Tiffany S

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On December 1, 2017, Tiffany S commented on GE: Adapting to Isolationist America and its Workforce :

I agree that GE is in a tricky position: staying in the US and bending to isolationist policies can mean increased labor costs that make their products less competitive on price. However, I wonder if the lobbying you suggested could extend beyond labor and job creation, and head into the realm of restricting/taxing imports of foreign competition. Granted, I’m not sure if the American consumer would be pleased with this turn of events, but it could address GE’s ability to compete with foreign-made products — why not handicap the competition if GE is handicapping itself by reshoring labor in the US?

I agree with analysts that American job creation is low on Walmart’s list of goals. The reality of the job market in the US is that, even paying everyday low prices, the average American worker has a higher standard of living and therefore higher minimum wage than the regions where Walmart has outsourced its manufacturing. The US simply can’t compete on manufacturing costs while also creating manufacturing jobs here in the US. I worry that in trying to supply jobs in the US, Walmart will be forced to raise prices on the very people they are employing, making the newly employed not much better off.

I think your suggestion to provide education and technological training makes the most sense. I believe a more highly skilled workforce is the path toward economic strength, especially as automation threatens jobs in manufacturing. While Trump may be focused on job creation, I agree that Walmart would make the most impact educating (and continuing to employ) its workforce.

I think you really hit on the key challenge for Wal-Mart China in bringing attention to the edge of the network. I see this as the biggest challenge to successful implementation of this strategy. The trust aspect in China depends less on the supply chain transparency and more on the public’s confidence in all parts of the equation: the supply chain as well as its inputs. Fundamentally, I don’t think Wal-Mart China has enough control over its suppliers to ensure the quality of the inputs, especially if the digital system begins at Wal-Mart instead of being integrated into the supplier’s internal systems.

Some ideas for how they might incentivize suppliers: offering contract terms that require tighter integration and oversight (more of a stick than a carrot), supplying implementation services or funding for implementation, or buying at higher margins from suppliers that demonstrate high-quality compliance and inputs. Each has disadvantages and challenges, but at least each is a place to start.

On December 1, 2017, Tiffany S commented on Digital Transformation at LabCorp :

I agree that LabCorp has been lagging in adoption of available technologies, but this is far from unusual in the healthcare industry. While development and adoption of at-home digital diagnostics has been rapid in metropolitan areas, I hesitate to say LabCorp’s traditional testing facilities will become obsolete anytime soon. Many at-home solutions still require physical laboratories to process samples (including Color Genomics, who provides the direct-to-consumer breast cancer testing you mentioned), and many direct-to-consumer solutions still face massive and uncertain regulatory hurdles.

However, I agree with your point that LabCorp should take strategic action to advance their adoption of technology and remain competitive. Technology poses such a huge performance-boosting and cost-saving opportunity for LabCorp, and they would be foolish not to pursue it. They just need to carefully balance any technology initiative with their existing core competencies.

On December 1, 2017, Tiffany S commented on Wells Fargo: What Are The Obligations of a Financier? :

When looking at the role of financial institutions in combating climate change, I agree that Wells Fargo and other firms could certainly be doing more. Based on your review of Wells Fargo, the initiatives do seem cursory and shallow instead of embedded in the company’s core philosophy. I’d like to see more disciplined investing in companies with core sustainability initiatives and active divesting from fossil fuels, etc.

However, I’m hesitant to say Wells Fargo can do this alone. If the company takes a hard line of refusing to invest in non-sustainable companies, Wells Fargo risks missing out on investment opportunities that other firms would gladly fund. As a supplier of capital, Wells Fargo on its own cannot force a shift in how users of capital impact the environment; the user would simply look to a different supplier for capital. I believe financial institutions have a responsibility to affect climate change through their investments, but they need to be unified in their actions in order to see any change in the market.

I agree it’s great to see Tesco playing an active role in managing its carbon footprint. I agree that a key opportunity gap for Tesco lies in managing its sourcing rather than focusing purely on energy consumption in its facilities.

My struggle with the expectation for year-round produce lies in the tension between acting as environmentally-conscious consumers and maintaining nutritional diets around the world. To source locally means that certain regions will suffer from a lack of nutritious fruits and vegetables due to the years of outsourced food production. If all regions actually grew a balanced supply of produce, then sure, local sourcing would be a great next step. I worry that in reality, production will be too slow to change even if firms like Tesco try to accelerate a change towards more local, seasonal consumption.