Sam Mason

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Interesting write-up on UPS, Ravin! I like the additional questions you posed at the end. Isolationism is here to stay in my opinion. Unfortunately, we see these movements taking place all over the geo-political landscape as you noted in your essay. Also, I think it’s clear that isolationism will increase costs for consumers. Take UPS for example; they are responding to the threat of isolationism by acquiring dozens of small carrier companies. These carriers are operating as individual business units within specific foreign countries. UPS may be able to seek efficiencies across their system to some extent with tools such as ORION, but operating dozens of unique small businesses is much more costly than operating an integrated global company with economies of scale benefits. Consumers should expect UPS to pass these increased costs along, ultimately increasing the cost of shipping.

Fantastic essay Rhonda! I was shocked to learn that approximately 80% of the US economy is tied to the civilian aircraft sector in one way or another. Boeing is going to face significant challenges moving forward as they attempt to fend off the competition. Developing countries are a key target market for airline companies and Boeing likely needs to capture market share to grow; with a product lifetime of 20 years, jet replacement sales represent a stagnant market value in the US. Boeing needs new customers abroad, and manufacturing planes internationally is a good way to signal to foreign countries that Boeing is not looking for special treatment from the US government. Tripping up competitors who attempt to sell into the US market is a slippery slope. In my opinion, battling competition on trade restrictions is a short-term solution to a much longer-term growth problem that Boeing must tackle in the coming decades.

On November 26, 2017, Sam Mason commented on Ciao Metal Molly, I’ll Have Pizza al Taglio, Per Favore :

I enjoyed reading this essay Hannah. I was unaware of Prodal but very aware of pizza! Digitization makes a ton of sense for reducing labor costs and using robots to spread sauce; the video of the robots spreading sauce is awesome! Additionally, I typically associate ingredient tracking with healthy/organic food options. Ingredient tracking through digitization could help pizza companies like Prodal differentiate themselves as “healthy” (or as healthy as pizza can be) pizza offerings. If nothing else, it would be a cool marketing campaign to include the sources of all the ingredients inside the pizza box for the consumer to see before eating!

On November 26, 2017, Sam Mason commented on H&M Aims to be Climate Positive by 2040 :

Really well-written essay. I was also unaware that H&M had such a strong dedication to climate change initiatives. With regard to the “Looking Ahead” questions, I’m not convinced that H&M needs to sustain the low cost offerings to compete with Zara. As noted in the essay, consumers are increasingly seeking environmentally responsible businesses and will pay a premium price to transact with responsible companies. Perhaps over time, H&M will be able to justify a higher price point and drive higher margins due to their strategic focus on carbon emissions. Additionally, I agree with Lily that H&M’s sustainable business practices are directly influencing other retailers to follow suit as the competition tries to mimic the industry leader.

On November 26, 2017, Sam Mason commented on Diesel Gate: Is VW ready to take on yet another emission challenge? :

Great essay on VW and how they are thinking about the future of the automotive industry and the environment. Supplier relationships will be key as VW tries to recover from the emissions scandal that was uncovered in 2015. Consumers will have a shorter memory than the suppliers that were left holding the bag after demand for diesel cars plummeted. The F.A.S.T. program is a great way for VW to get their traditional suppliers back on the same page making decisions that collectively benefit both parties. This approach reminds me of how Dell partners with their suppliers (and customers) to reduce friction along the supply chain. Aside from the traditional suppliers, electric car production will require VW to build relationships with new suppliers, and F.A.S.T. could help VW earn trust among these unfamiliar parts suppliers as well.

Great essay Viroopa. I was completely unaware that Walmart is the world’s largest grocer. Based on the statistics that you have included in your essay, it seems Walmart would be wise to make reduction of food waste a priority. Digital methods increase the speed at which information is shared and cuts down the amount of time wasted along the grocery supply chain. Scan-based trading (SBT) seems to offer the best opportunity for a “just-in-time” grocery approach. However, I think the growers may resist such a transparent approach to their supply chain. Perhaps Walmart should frame SBT as a test with certain suppliers (similar to the way Barilla framed their new approach to managing their supply chain).