TOM 2017

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On December 1, 2017, TOM 2017 commented on Autonomous Trucks – Industry Savior or Environmental Threat? :

Thanks for your post, Grant! I was surprised how the views of customers versus shareholders are misaligned given that customers are seeking more environmentally friendly supply chains yet the shareholders blocked proposals to introduce emission goals. This highlights the need for autonomous vehicles to reduce emissions while preserving profit margins for JBH.

In response to your questions, I think that JBH should invest in testing autonomous vehicles in the short-term in order to better position itself to beat out competitors in the future. However, I worry about the lack of government regulation concerning autonomous driving and the risk that JBH’s efforts could be set back due to this uncertainty [1]. For example, in the absence of federal regulation, different states have already written their own guidelines with respect to autonomous driving. If federal regulation is implemented that supersedes state regulation, several stakeholders including JBH could potentially need to alter their strategies, which could prove costly.


On November 30, 2017, TOM 2017 commented on American Airlines: Grounded by extreme heat :

Thanks for your post, Eduard! It brings back many memories as I was actually hiking just outside of Phoenix the week that the heat wave hit and American Airlines was forced to cancel flights – the heat was unbearable!

In response to your question, I think that American Airlines could restructure their hub operations in the short-term to reduce the impact of heat waves on flight delays. It is ultimately up to Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers to invest in R&D to develop more modern fleets and this will take significant time and funds. In the interim, American Airlines can take a more proactive approach by restructuring their hubs to avoid centralizing operations in cities at greater risk of heat waves.

Furthermore, another issue for American Airlines to keep in mind as temperatures increase will be ensuring that the ground crew that load and unload aircraft can work safely and comfortably under harsh conditions [1].


Thanks for your post, Daniel! I had never considered the issues related to owning and tracking digital artwork.

As an art history fan, when you brought up the point about cryptocurrencies allowing investors who can’t afford expensive pieces the opportunity to buy shares in a work of art, I was initially taken aback because I view art as not only a financial investment but also an emotional investment (and I would want to own the full piece of art and be able to display it!).

I agree that blockchain will prove useful as it saves time and costs to authenticate artwork, assuming that Sotheby’s has already performed the initial validation legwork. In response to your question, I think that Sotheby’s experts will still serve an important role, especially to luxury buyers. Blockchain will enable buyers to easily educate themselves on an artwork’s value and ownership background from the convenience of their phones, but Sotheby’s experts will provide an extra level of customer service that is inherent to luxury brands [1]. Sotheby’s experts can answer more qualitative questions not found on the blockchain platform, such as how a specific piece of art relates to an artist’s broader portfolio.


On November 30, 2017, TOM 2017 commented on The Cash Before the Storm: Forecast-based Financing at Red Cross :

Thanks for your post, Ginny! Your article initially reminded me of the IBM Watson case that we read in class – FbF relies on a large supply of historical data to inform its predictive capabilities.

I agree that FbF could revolutionize the way that disaster relief is delivered. A key risk however is when the predictive capabilities of FbF fail or overestimate the severity of a disaster and too many supplies and funds are delivered to a specific region. In this case, it could be costly to bring those supplies back. However, given the increasing frequency of disasters and their severity, I believe that it is better to be overprepared rather than not having enough support in a potentially devastating situation.

In response to your question about how the Red Cross can convince partners to support its FbF efforts, I think that cost-benefit analyses will prove valuable. If you can show how providing aid in advance can actually reduce the long-term costs of supporting the region post-disaster, governments and other organizations will be more likely to partner.

In the article linked below, I found another successful example of FbF at work. The Red Cross provided aid to Bangladesh before a major flood which allowed locals to buy food for themselves and fodder for their cattle. After the floods, the Red Cross found that the number of people forced to sell their cattle or other assets to cope with the flood was lower.

On November 26, 2017, TOM 2017 commented on Breaking the walls with 3D printing :

Thanks for your post, Caue! I was surprised to learn how enthusiastic GE is about additive manufacturing. In the article linked below, I found that GE has invested almost $3B in this technology to serve its various business units. In response to declining revenues in their core business segments, such as power, GE is investing in new technologies such as additive manufacturing to spur growth. I agree with you that this strategy could also benefit GE in the long-run by protecting them against trade barriers.

Regarding your questions about government regulation of additive manufacturing, the article linked below discusses how increased adoption of additive manufacturing will draw attention and scrutiny to legal and regulatory frameworks. As use of this technology is still developing, governments may decide to impose regulations related to product quality and safety, which could deter GE from expanding its investment in additive manufacturing.

Thanks for your post, Amanda! I was aware of Trump’s isolationist stance but was unaware of the specific changes that US companies have made to their short-term and long-term strategies to hedge against Trump’s potential policies. I was initially surprised and impressed that Ford reacted so quickly to the changing political landscape – Ford cancelled its investment in Mexico in January 2017 and decided to instead invest in Michigan in March 2017. That’s a fast turnaround time for such a large, global company to change its strategy, especially a strategy that will impact its business in the long-run. However, I was confused when Ford seemed to backtrack on its US-focus in June 2017 (only 3 months later) by deciding to import cars from China. Given that a new CEO took over and the substantial $1B in cost savings, I understand why Ford’s focus shifted, but I think that management should have waited to formulate a cohesive long-term strategy instead of altering its plan every few months.

Regarding your question about how Ford should interact with its suppliers, I think Ford needs to consider the broad effects of its decision to switch Ford Focus manufacturing from Michigan to China. The New York Times article that I pasted below cites that 46% of the parts for the Ford Focus are produced in the US and Canada. If manufacturing moves to China, these US suppliers could lose business and consequently reduce their workforce. Ultimately, the decisions that Ford makes impact a broad range of players in its supply chain.