Eric, I thought your post was very interesting and insightful. I agree with your proposed measures around investing in renewable energy capacity to minimize the risk of increasing cost due to increasing energy consumption for manufacturing.
However, I think that there’s room for Saint-Gobin to take a look at its end-to-end supply chain when addressing sustainability issues and the impact of climate change. Specifically, the company could leverage its relationship and important position with its suppliers of raw materials, such as water, sand, and minerals. Saint-Gobin could create incentives for its suppliers to evaluate and report on how their practices impact the environment. It could also commit to purchasing a certain amount of its raw materials from providers that operate above a certain threshold when it comes to practices that may contribute to climate change. Overall, I believe there’s an opportunity to take more holistic view of the sustainability problem, particularly given that the extraction and distribution of water, sand, and minerals are largely impactful for the environment.
Sud, I found your article insightful and thought-provoking. Interestingly, the challenges that the NHS faces in light of the impending Brexit are not too dissimilar to those that private corporations are also currently grappling with.
In relation to your question around the role of the private sector, I believe that the NHS should attract pharmaceuticals and medical supplies manufacturers to move their production to the UK. In theory, Brexit offers an opportunity to stimulate the local production of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, enhancing the UK’s industrial base and the broader economy. One way in which the NHS could do so, is by offering long-term contracts to and forging closer partnerships with some of its key suppliers. Given that medicines across Europe already have some part of their manufacturing process in the UK, the NHS and the British government should provide greater incentives to such suppliers. By encouraging them to move their production to the UK, the high tariffs that Brexit would result in, could therefore be avoided.
Rob, I found your article very interesting and thought-provoking. The topic of Brexit and its impact on car manufacturers is a complicated one and I sought to explore it myself through the lens of Jaguar Land Rover.
I would like to address your question on the conditions under which it is possible for car manufacturers with complex supply chains to increase their competitiveness in this era of isolationism. As you suggested, companies like Nissan should increase their investment in local parts procurement and more local production to offset the increases in import costs that Brexit will entail. In parallel, I think it is important that car manufacturers also invest in automation technologies and increased manufacturing capacity. Automation in Nissan’s factories will allow it to offset some of the high labor costs associated with increasing UK production. In a similar vein, Nissan should expand its UK manufacturing capacity. By doing so, it will achieve economies of scale and consequently will maximize its potential to remain globally competitive.
I really enjoyed reading your paper on how Walmart is pushing for a cleaner supply chain. I agree that in light of the increasing number of shoppers and investors who are concerned about the sustainability of the goods they buy and the companies they own stakes in, companies like Walmart, are responsible for ensuring that their supply chains are managed well.
With respect to your question around how Walmart might incentivize suppliers to commit to cleaner supply chain practices, I think that a carrot and stick approach is the answer. On the positive reinforcement side, Walmart should develop and spread clear codes of conduct to help suppliers design and implement sustainability goals that directly support their business objectives. Additionally, it could launch training programs and online tools that enable the average supplier reduce their energy consumption. To reinforce efforts like these, Walmart should perform audits to monitor its suppliers’ sustainability performance and hold them accountable for it. Ultimately, if suppliers fail to meet their sustainability targets, Walmart could stop doing business with them, just as it would with other factors, such as the cost and quality of goods and the timeliness of shipments. After all, Walmart’s purchasing power as a retailer gives it significant influence over their suppliers’ business practices.
I definitely agree with Brandon’s comment that going digital is the industry norm, particularly when it comes to sales and marketing. I believe that Uniqlo’s competitive advantage lies in its ‘no-frills’ approach to fashion. Unlike Zara and H&M, which focus on fast-changing fashion trends, Uniqlo focuses on everyday, ‘basic’ products that are cater to customers’ needs. Given that ‘basic’ product design is a more straightforward process for Uniqlo, its production times are also generally lower.
As a result, I believe that Uniqlo should focus its production and supply chain development efforts on two key areas. First, it should try to maximize the quality of its designs. High quality manufacturing of ‘basic wear’ in combination with speed of delivery to market can be a winning advantage for Uniqlo. Second, it should introduce customization capabilities in its production line. Given that the company sells products that are rooted in people’s day-to-day lives, its manufacturing process should allow for increasing personalization, without compromising speed of delivery to market. Both of these goals will require a more innovative approach to production and supply chain management. If successful, however, they could prove to be crucial for Uniqlo’s future growth and competitiveness.
Joana, thank you for this very interesting paper.
I think that given the wider industry trends, Adidas has no choice, but to move to fast fashion. If it does not do so, it risks lagging behind its competitors (Nike, Under Armor, etc.) who are also rapidly transforming their supply chain to quickly respond to consumer demands. By manufacturing more of its products closer to the end customer – i.e. in Germany and the US – Adidas seeks to make less product up front, and to quickly replenish items that are selling well.
Having said that, in order for this approach to be successful and sustainable, I believe that Adidas needs to also consider the impact of this strategy to the rest of its organizational model. It could very well be, that an organizational restructuring is required in order for this model to work. Specifically, the innovations that the company is implementing on the manufacturing, supply, and production side of its business have crucial implications for its sales and marketing divisions. If the marketing function is no longer responsible for forecasting demand, then what is its role and how should it interface with the rest of the organization? The lines between IT, sales, marketing and production are becoming less and less clear and these functions will need work in a much more integrated manner. The revamped way in which Adidas delivers products to market means that every link in the organization needs to have full visibility to the needs of the others. Supply and demand signals will need to be visible across the network and the ways that marketing, supply, manufacturing, and IT work together will need to also be adapted.