This is a very interesting essay, focusing on new business model in the deigitalized printing supply chain.
In Japan, SMEs are not only major customers of Raksul, but also printing companies for which Raksul acts as an agent. Therefore, Raksul is connecting fragmented small suppliers with fragmented small customers at B to B level.
This business model is inspiring if we think how we can extend the similar model to outside printing industry in Japan. For example, furnitures might be a potential area to extend this business model.
On the other hand, I wonder if this kind of new business model is preventing the old SMEs to merge and seek more efficiencies with scale of economies. It would be interesting if we can compare impact of improvement in economic effiency between two different scenarios, A) small SMEs connected by Raksul; or B) merger of small SMEs. This kind of study might help to shape government policies and incentives.
This interesting story reminded me about how Japanese car makers shifted to global production from domestic production after international trade wars. If Boeing wants to keep its leading position against looming new competitors, it should think beyond seeking US government support and driving tariff wars. If Boeing diversifies its production location globally, it can expand customers from its new regional supply network, and also reduce political risk of sudden tariff surge from bilateral foreign trade wars. On the other hand, loss of domestic job would be the biggest political obstacle under the current US government.
I found REI’s sustainable business very interesting, but I noticed that its COOP structure underpins its susteinability-centered business model. In order to expand their sustainable practice to normal profit-oriented companies, REI has more roles to play.
For example, REI can provide sustainablity consultanting service to other manufacturers, transferring its knowhow and setting industrial standard by expanding their sustainability practices.
REI can also work closely with government and regulators, and give guidance to industrial sustainablity policies by demonstrating its practices and possibly working on pilot projects with other manufacrures in order to stirke best balance between profitability and sustainability with the currently available technologies.
I found this report very interesting in the context of urban population explosion and sustainability issue in the developing countries.
However, profitability and scalability of hydroponic farming is the biggest challenge. I propose to add more premium to hydroponic farming products by combining it with other services for urban population in advanced countries. For example, paid service for urban family to participate in urban hydroponic farming in their local community and also cooking classes might be a premium experience for them. Urban rich family might also be interested in financially supporting hydroponic farming in developing countries by allocating a part of their participation fees to these countries, where water resources are scarce and fresh vegetables are mostly imported rather that transported from rural farms due to lack of efficient transportation and infrastructure.
I enjoyed learning about how Lego is responding to protectionism in China and US. I was surprised to learn that LEGO did not produce their products in China until recently in order to maintain quality of the products. I propose to Lego to take more risk in expanding their production locations for two reasons. First, if they want to insulate themselves from protectionism, the best strategy would be to produce everywhere around the world and supply locally. Second, production of Lego is not as complicated as automobiles or electronic products. They should learn to transfer their production system from their existing factories to the new markets. If they target new markets with huge population growth, such as Indonesia, India, Phillipines, and Nigeria, their future of business will be promising.