Amazing article Curtis! I had no clue that Russia’s annexation of Crimea had this impact on space exploration. In an industry such as this, I wonder how proactive could ULA have been in sourcing engines from different suppliers, it seems like this industry has very few players, and I wonder if the fact that they had exclusivity was what made them inert to seek to innovate. It seems that the decision to ban the RD-180, would have given Space X free rein to bump their prices if the ban hadn’t been lifted, causing the government to pay more because of this decision.
Your article is very illuminating not only as a supply chain issue but also as a leadership lesson. As a business leader, we must be prepared for the unexpected, and I think that a company should avoid getting too comfortable and have contingency plans in place for when a competitor enters the market or an unforeseen political issue arises.
Excellent article! I was especially surprised by the reaction of Ford to the increased pressure to produce in the U.S. by shifting to production in China instead. It seems that the benefit is twofold for Ford. First, they can lower the costs to build, benefit from lower labor costs and just paying the tariffs, Second, they can profit from having an increased presence in China: there is enormous potential for automobile companies with the continuous increase in Chinese affluence.
When I began reading your article, I thought: for sure what Ford’s going to propose is moving more of its production to the U.S. with a highly automated production line, thus reducing the potential for generating jobs. This may be partially unrelated to isolationism, but I had never considered the negative impact that autonomous vehicles may have for car manufacturing. In a future where we may no longer own cars and just use Ubers and Lyfts everywhere (at least in urban areas), there will be a reduced demand for vehicles as these are better utilized.
I really enjoyed the article and think that it’s a good initiative to reduce its climactic footprint but I’m concerned that fear may be something hindering other apparel companies from making efforts to take actions such as the use of recycled materials. Although in the United States consumers are more accustomed to seeing items proudly displaying that they are made from recycled materials, I wonder if people would have a positive perception regarding recycled apparel! Furthermore, this concern may be aggravated internationally where many people are not as conscientious about the importance of sustainability. For this reason, I think that Nike needs to make a bold move if it’s going to be able to become a change agent for the industry, not by creating a few products from recycled materials, but by showcasing an entire product line that is produced from recycled materials, not just from factory scraps, but from other materials such as plastic as well. But to be successful, these products need to not only be sustainable, but technologically superior to past apparel products (e.g. faster-drying clothing).
Excellent article! Reading this article, I was concerned that increasing the diversity of coffee beans would actually have a negative impact on Starbucks’ carbon emissions. It seems that having small farmers all across the world has a positive impact on the lives of many farmers, but could significantly increase the logistics costs and complexity for Starbucks worldwide. Do they require beans from many regions (whole-bean bags) because they wish to provide variety or because the demand is too high to produce in a few places? My understanding is that that coffee grows best in the mountainous, very wet regions in the tropics, at least that’s what we say in Puerto Rico. According to an article on The Guardian, this method of farming leads to inefficiencies, and some growers have resorted to “sun cultivation” to increase yield, but having a negative impact on the environment through the need of chemical fertilizers and the clearing of millions of rainforest acres. I don’t know what solution can solve this conundrum of reducing the supply chain complexities without sacrificing rainforest or relying on chemicals, but I could imagine agricultors producing coffee in the far future in controlled, greenhouse-like environments without needing to sacrifice quality.
Cristin, awesome article! I do believe that there might be a possibility in which consumers are afraid of the risk from flying in a 3-D printed plane. Boeing could do probably do tests and modeling to show that 3-D printing is safer, something akin to what we saw in the America’s Cup case. Personally, I consider that the point you mentioned about 3-D printing allowing a plane to have fewer individual parts may be reassuring to the consumer. If you think how friction and wear and tear of tiny parts such as nuts and bolts affect machinery, or how a chair after being used for several years starts to lose its spare parts, then I think that airlines can communicate these benefits to the consumer.
Part of your article focused on the RFID identification and I wondered: who would be in charge of inspecting a plane, Boeing employees or the customer’s employees (i.e. airlines or the military)? I would think that since the customer is actually in possession of the plane for most of its life, it seems that the most significant benefit of this technology would be for the customer’s mechanics. This way, when they conduct routine inspections, they can be informed of the part’s history and know if a part needs to replacements or reparations every X years.
Excellent post aninnymouse! I think that the move towards 3-D printing is a unique initiative not only because it will reduce their lead time significantly but also because it can probably allow for better use of materials and reduced waste as well. I also think this could have enormous implications for the NikeID platform, allowing people to make their shoes to more exact specifications than just the colors of their shoes, but taking into account the foot shape, the weight of the shoe, and the required sole support. Finally, you raised an excellent question regarding the potential loss of jobs in their Asian factories in the future. From my understanding, 3-D printing is currently a rather slow process in most of the examples I’ve seen in the past, and creating mass-production models may prove challenging to move towards 3-D printing. But their investment in robots could be threatening for manufacturing jobs in Asia, and may even be a proactive strategy if isolationist policies cause them to move facilities to North America, but without the creation of manufacturing jobs that such a move would traditionally entail!