Sarah Kalmbach

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On December 1, 2017, Sarah Kalmbach commented on The post-Brexit hangover: One big headache for Diageo :

Melissa, I appreciate your essay as it enlightened me on some of the implications of Brexit that I had not considered. Specifically, I had not thought of the costs of changing drink labeling and delays crossing borders. I did not realize how much cross border activity Diageo even has with Ireland. One thing that surprised me was management’s response. It seems like most of their response centers around research within different departments. I agree with you that they require a more global sourcing strategy to deal with the implication of Brexit.

Adding to Jen’s comment, there is quite a bit of risk in both investing in manufacturing technology and also not investing in technology. In the scenario that the tax is implemented, Target, if they are going to have any chance at combating price increases, must invest in technology NOW due to the length of time it would require to get technologies online. However, the investment would be irrelevant (and quite a waste of capital) if lobbying is successful and the tax is not implemented. To Jen’s point, if Target waits to invest, they may be too late – consumers may not abide higher prices. On the optimistic side, if Target’s competitors are all equally affected and prices rise across the board, consumers may have to abide higher prices to a certain extent (even though demand must inevitably go down due to higher prices).

I would agree with you, Joey, that China will be hard-pressed to meet their rising demand for alfalfa in the coming years. In the short-term, the only consequence may be higher milk prices due to the shortage of milk which would level out some of the disparity between supply and demand. However, the long-term affects would be more significant. As we know, changes in climate will have dramatic affects on all agriculture products, not just alfalfa. This is part of that much bigger problem connected to feeding the growing population in the midst of changing climate. I would also agree with dcook8872 above, who noted that artificial dairy production may not be initially culturally accepted.

On November 30, 2017, Sarah Kalmbach commented on Sephora: Combining Beauty and Sustainability :

One third of all landfill waste?! – I never would have guessed that high. It definitely signifies the need for many of these sustainability practices.

However, Sephora does have a fine line to walk here, especially if they were to consider penalizing top brands that do not abide by their sustainability standards. Because of Sephora’s size, they do have power and leverage in the industry. But (although I’ve never been in this space), I would imagine that there are beauty brands that Sephora carries that hold the power in the relationship. Sephora needs to make sure that they know their consumer very well and don’t alienate consumers. Yes, consumers are trending towards desiring more sustainable products, but their purchasing decisions don’t always reflect that.

On November 30, 2017, Sarah Kalmbach commented on Blood Donations in a Digital Age :

Thank you, Pratik, I enjoyed reading your essay. One question that it brought to my mind was just how much blood is the Red Cross wasting? Yes, there can be a mis-matching of blood needs and current donations and whole blood can only be stored for 42 days. However, plasma (which makes up 55% of the blood) can be taken out of the blood and kept for a year. My understanding is that only 45% of whole blood expires after 42 days. It would be interesting to have numbers on how much blood can’t be matched to a patient need within the 42 days to get a better picture of just how much the Red Cross needs to “up their game” in their supply chain.

I don’t disagree that the Red Cross needs to make digital improvements to provide more visibility and transparency, and I enjoyed learning about the ways that they are responding to these challenges.

On November 29, 2017, Sarah Kalmbach commented on Will Artificial Intelligence push CN off the rails? :

I enjoyed reading your essay, Olivia, and found the topic interesting. One question that stands out in my mind is: why can’t Canadian National also develop AI to produce “driverless trains,” just like driverless trucks. For the agriculture industry, innovative companies are developing driverless tractors that can plant and harvest fields based on set parameters. (This is an interesting video on driverless tractors: It would seem that trains would be able to be programmed through parameter inputs similar to driverless tractors and trucks. By developing driverless trains, CN could be able to realize some of the same improvements in safety and efficiency. I did not see any information mentioned in your essay regarding why CN has not pursued this option. Are there barriers that would prevent driverless trains from being developed?

CN has been very innovative in their short-term strategic response with the develop of train defect detection equipment and “Readibands.” It would seem that these innovations could be utilized in many industries. If CN was able to patent the technology, they might also be able to monetize the innovation through sales of the technology for many different applications.