Anirban Datta Gupta
Agree with with you on the challenges Megan. We’ve seen this challenge of control vs. flexibility come up many times in global organizations. AB InBev tries to circumvent this by empowering the local managers to make decisions on the executional details, as long as the strategy is aligned to the global strategy. For example, they aim to keep the brand character of Stella Artois the same across the world, but could pursue different go-to-market executions to bring that brand character to life (live events vs. TV branded entertainment vs. Digital-led efforts vs. In-store promotions etc.)
It’s a lot easier said than done, but given their success, it seems they’ve been able to pull it off so far. We’ll have to wait and see whether they can do this across all the new brands they now have in their stable after the SAB Miller merger!
Very interesting question Andy. Like you pointed out, this merger is already bordering on monopoly, so further consolidation may raise big issues in terms of Anti-trust etc. I’d think that in the immediate future, post the value creation they can squeeze out to SAB Miller, they could consider additional revenue streams generated from what Reid mentions above – craft beers, different sizes etc. Again, my take is they need to proceed with caution on this, and allow these alternate revenue streams to grow organically vs. channeling too much operating model focus on them.
Thanks for the comment Reid. Agree with you on the challenges that a burgeoning portfolio and craft beer are posing. My personal take is that they should continue focusing the majority of their budgets and centralized operating procedures on the biggest brands. Craft beer and other varieties add a much-needed breadth to the portfolio, however, they are still a small piece of the pie (especially in the context of AB InBev expanding aggressively in China, the world’s biggest beer market).
So I think spreading management attention and company budget too thin by having local decisions on the smaller brands may not be the best way to go. If these smaller brands and alternate options start organically growing at a rapid pace, then it may warrant a re-think on the mechanics of their current operating model.
Very interesting article Shimon! Had never given much thought to TWC despite seeing their logo so often while looking up weather in different cities. I think your point on leveraging the WSI data in better ways is critical. They are leaving a lot of value on the table by being primarily media focused. Would be interesting to see what IBM does with WSI.
Separately, reflecting on their core business of weather reporting, what’s your take on crowd-sourcing weather data from personal weather stations? This might help drive more accuracy and real-time updates for their weather forecasts. Would you consider this a feasible tweak to their existing operating model for the core business?
Thanks for writing about this interesting company Ellen. Hadn’t heard of it before, so was a refreshing read. I remember reading an article that mentioned how Instacart and Uber are experimenting with part-time employees vs. contract workers. The logic seems to be part-time = better employee benefits = better/more stable service from workers = happier end customers = higher ability to charge and/or justify existing high price. What’s your take on this as a potential change to how the supply chain of Postmates currently works? Would it truly drive better service, or simply end up costing the company more?
Great article Sam! Enjoyed reading about Lego, and it brought back fond memories. Your point on “innovation within reason” is an important one. We’ve seen too many examples of companies that trip up during the move from conception to execution. It also nicely ties in what we learnt in the TOM innovation module regarding Design Thinking. I presume that all of this successful, business-building innovation is a result of them really focusing on empathizing with how kids play and interact across different markets, and then designing based on that vs. a boardroom brainstorm.
Looking ahead, how do you think Lego should think about the future? Continue to stick with the basics? With 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping getting more mainstream and accessible, this could pose interesting challenges and opportunities for Lego.