Dr. Christina Yang
Thanks for writing about isolationism and given the Canadian company perspective. I think Gildan is genius for getting ahead of potential changes to trade agreements. The diversified, decentralized supply chain, the purchase of American Apparel, and efficiency changes all great opportunities for Gildan to succeed and potentially win over competitors if and when any major trade agreement changes happen. I love when companies are brave enough and have the foresight enough to be proactive. I find that in our cases so many companies are reactionary and therefore in less control of their own business than they should be. Bringing their supply chain in the US ahead of time means they can make the moves that work for them, and the basket of opportunities to do so are larger. Players like Walmart, Target, and Macy’s will be scrambling to find manufacturing if the US pushes away its trade partners and Gildan will be ahead of them in optimizing their supply chain in the US. Go Gildan!
Barilla should definitely continue to digitalize its supply chain, and I agree decreasing food waste will both save them time and money, but I also wonder how much they feel online “grocers” are a threat to them. I imagine that digitalizing their supply chain would allow them better tracking and therefore make an online customer platform for both brick and mortar customers, the everyday consumer and online grocers. I think digitalization could keep them investing in technology so that they can compete in the every-digitalizing food industry.
Fascinating that the retail industry creates 5% of carbon emissions. I agree that H&M has a unique position that enables it to be a beacon for sustainability in the industry. But I worry that H&M customers aren’t the people who care about sustainability. I think people shop at H&M to find fashionable clothes that are lower cost, knowing that they may not have been produced in the most equitable or empowering of labor systems. I also find H&M’s customers to be skewing younger and younger these days, with millennials now the age with enough income to shop at competitors that offer slightly higher end products like Zara. I think H&M should focus on sustainability, I just don’t know if it’ll become a competitive advantage for them in the eyes of their teenage and young adult customers.
Thank you for explaining the Netflix supply chain because I had no idea they were both moving “forward” into content consumption. I remember from our FRC case that they are actually not yet generating huge profit and investing much more in the content “assets.” I wonder how much this decision to move forward in the chain has to do with an effort to finance those projects. I also contemplate the decision to expand offerings or stick to one core competency (in this case aggregation). The long-term profitability of media content comes in the form of advertising and licensing revenues, two streams for which Netflix is not using its original content at the moment. Currently in their model, the original content and partnerships with consumption device companies are both driving more people to become Netflix subscribers as opposed to increasing their profit as a percentage of sales. I don’t know what goal they’re chasing in investing so heavily in original content.
While I feel that Coca Cola’s social projects focused on water sustainability are admirable, I feel like they are reactionary solutions to a much larger problem. As an iconic historical American brand, I think Coke is perfectly position to take a note from the Cynthia Carroll playbook and change the beverage industry to be socially motivated. Their position as a global, well regarded, trusted, profitable brand empowers them to be an example and that requires exemplary behavior. Regardless of their efficiency, Coke has to use billions of gallons of water each year and for that I believe they should work more closely with issues of water and drought all over the world. I would push Coke to think about the underlying reasons why India is without water and focus on fixing that. For example they could be financing environmental studies, building dams, monitoring the impacts of climate change on these regions and addressing water sanitation not by cleaning the water, but fixing infrastructure that allows the water source to be dirtied in the first place.
I found this paper to be really interesting, especially as someone interested in emerging markets. I had no idea that Apple was at such low market share for such a fast-growing global player. With 100+ smartphone players in the market, I don’t know if it makes sense for Apple to climb this hill. Unless Apple is willing to really research the unmet needs of the Indian smartphone market in order to become a leader, the return on their investment may not be worth this effort. The other aspect I found fascinating is the question about protectionism being a benefit or barrier for emerging economies. I imagine India is trying to protect the resources of its people, to avoid the reaping of resources that many developing countries have suffered at the hands of global superpowers in the past 100 years.