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On November 26, 2017, OpXYL commented on Wal-Mart’s Sourcing in the Age of ‘Unfair Trade Deals’ :

Thank you for an interesting read! As the top national retailer Walmart faces some major risks from Trump’s proposed views on international trade. To answer your question, I don’t think Walmart should publicly embrace “Made in USA”, nor try to steer clear of any public controversy. Walmart’s business model is to provide cheaper/affordable products to consumers. Just like most of the other retailers, by outsource production to emerging market, Walmart is enjoying the relatively low labor costs and facility costs to produce cheaper products. Even the labor costs and electricity costs in emerging market has been raising, the costs combined are still significantly lower, unless all the other competitors are all relocating production back to the US, Walmart should not take the indefinite initiatives. Furthermore, these additional costs will be pass down to consumers. In addition, I think Walmart should lobby to make the government set a fair standard on oversea investment and productions to every company to ensure the fairness of competition.

Thank you for such an interesting read! As more and more data become available and digitized, the barrier became less significant. Thus, I would imagine that this will be the future of training and impact outsourcing. To answer your questions, I think the industry will be highly competitive. I think there will be a lot of competitors come into the same market, and the future of Samasource will be highly depend on its ability to maximize its first mover’s advantage and ability to penetrate emerging market. As the development of artificial intelligence become more advanced, more and more low skill jobs will be replaced with AI, to keep up with these changes in market, I believe Samasource could include more high skill tasks on their business model to keep employing people in emerging markets. In the US, however, I do not believe Samasource would continue to grow much in the future, especially in the mid to high skill tasks market. Implementation of AI will face many hurdles given the presence of unions and government agencies. I would not expect huge decrease in worker demands, rather the biggest problem Samsource would face should be quality of their trainees. This “one to many” education/training model needs to be well balanced between quantity and quality.

Thank you for such an interesting read. It is very impressive to see Navy has taken actions toward the global warming (raising sea level) issue. To answer your questions, first, I do not think Navy should make a stand on a contentious issue. Secondly, I do not think that it is acceptable to include such expenses in the US Navy’s budget even it may seem like that these spending is directly related to the maintenance of Navy base facilities. I would also I would imagine other organizations, who have designated funding, and take on more hands on responsibilities on this issue. Giving the tight budget of the US military spending, it would be helpful to set separate funding and organizations to handle this global phenomenon. This climate change impacts almost everyone in the world, and it dose not seem reasonable to have these expenses in the top-line of the Navy budget. The Navy should separate these indirectly related expenses to show the public its budget allocation.

Very interesting essay! To answer your questions:
I do not think that industrial 3-D printing can be extended to all product lines with in the industry in the foreseeable future. I do believe some of the small and non-durable equipment can be printed, for example, plugs and drill bits. However, larger or durable equipment will be difficult. Especially when taking into consideration that most of the equipment producers/providers are not operators themselves.
Despite the oil price, most of the US companies have already invested significant amount of money and time in making significant changes in their current supply chain model since 2009. This industry move was initiated to accommodate the complicated planning for unconventional oil/gas operations to reduce operation time and costs. I would imagine with today’s low oil and gas price, companies would need to control costs even more to meet their targeted economic returns.
If equipment can be printed on site, the quality control of these equipment have to be done through third party (most API equivalent agency) to ensure product quality and operation safety before they are used downhole. Keep in mind that equipment manufacturing companies have to all meet standards that set by the industry regulatory agencies. Adding product lines with change in production sites will impose additional complications on the approval process. Thus, it might inccur even large expenses and more scheduling issues for oil and gas operation.

Great essay! To your question of how can an EV company with the mindset of rewriting rules of luxury supercars manufacture the cars for everyone at scale and cost? Back to Nio’s case – it is more like a R&D center than a car manufacturing company today. Its EVE model is combining autonomous vehicle, electrical vehicle and luxury supercar into one concept. Despite the large hurdles on the R&D side, even assuming EVE model is ready for production, I still do not see how Nio could manage to integrate it with manufacturing to scale. I have been to Nio car show in Shanghai this year, and this EVE concept car will be priced on par with other non EV supercars, which I viewed as a very similar strategy as Tesla – using the high pricing to control demand. If Nio plan to target only the supercar/luxury EV car market, then it might be successful. However, to become a lifestyle car that servicing the greater China, where purchasing power is highly limited in most cities. I am skeptical about Nio’s ability to scale up and meet market demand. Furthermore, if Nio is viewed as a company only servicing the wealthy, will the government still extend its support?

On November 18, 2017, OpXYL commented on Gap: Making Supply Chain Fashionable :

What a great read! To answer the question I think with right execution fast fashion will not only improve performance of the fashionable but lower price and quality customer segment, but also can succeed in the accessible luxury market. The year-over-year sales declines that Banana Republic and Gap experienced maybe due to poor market positioning. For accessible luxury market, customers would like to have large variety of products available and would need to have a faster fashion turnover. Thus, Gap has to be able to speed up design to market time to meet the customers’s needs. The consumer market in Asia is around 15 times larger than the US, despite the high restructuring costs, Gap should continue to invest in international markets. Refer back to my last point, design to market time is critical. Another factor to keep in mind is that the Asian consumers are more sensitive to pricing due to lower average household income. Therefore, merchandise selections may vary.