Very interesting both the negative (reduced margins and viability) and positive (erosion of smaller competitors) effects that isolationist policies will have on Sunrun. Upfront increases in stock-keeping seem to be an effective approach here – and I would additionally think that it might be reasonable not only to engage in partnerships like the Comcast partnership, but also to upfront more marketing costs to the present while the product is more viable. This will help them pursue the strategy of aggressive penetration you mentioned and also allow them to realize continued benefits of brand-building and program-building later on when tariffs force the company to run leaner.
Creating a robust and scalable capability to form local partnerships strikes me as one of the most effective methods for JPM to navigate isolationist policies. Although current trends have seen more isolationist outcomes gaining steam, it’s not necessarily clear for how long those trends will continue. Strong local partnerships can help JPM stay connected to important markets in the meantime – but given the complexity of modern finance it’s important to have transparency and alignment with partners. It seems global banks may be cooperating to build out these cababilities:
It’s striking how many individual suppliers make up Nestle’s supply chain. It’s clear that they must both spread/develop new technologies and enforce stringent supplier standards in order to make an impact. Given that the company can only put in so many resources, I wonder what the split should be between these goals, and if one should be more of a focus than the other. Given Nestle’s immense resources and access to globalized information, as well as the mentioned success of the Nestle Cocoa plan, I think that the company has a unique advantage in developing new technologies that increase sustainability in a way that plays into the incentives of the farmers so that they spread quickly. In the short-run these new, centrally developed technologies can have an outsized impact while the company slowly re-orients its supply chain and policy partnerships towards accountability.
A key question for me here is food waste. Currently, many Kellogg products have “expiration” and “sell-by” dates that don’t actually indicate an underlying health risk in the food, but are just meant to show when the food is ideal to eat. As a result consumers dispose of food that is fine to eat – causing increased waste and greater turnover of Kellogg products without full usage. This is good for Kellogg’s bottom line – they sell more food – but bad for sustainability and the environment. How will they balance this if they choose to use this lever at all to improve sustainability?
Really interesting to see the mortgage process broken down like this. I had heard of companies/startups like Clara and Rocketmortgage looking to digitize the process, with varying degrees of success. And it seems Zillow and Trulia have had some success at the top of the funnel. Clearly the process of digitization depends on both technology and regulation in this space, but if I’m Wells Fargo or any other company involved in this process I’d definitely also be looking at to what extent there can be tradeoffs between digitization and consumer trust. The notary may be more of red tape for the consumer, but if Wells Fargo were able to fully digitize other parts (such as choosing the right mortgage, or getting preapproved), are customers comfortable conducting more and more of the process online or from their phones? Or will people always prefer to work with a real individual in a physical environment for some aspects of this purchase?
The importance of 3-D printing in under-resourced societies is a very potent point to consider. If the technology is effectively dispersed in a broad and accessible way, it seems to have the potential to fill gaps in global supply chains by delivering specialized manufacturing knowledge and capacity without having to import or home-grow specialists. I can see demand shifting from a need for specialized manufacturers, and towards a new class of professionals specifically trained to maintain and quality control 3-D printing operations in many different fields.
From a marketing perspective it’s also interesting to think of 3-D printing becoming a key competitive advantage for companies that can get it right to be able to market themselves on increasingly personalized products outside of medicine. (Jewelry and other wearables come to mind).