Really fascinating look into the hyper-competitive world of consumer goods and in particular retail. I think that it’s an interesting balance that Zara is trying to strike here as they go towards a more personalized world – can they maintain tight supply chains while giving their consumers the level of personalization that they crave? I think that as 3D technology evolves there may be a case to be made that manufacturing can become increasingly localized. If you can put a 3D printer on the block next to your retail store and have a lead time of let’s say one day for a fashion item, that would completely revolutionize retail. With that system you may have better controls over your products and given localities more control over creative direction. Obviously, this is an extreme example that would be a long ways away, but what would the author think of that alternative?
Really fascinating look at the constantly evolving healthcare market. Digitization is happening across the space and it’s forcing suppliers and hospital systems to rethink their existing relationships. I would think that this trend is good for consumers and the hospital systems as they flush out waste from the system and become more efficient. I wonder what the impact of these technologies would have from the vendor’s perspective: if you have better information on end customers I assume it will result in a smaller bullwhip effect from demand.
Really well written and sound logic! I find this topic extremely interesting because this Nissan plant is the poster child for why free trade and specifically within the Schengen Area is so attractive. With Brexit, this throw the entire supply chain and viability of the factory into question. A couple of points to consider:
1) With the massive devaluation of the British Pound, Britain’s labor and supply market has become cheaper. As a result, selling cars in Europe for Euros while costs are in British Pounds would be a potentially positive outcome from Brexit. Do you think this currency arbitrage would continue to exist in the future?
2) You really have the British government in a bad spot. Nissan leaving Great Britain would be such a PR disaster for the country in the wake of Brexit that they will likely give massive concessions to keep you in country. I would question the author on the potential asks of the British government for help in a post-Brexit world.
First off, wow! Fantastic essay with a mix of quality analytics and eloquent prose. The author clearly is an accomplish infrastructure expert with an interest in literature because this piece was so perfectly woven it almost made me cry! I agree with the author that the Hawaiian goal of 100% sustainable energy is the right target and I think the question is how do you get there. I would wonder if there was some efficient means of harnessing the power of Hawaii’s biggest asset – it’s powerful oceans. What does the author think of technology like the below that generates electricity through wave power?
Given that Hawaii sits essentially at the top of a mountain range in the ocean, massive and powerful waves wash up on it’s shore on a daily basis. This may address the concerns the author has with sourcing. The real question is, will Hawaii hang 10 or get pitted??
Fantastic analysis of the rapidly changing passenger vehicle industry and GM’s strategy for an “all-electric” future. I think the author did a marvelous job laying out the key issues at play here, including: viability of producing 20 EV models in the next 5 years, the disparity between vehicle types (gas guzzling SUVs vs EVs), and the regulatory environment pushing car companies toward aggressive efficiency targets. I believe the author and GM that the future of car technology clearly rests in the EV technology and the sooner that GM is up and running on a fleet of EVs the better. I think that the EPA will continue to set aggressive targets for emissions standards and MPG rates because there is already a market and consumer sentiment driving towards the goal. Additionally, even in a world where the EPA does repeal their regulations I think you’d see GM sticking with their strategy. Just as when the EPA repealed many of the Obama era coal regulations, utilities continued their push towards more efficient fuels and less coal. A few things that I would consider are what is the interplay with AI technology here? Presumably AI technology would improve car’s efficiency as acceleration and idling would be reduced. Finally, what is GM doing to build out a charging footprint for their vehicles? I assume they will have range constraints and for these vehicles to become truly viable alternatives to combustible engines consumers need some sort of confidence that they will be able to take their car on long trips without range anxiety.
Extremely interesting commentary on an under reported regulation that causes distortions in US trade. The Jones Act, from my vantage point, does seem to be a strategically important piece of legislation from a national security perspective. A healthy and vibrant shipbuilding community in the US would appear to me to be strategically important in times of war or distress. But, it strikes me that there appears to be less supply of domestic ships and crews than necessary. I understand that shipbuilding costs are higher in the States than elsewhere, but it appears that constraints on supply are more a function of less ships than necessary for the level of trade. If I were SEACOR I would aggressively target the under-served domestic market, rather than trying to diversify internationally. I would focus on streamlining operations to push costs down, but attempt to position your fleet within ports and markets that have high charter prices. Rather than viewing this legislative framework as a risk, I’d exploit the opportunity while it exists. What do you think about increasing supply domestically? Do you think that there is a market opportunity to exploit opportunities like the one mentioned in Motoaki’s comment?