Very well written – thank you for your thoughts. This may be stating the obvious but after reading this my questions is why are they not exploring sourcing more of their components from outside of continental Europe (i.e. emerging markets)? Are there supply or geographical / delivery / cost constraints due to which they are not doing so?
I agree with you that scenario planning and preparing for the worst in this case should not even be a question for an organization like GM. Banks have faced a similar conundrum with Brexit and moving their HQs to other European financial hubs despite knowing what the transition period will look like. I think though even beyond scenario planning, it may be prudent to start testing suppliers and alternatives may be on a smaller scale.
Great article. I think you hit the nail on the head with you second question about whether this can be competitive with other agricultural players that benefit from scale. I’m not thinking about it so much from the perspective of passing higher operations cost to consumers (the idea of a visible / healthier food supply chain is a very attractive one to environment and health conscious consumers) but more from Plenty’s ability to scale their operations and meet demand.
One question I have after reading this is: to what extent should Adidas be identified as fast-fashion and be compared to the likes of H&M given the difference in price point and customer promise of quality? Said a different way, when I invest in a good quality pair of shoes from Adidas I expect them to last at least a year. I wonder if that plays a factor in the frequency with which this product is bought and therefore the value of becoming the fast sports company, especially at the risk of entrepreneurial competition you described.
I agree with you that supply chain management methods such as predictive analytics and drop shipping help Nordstrom avoid bearing the risk of holding excessive amount of inventory. I think you’re also completely on point to highlight that the complexity of supply chain management that is introduced with the e-commerce model isn’t going to be solved through just these measures since I think the changes are pushing the burden on to the manufacturer as opposed to eliminating them. In other words, Nordstrom is actually going to have to be good at guessing what customers will want to purchase even if where the product is shipped from is now different. And to that point, leveraging e-commerce for better data analytics will be key.
After comparing this to the IKEA case we did a few weeks ago, the general question I have is how much can a business integrate sustainability and a focus on climate change if that is not absolutely integral to its business proposition and model. Simply put, I think one of the reasons that IKEA was able to go beyond PR lip service was because they ran into a tangible risk of seriously depleting their wood supply as a large consumer, the impact of which was directly traceable to the bottom line. You do talk about the reasons why Alaska Airlines would benefit from fuel-efficient aircraft fleet from a cost perspective and avoid disruption in ground operations due to weather patterns, but I am not sure if those reasons are key enough for Alaska Airline to make, and justify a large investment across supply chains to its shareholders.