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Shaira, this is a great article and Amar provides some good points, especially around the volume of the raw material that needs to be transported to the ISS.

Addressing your 2nd question around the quality of the final product, the 3D printing technology is quickly advancing to meet the tolerances required in aerospace and both GE and Rolls-Royce have produced an aerospace structure using 3D printing technology [1]. One question I was thinking about is what would happen to the part that is manufactured in space if the quality is not consistently met, especially when there is currently no solution to the recycling of 3D printed metal parts? Will those parts be thrown out in space, therefore, adding to the growing space waste that surrounds the Earth? The Refabricator project, sponsored by NASA, is looking at the recycling issue, however, currently it is only capable of recycling plastic parts [2].

With regards to your 3rd question, the blockchain technology can address some of the cyber security issues, particularly around how the astronauts on board the ISS will know that the digital file sent to the 3D printer is not corrupted [3].

[1] (2013). Both GE and Rolls Royce are to use 3D printing to make jet engines and violate engineering’s prime commandment [online] Available at: [Accessed on Dec 1st, 2017]

[2] (2017). NASA’s Refabricator recycling 3D printer makes space the place for green materials [online] Available at: [Accessed on Dec 1st, 2017]

[3] (2017). Global Supply Chains Are About to Get Better, Thanks to Blockchain [online] Available at: [Accessed on Dec 1st, 2017]

Chris, interestingly, before I read your article, I posed the challenge you describe above to Maud’s article about Airbus. I fully echo Amar’s comment about ring-fencing the parts that provide competitive advantage to Boeing and this is something that Rolls-Royce is doing as well.

Building on Amar’s comment on sales, when analysing the posed question about the supply chain of Boeing 797, a key aspect that needs to be addressed is where the demand for the so called “middle-market airplane” will come from. As it was revealed at the Paris Air Show earlier this year, one potential customer for the airplane is the Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet [1]. Considering the “Make in India” initiative adopted by the Indian government as well as the fact that the Indian market is a growing one with a population of 1.3 billion [1], Boeing might not have a choice but to build supply chain and manufacturing capabilities in Asia if the company wants to keep winning orders against Airbus and stay relevant in the aerospace industry.

[1] Jon Ostrower (2017), “World gets first peek at Boeing ‘797’” [online] Available at: [Accessed on December 1st, 2017]

Thanks for sharing this article! The first question you pose is an interesting one and I think Maersk can address the challenge by partnering with a cyber security company or acquiring a startup in the cyber security space. Companies usually look at minimising risk following the “as low as reasonably practical” approach, by determining the level of risk at which the cost of implementing a cyber security software is offset by the cost of potential penalties. In general, the law of diminishing marginal returns plays a key role in determining the minimum risk that is acceptable.

With regards to the second question, Maersk can look at setting up a corporate VC arm, similarly to many billion-dollar companies. As a result, Maersk can not only build competitive digital capabilities and defend itself from the likes of Google and Amazon, but also create an additional revenue stream by contributing with its supply chain know-how to the creation of disruptors to other players in the global supply-chain.

Finally, Maersk can look at adding drone ships to its fleet and further increase the digitalisation of its operations. One company that invests significantly in the development of “drone” ships is Rolls-Royce [1].

[1] Rolls-Royce. “Ship Intelligence”.
. Accessed on December 1st, 2017.

Really interesting article on how climate change can create supply chain opportunities and cost savings. In addition, I like RM’s analysis of how the shipping companies might respond to the opportunity. When considering the assumptions that Atomflot should make about the next hundred years, three potential challenges should be addressed.

1) Similarly to nuclear power plants, is the cost of decommissioning the nuclear-powered icebreakers incorporated in the analysis, as this might affect the viability of Atomflot’s business plan? This is especially true as there isn’t currently a viable long-term solution to the storage of nuclear waste in place.
2) Will the introduction of drone ships affect the way shipping companies view sea routes to the detriment of the North Sea route?
3) How trade restrictions, such as the current one between the European Union and Russia [1], will affect the relationship between EU companies and Atomflot?

[1] INTA. “Russia’s and the EU’s sanctions: economic and trade effects, compliance and the way forward”. Accessed on December 1st, 2017.

Thanks for sharing this article. It is very interesting how CenterPoint looks at rerouting power from substations at different elevations. The predictive model, developed by Texas A&M is one way to address the rerouting challenge, however, I wonder how this might be even further complicated when more energy sources, such as wind, solar and energy storage, are incorporated in the grid.

Furthermore, addressing the last paragraph in your article around the cost implications and echoing John Smith’s comment, I wonder whether developing Micro Grids is a potential alternative. If the grid is split into smaller and independent to an extent micro grids, the flooding of some substations will have a much smaller impact in contrast to the current arrangement. The question is which option is more economically viable, considering that renewable energy is on the rise!

Thanks for sharing this article, Maud! I really enjoyed reading it. It will be very interesting to see how Airbus will reduce the Brexit impact on their supply chain, especially when the UK sites produce complex and large components that incur high transportation costs. As a result, I agree with your analysis that Airbus should look at potentially building manufacturing capabilities within the wider European Union, in order to be closer to the final assembly lines in both Germany and France.

One challenge, however, is that the UK sites not only manufacture components, but also engage in significant Research & Development (Reference [1] in your article), which would be hard to replicate in other countries if they lack a capable workforce. As a result, addressing Nick’s questions, Airbus might not be in a position to exit the UK.

With regards to Airbus’ production expansion in China, I do agree with Eddie’s comments above and his analysis as to why that might not make sense, unless Airbus develops the wider supply chain to support final assembly. One aspect of Airbus’ initial decision to build production capabilities in China was driven by their desire to sell more planes to the Chinese airlines, “where commercial aircraft purchase is controlled by a government keen to develop its own aircraft manufacturing capability” [1]. This, however, poses challenges as to what technologies can Airbus transfer to the Chinese market, without risking the company’s know-how being used for the manufacturing of other airplanes in China?

[1] Jiang, Sijia. “Airbus, Boeing in new battle for China market share”. Accessed on December 1st, 2017.