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It is very interesting to read a perspective on the effects of Brexit on manufacturing companies as a comparison to US isolationism. While most US companies are retracting their manufacturing operations back domestically, it appears that JLR is pursuing the alternate approach by building plants in emerging markets. Granted the policy changes associated with Brexit are slightly different than the new US policies, I would still have expected JLR to bring some manufacturing back to GB as a protection. However, I think it is a very smart play to place a location in Brussels to be closer to the EU and leverage their proximity to lobby for policies that benefit the company.

I think that JLR faces a unique challenge in that it now faces regulations on both ends of the supply chain. Brexit has potentially dangerous implications to sourcing costs and talent retention. In addition, on the other end, US isolationism hinders exports and threatens future sales. While JLR is focusing on expanding its manufacturing footprint, they should also look to new markets to sell cars in order to protect against potentially reduced opportunity in the US.

This was a very well-written and insightful article!!

It is interesting to see how the trend of international supply chain retraction is affecting many industries. For its newest aircraft the 777X, The Boeing Company has invested heavily to bring manufacturing of major components back to the United States from traditionally overseas locations. This is influenced by recent trade policies, but is also accompanied by the allure of a similar supply chain, and the increasing cost of labor overseas (as you mentioned). Though Trump will likely take credit for these moves back to the United States, I think it is important to highlight the multitude of factors that have caused companies to make such shifts over the years.

Finally, to your point on isolationism and job growth, I do think that it is misinformed to believe that short term increases in jobs will be sustained. As we are already beginning to observe, automation is quickly replacing human workers in manufacturing across industries. Though jobs will increase now, over time they will decrease as more cost effective technology replaces the workforce.

On December 1, 2017, nm314 commented on Nike: Leading the Path to Fighting Climate Change :

It was encouraging to see that Nike has placed a renewed focus on long term sustainability efforts in the wake of climate change. I like that they are using a diverse set of actions to combat the problem at hand – from new technology to waste reduction and product changes. I think this shows that they are committed to fundamentally changing their culture in response to global warming. Given that they have found suitable fabric alternatives to traditional cotton, I think it will definitely benefit and differentiate them in the market morning forward to switch to these materials. They can leverage their scale and industry influence to change competitor and supplier behavior as well.

However I am a bit skeptical of Nike’s ability to execute all of its plans. For instance, goals such as “100% renewable energy in owned or operated facilities by the end of FY25” seem quite lofty to achieve in addition to other ongoing short term objectives. I think it is good to have goals to aspire too, but I challenge the feasibility. Also I think that this example illustrates how important it is to stress sustainability from day one as a company. For instance, as we learned in Marketing, Starbucks always emphasized sustainability throughout its supply chain. Had Nike taken this stance they wouldn’t have to police its suppliers in the same way they are being force to do so now.

On December 1, 2017, nm314 commented on Kisses Good-bye….Chocolate shortage by 2030? :

Such a sad post I don’t know what I would do without Reese’s cups!!

This was a great post because it reminds us how climate change really starts to affect all aspects of our lives – even the small things we would never think about, like chocolate! I am glad that the company had enough awareness and data on the situation to be able to properly prepare in advance and start the 21st Century Cocoa Sustainability Strategy now.

I wondered if Hershey might think of other actions it could take to gain cocoa supply other than just supplying West Africa with more trees. For instance, could Hershey source it’s cocoa beans from other regions of the world? It might think about buying producers in regions less affected by the climate changes to offset the reduced yield in Africa. Alternatively Hershey could start its own cocoa farms in areas that are conducive to growing the crop. A third, more drastic option, might even be to explore high tech farming alternatives to help grow cocoa outside of West Africa.

Also, a question I had was whether the new tree was genetically modified to be drought resistant. If so I might worry about the PR effects on the company, especially with today’s society’s obsession with “all natural” and “organic” foods. The company might have to weigh the decision if this is indeed the case.

This was a really interesting read – great to see a social application of digitalization! I’ve never thought about the potential impacts of technology in the public sector, but it is nice to see that LA is focusing efforts on bettering the community. I would be curious how the city plans to record and maintain the data for the application of GeoHub to the homeless population. I think it is a fantastic application for traffic where the data seems more easily available (and having sat through many hours of deadlock in the city I appreciated this effort!), but I would think it becomes more difficult to apply that system to the homeless.

I would expect there to be an even increased push for digitalization in LA over the coming years given the recent announcement that the city was selected to host the Olympic games. Such a high profile event will undoubtedly be a catalyst for innovation in the city and it will be exciting to see where else they can apply new technologies.

On December 1, 2017, nm314 commented on Airbus: Digitization on the fly :

I agree with you that the technology is not enough on its own to fix the problems facing the Airbus supply chain. As observed at Boeing when it tried to make drastic changes to manufacturing of the 787 aircraft – introducing design or processes shifts can create significant unforeseen challenges, no matter how beneficial they are in theory. A full scale transformation will require coordination of both new technologies and human capital, in addition to monitoring quality standards.

I agree with the comment above that focus on technological advancement will be paramount to the future of aerospace companies. Not only will digitalization help reduce long term costs, it will also help maintain competitive advantage in the market. There will always be pressures to improve short term financial performance, but I believe that forgetting to slowly work towards the long term goal of digitalization would be a mistake for Airbus.

Will be interesting to see how this plays out. I thought it was very interesting to compare the ways that Airbus and Boeing are each working to inject digitalization into their supply chains.