Great article! I agree that the U.S. will definitely suffer in the longterm without NAFTA. To @Juan A’s point, Mexico is already strengthening its relationship with other countries. Many large corporations are re-structuring and building more globally focused divisions to fast-track partnerships with other countries. President Enrique Pena Nieto recently visited China in order to discuss trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord. With the infrastructure of the Trans-Pacific Partnership already in place, I think Mexico should focus more on China than Canada to capitalize on the growth in China. But, risks for Mexico remain as last year Mexican exports amounted to $374 billion, and more than 80% of that amount went to the United States. For Mexico, the threat of NAFTA’s end will provide the motivation the country needs to diversify .
Damir – This is a very interesting summary! I am a bit skeptical that having supply chain members sign contracts to affirm commitment to legal and ethical labor, raw material sourcing practices, and compliance with U.S. export regulations will actually result in improved outcomes or fewer compliance issues. This strategy is a relatively passive one, because it doesn’t allow FLIR to detect problems as soon as they arise. FLIR should take a more active role in finding compliance issues. This may involve helping supply chain members build their own capabilities to manage compliance issues.
AT – What a thoughtful article summarizing the challenge facing Lindt! I disagree slightly with some of you and @Nico’s recommendations. They both assume that, like Ikea, Lindt is the industry leader and that it would be capable of demanding higher standards from farmers and organizations that clear rainforest land. Unlike Ikea, Lindt only has 9.9% marketshare, trailing behind Hershey with 44.6% and Mars at 29.2%. I also don’t think the number 3 company in the market can successfully build an industry consortium without the support of the other two industry giants who together command 3/4ths of the market. I also disagree that clamping down on farming techniques wouldn’t affect their cacao supply. If I was a cacao farmer, I would just stop selling to Lindt and take my business elsewhere. Buying cacao farms and controlling their own supply could be one possible solution!
Meghan – great summary of how climate change is affecting companies like ABI! To your first question, I don’t think ABI has a greater responsibility to address their global footprint because they are a company that produces alcohol but I do think their sheer size should compel them to adopt more sustainable practices. ABI is in a similar position as IKEA; as one of the largest consumers of timber, IKEA felt a strong responsibility to improve its global footprint for long-term sustainability of both its business model and the planet. I wonder if ABI could adopt certain sustainability standards for their growers in the way that IKEA did for timber manufacturers.
Dan – this is a great article! you do a great job of summarizing the effects and potential future implications of 3D printing. While it seems like McMaster-Carr is being proactive in incorporating STL files onto their website, I am skeptical that they will be able to survive in the long run once companies in the future print their own parts (as the cost and need for expertise declines), bypassing suppliers completely. One article suggests that “47% of companies that buy spare parts have been looking into using 3D printing to create their own parts” because their needs are not currently adequately being met by suppliers . The current lack of widespread expertise in 3D printing and technical maturity suggests McMaster-Carr will still remain relevant/competitive for at least the short-term. I am interested to see how McMaster-Carr continues to evolve its core competencies in reaction to 3D printing. I wonder whether 3D printing will actually take hold or whether it will remain relegated to the small, spare parts.
Japees – what an interesting article! It is fascinating to see how the use of RFIDs, a technology that is already so widely applied in other industries, is helping to bring the healthcare supply chain into the 21st century, especially given that supply chain costs account for approximately one-third of the average operating budget . In addition to the data security issues you mention, one concern is the amount of up-front investment goes that into a digitalization project like this for large healthcare systems. Hospitals have razor-thin operating margins, so the capital intensiveness of this project could prove prohibitive. Another implementation issue with expanding RFID codes to office supplies, medical equipment, patient beds etc. is that someone needs to actually scan those bar codes, which could prove burdensome. Clinicians already suffer from high rates of burn-out associated with the sheer volume of work. Gaining sufficient buy-in from front-line staff will be difficult if digitalization adds to their already overflowing plates.