Thanks for sharing this article, Kamau. Echoing both TOM Lover and Pascal, I found your article extremely thought-provoking. I definitely share the concerns that have been expressed and agree that US investment in manufacturing technology is one potential solution. My concern with the need for moving manufacturing to the US is the time required to get factories setup and labor trained. Assuming however that Target is successful in setting up US manufacturing facilities, I could see how the tax adjustment could leading to significant US-based job creation. Unfortunately, in reality I think that it is unlikely that these jobs will be created in time to combat the rising costs to Target, should this tax be implemented. In my opinion, the only way for this 20% tax to not destroy companies like Target, would be for enough jobs to be created and wages to increase so that the company is able to pass through their added costs to consumers but I am skeptical that this happens successfully.
Great article, Megan. I was also reminded of the Ikea case while reading this article and further this made me think about marketplace solutions, like the Fasten case that we discussed today. Although Amazon has some level of control over what is sold on its platform, at its core the retail business is a marketplace and there are many similar marketplaces out there. To me, this raises the question of how we can better promote sustainability for individuals and small businesses. Similar to Miguel’s suggestion, maybe Amazon could offer their suppliers incentives to package and ship their goods sustainably?
Sahel, loved the article and completely relate to the chaos this can cause because I worked above the Rockefeller Center Starbucks in NYC when they were piloting the order ahead feature. For several weeks they had lines out the door and into the subway station. The first thing they tried was creating a separate area for order ahead pick up but anytime there was an error in the drink made the regular line was held up and this was very frustrating for the customers in the “regular” line. I totally agree with your suggestion for them to have small standalone stores that are purely servicing mobile orders. Another technology they could utilize in a purely digital store would be kiosk technology that we see being utilized in a number of QSRs, such as Wendy’s and Shake Shack, right now. However this brings back the issue of who is Starbucks trying to serve: the coffee connoisseurs or the java joes?
This topic is super interesting so thanks for sharing this info, Sarah! One summer I worked at the corporate office of a QSR restaurant in New York and we also had to use e-verify to ensure all of our employees were legal. I remember thinking that the process of “verifying” these employees seemed very disorganized and ultimately suspicious. I am not sure what ended up happening where I was working but I am not shocked that this e-verify agency was committing fraud. I find it very disturbing that they were not faced with any fines and I would certainly suggest that LFP take appropriate legal action against them.
In response to your suggestions, I totally agree with you that LFP should focus on recruiting teens given it will be beneficial not just to LFP but also to the teens being trained. This summer I was in Israel and we visited a farm that was employing troubled youth (https://www.kaima.org.il/home). Although the concept is not exactly the same, I witnessed first hand the positive impact that giving teens a sense of purpose that is larger than themselves can have on their development.
This was a very interesting article and I totally agree that this is a very concerning problem! In the short term, I agree with you that Huy Fong needs to find new suppliers to source their peppers and diversify the risk they created by having one supplier. However, in the longer term, I think that climate change is an issue that we are going to continue to see have negative impacts all over the world. Therefore, I would suggest instead of focusing on contracting outside of the US, Huy Fong should focus on working with suppliers that are beginning to utilize vertical farming. It might even make sense for Huy Fong to build their own vertical farm because of the ideal conditions that vertical farms are able to create. Here is a quick article: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170405-how-vertical-farming-reinvents-agriculture
I agree with Pratik that AB InBev should be utilizing more digitization in their warehouses, especially to manage the QA issues you mention. I think that there are several ways to avoid the human produced errors, such as loading the wrong pallet, with quick technological improvements. As a simple solution, I would imagine that as part of the fork lift a scanner could be added to ensure the right pallet is being moved. More complex, would be a system such as Symbotic’s, that removes the human element from the process almost entirely and therefore is required to have a very sophisticated QA system to ensure each case ends up in the right place.
I also completely agree that AB InBev should be investing in these projects in order to improve efficiency but I would argue that ultimately warehouses will be more like what Symbotic is building and will therefore lead to significant job reduction. Therefore, I think that it is important that the company set itself up for long-term success by focusing the majority of their investments on “the warehouse of the future” while simultaneously making these smaller investments to gain incremental improvements.