Zara has currently created a niche for itself (along with H&M) where it provides quality apparel for reasonable prices. Lowering these prices to compete with ultra-fast fashion labels could send negative signals regarding quality.

On November 27, 2017, Ninad Kulkarni commented on Shooting Oneself in the Foot(ball) :

While I agree that Brexit has had (and will continue to have) major implications for global businesses operating in the UK, I would challenge the notion that it will require the EPL to dramatically change course. Over the last 5 years, PL clubs have already altered their transfer strategy (or supply chain within the context of this discussion) to respond to certain regulatory changes within the game. Brexit is likely to only require incremental change rather than dramatic overhaul. I have listed some of these changes below.

1) Homegrown players rule: The FA, concerned by the England national team’s consistently subpar international performances, instituted a homegrown players quota for all PL teams. This meant that all squads had to have at least 8 (out of 25) squad spots for players who were on an English team for at least three years before the age of twenty-one. While these players could be foreigners who moved to England at a a young age (Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea FC is a good example), it was designed to provide more exposure to young English players. Greg Dyke, FA chairman had already indicated (pre-Brexit) he would like to further tighten this rule to restrict the influx of foreign players. It remains to be seen if this will have the desired impact on the England national team’s performances in major tournaments. Brexit shouldn’t change this significantly.

2) Financial fair play: A few years ago, UEFA tried to restrict flagrant overspending by clubs in Europe’s top leagues by instituting Financial Fair Play restrictions. While some clubs seem to blatantly disregard the rules, others (like Manchester City) have started buying satellite clubs in international markets to source talent. However, rather than using these clubs to source local talent, clubs tend to used them to hoard ‘excess player inventory’ through player loans which they can later tap into at below market rates. Using the foreign clubs to source local talent is still likely to run into labour restrictions when the Australian or American players want to play in Europe.

To conclude, while I agree the EPL would benefit from a single EU market, Premier League clubs have proven themselves to be shrewd operators in a changing financial and political landscape.

On November 27, 2017, Ninad Kulkarni commented on Will we be able to Amazon prime prescription drugs soon? :

I do see the value Amazon could bring to a what is a pretty inefficient sector. Amazon’s entry into the supply chain could lead to a reduction in prices by eliminating middlemen and reducing lead times through better database and process management. There is a clear value proposition for PBMs and manufacturers through better access to customer data and trends, while customers would value better customer service.

I do have concerns about Amazon’s increasing influence in almost every major customer segment I can think of. Entry into healthcare also provides the company with access to sensitive patient data which it could use to potentially cross-sell other products. While technically legal, I am worried about the width of information the company is starting to hold on its consumers. And while it has successfully disrupted many of the sectors it has entered so far, I wonder if entering the complicated US healthcare market would be a step too far.