Toby Johnson

  • Alumni

Activity Feed

On November 27, 2017, Toby Johnson commented on General Motors: Cars that kill the planet, or cars that kill you? :

While I applaud General Motors’ commitment to a “low-carbon future”, I can’t help point out the irony that this is a company that many popularly believed to have played a heavy hand in dismantling the extensive public trolley system that permeated the Los Angeles metropolitan area in the 50’s. They’ve re-imagined how Americans move from point A to B once in history, it’s conceivable that they may be able to pull it off again with autonomous EV in the near future.

[ ]

With this context, I think GM has a tough job ahead demonstrating its authenticity in this era of hyper-scrutiny over perceived green-washing antics. I agree with you that given current consumer trends, car ownership rates will likely fall as environmental consciousness and urbanization takes a stronger hold globally, and that GM must fundamentally shift its strategy to more service-oriented / data-driven offerings to accommodate this macro change. The need for conducive public-private partnerships, supportive regulations, appropriate infrastructure, and receptive consumers is ever important for autonomous EV to diffuse from a novelty proof-of-concept to a new standard reality of mobility.

Thanks for this insightful piece!

Given that many airports globally are located on low-lying, flood-prone land close to large bodies of water, I imagine that the challenges of rising sea levels and temperatures brought about by climate change are not endemic to JFK alone. The Dutch have been battling the sea for centuries, and Amsterdam’s Schipol International airport (the 3rd largest airport by passenger volume in Europe) has actively developed a climate-change mitigation strategy. See below reports.

[ ]
[ ]

These reports detail recommendations for Schipol to manage wind / visibility uncertainties, convective events, wintry conditions, higher temperatures, drainage and flood risk – all events that are exacerbated by intensifying climate change. Moving forward, I think there is great value in airports around the world to engage in active dialogue, best practices and knowledge sharing.

On November 25, 2017, Toby Johnson commented on P&G China: Reinventing the Offline B2B Distribution Network :

Thanks for the insightful piece!

Yet again, we see the infiltration of Alibaba’s vast platform into just about every aspect of Chinese life, including the distribution of daily consumer products. While I agree that the LST program enables P&G to more efficiently manage its supply chain and distribution in a highly fragmented offline retail market, I imagine that the continued urbanization of China will lead to further consolidation of retail outlets and the concentration of selling power in select large players (think the mega-supermarkets like Carrefour / Tesco and local convenience chains like FamilyMart / Lawsons). With small, informal mom & pop shops in an ostensible decline, how should P&G think about partnering with these large players to harness he power of a digital, data-driven supply chain? For example, is signing exclusivity contracts with large retailers and convenience store chains to carry P&G-only goods an option worth exploring? How should P&G ensure a two-way information flow of customer purchasing and behavior data with these large partners, outside of the Alibaba LST program?

On November 25, 2017, Toby Johnson commented on Apps on Apps: Tesco uses digitalization to tackle food waste :

Thanks for this insightful piece!

What struck me as a bit counter-intuitive about Tesco’s food waste reduction program is the “Perfectly Imperfect” designation of produce. If Tesco truly wanted to signal to consumers (and suppliers) that visually imperfect fruits and vegetables are just as edible and of comparable quality, the company should not be pricing these items lower or paying less to the supplier. Instead, Tesco should invest in education, marketing and communication across the full spectrum of the supply chain (farmers, distributors, wholesalers, consumers) to shift perceptions. Tesco can additionally harness digital data analytics to observe consumer purchasing patterns and identify potential geographic regions or markets that are more receptive to purchasing visually imperfect produce. For example, consumers closer to rural or agriculture-heavy regions may be more familiar with the natural imperfections of certain produce and thus more open to purchasing, compared to urban dwellers in London. This might enable Tesco to direct its supply chain to deliver more “Perfectly Imperfect” produce to these stores.

On November 25, 2017, Toby Johnson commented on Exporting Entertainment: Can CJ E&M Rely on the Chinese Market? :

I agree that China’s growing dominance and assertiveness in the world economy and political order, coupled with increasing global reliance on its massive consumer base, signals that these protectionalist trade conflicts will only grow in incidence and prevalence. This will not be CJ E&M’s only rodeo with the Chinese government. However, given China’s sheer media consumption power, pulling the plug on this lucrative market is clearly not an option. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the possibility of exploring potential export loopholes. For example, CJ E&M can partner with non-Korean studios (such as those in Hollywood / Bollywood) to create content that would appeal to Chinese consumers, and then export this content to China in such a way that it is not “made in Korea” or utilizes “Korean IP”. Of course, this is likely a quite round-about way that is not particularly efficient – but an option worth exploring.

On November 25, 2017, Toby Johnson commented on Jaguar Land Rover: A Bumpy Ride post-Brexit :

Insightful write-up Erik!

While I agree that shifting additional model production to non-UK plants in continental Europe (like Austria and Slovakia) may be a viable option to hedge against Brexit uncertainties, I am curious as to what you think about potential negative consumer reaction and demand to a Land Rover / Jaguar that is not produced in Britain on paper. As I understand, the British heritage and finesse behind these iconic luxury brands remains a large draw for consumers, particularly those located in growing emerging markets like China. When India’s Tata Motors acquired Land Rover & Jaguar, many were already concerned about the sustainability of the brands’ “British authenticity” moving forward. We also saw similar black-lash when China’s Geely acquired the iconic Scandinavian Volvo marque. While these rumblings in the media may be short-lived, I wonder if they hold a longer, more permanent effect on how consumers perceive and engage with these luxury brands – enough to make JLR second think their outsource production strategy.