Like others in the class, I was also surprised that Tesco allowed stock outs of products to occur for negotiating leverage. For products with few substitutes or for products with strong brand loyalty, passing on higher costs to consumers makes more business sense to me—it is ultimately up to the end consumer to decide if they are willing to pay for a good. In the mid-term, passing along higher costs to the end consumer may result in lower product sales exerting more pressure on manufacturers to adjust their prices. If I were Tesco, I would see this as an opportunity to bolster my private label business, knowing that there could be an opportunity to capture greater market share from price sensitive consumers. In an earlier comment, Juan suggested that in the Tesco could lock in long term contracts to bring down product costs. While in theory this would make sense, I am doubtful that given the uncertainty of what a Brexit agreement will ultimately look like, and the volatility of the GBP that it is in the best interest of the grocer or that of manufacturers to enter into long term agreements.
The internet of things application to pharmaceutical clinical studies seems to offer a lot of potential for clinical studies to incorporate quality of life and functional end points to measure efficacy. Traditionally, these “soft” end points have been hard to quantify but, with new ways of tracking patient vitals and daily activities, drug companies should be able to track patient information that historically was only measured in the hospital setting. Standardization of these metrics and determining significance versus “noise” will be the greatest challenge for Pfizer and other companies employing this technology to clinical studies.
Given the unpredictability of the political environment, I agree with Drew that it would be wise of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and other US natural gas producers supply Medico to invest in ways to store natural gas supply such as liquification. In the near- to mid-term, ETP and other industry players should focus on establishing new trading partners to hedge geo-political risks. In addition, ETP should ensure that they have enough flexibility in their supply chain to quickly dial down production in case NAFTA changes dramatically cuts demand which risks collapsing the natural gas market.
Krauss, Clifford. “Trump’s Anti-NAFTA Stance is On a Collision Course with Natural Gas.” New York Times, June 26, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/world/americas/rick-perry-mexico-gas-energy-industry-electricity-natural-gas.html. accessed December 2017.
Thanks JD for sharing this article. I am impressed by the metrics LVMH tracks as well as the transparency into the performance of their brands against these measures. Regarding your first question, I do not think that the best way to reduce the environmental impact of this industry’s supply chain is to dissuade their customers from buying unnecessary products. Arguably, many of the luxury products that LVMH manufactures are considered unnecessary. In my opinion, LVMH should focus on expanding their offering of products to include more environmentally responsible items, giving consumers the choice to purchase “green” options. In many ways, sustainable goods offer additional product value for consumers and is something that the luxury goods industry could use as an advantage to further differentiate their already exclusive products.
Aileen, thank you for sharing your report on Starbucks’s sustainability initiatives. Like Bill, I found Starbucks’ approach to funding its green initiatives through a bond offering interesting. As we touched on in the Ikea case, measuring the impact of sustainable investments can be challenging and in the case of Starbucks, demonstrating return on investment to investors even harder.
As for your open question regarding the impact of sustainable business practice investment of Starbucks’s market competitiveness, I think in the long term, these efforts will add to Starbuck’s competitive advantage over smaller players. As the leader in the industry, Starbucks has the opportunity to set industry standards for responsible business practices. In the near term, Starbucks could focus on making their customers aware of their high environmental standards, and as a result, add to the brand’s value and enhance customer loyalty.
For those interested, The World Research Institutes, published a series of articles and podcasts on how public companies have funded their sustainable business practices here: http://www.wri.org/blog/2013/03/finding-money-how-businesses-can-fund-environmental-sustainability-projects
This topic reminded me of some of the strategies former GE CEO Jeff Immelt discussed at fireside chat on-campus earlier this fall as well as in his article published in the October Harvard Business Review. In both, Immelt highlighted the importance of the industrial internet for the transformation of the GE business. Specifically, Immelt highlighted the importance of using the industrial internet to collect information on GE’s products and to use this real-world information to win contracts for capital projects. GE’s move into services as a product, as highlighted in this article, should provide GE with valuable customer data that can drive new product development and help GE continue to win high-stakes customer contracts.
Jeffrey Immelt, “Inside GE’s Transformation.” Harvard Business Review, September-October 2017, https://hbr.org/2017/09/inside-ges-transformation, accessed December 2017.
Immelt, Jeffrey. Interview with HBS Faculty. Boston, MA, September 29,2017.