An interesting point on options that Ford has to de-risk its manufacturing options under the scenario that NAFTA gets the axe. Another angle on it that I’d be interested to read an opinion on is whether it might be advantageous for a company like Ford to pursue markets outside of the USA – shipping Ford cars made in Mexico to other countries entirely. Since the USA is responsible for just 25% of the world’s GDP (so says Google), there may be other ways to get their cars into the hands of consumers that don’t involve butting up against unfriendly trade regulations in the USA.
I think your article brings up an interesting question on whether 3D printing will result in industry taking action to localize production to demand. To take this question one step father–do you think 3D printing will result in companies like GE getting out of manufacturing entirely? For instance, imagine a situation where the producer and maintainer of the aircraft (Boeing, or even an airline themselves) has their own 3D printing capabilities, and GE simply sells them the intellectual property needed to print out a jet turbine? Or, could this create an entirely new kind of manufacturing industry–a manufacturer who simply has a factory full of 3D printers, each making parts for a different end user? Could this create a multi-facing market for all manufacturing? Some interesting possibilities.
An interesting take on the things Intel has already done to digitize its supply chain. On the subject of using 3D printing to help reduce the supply chain, I’m interested to know what part of the product could be manufactured this way–the logic gate dimensions on microchips are on the scale of 5 nanometers best 3D printers today have a minimum resolution of about 20 microns (20,000 nanometers). Do you think that portions of the chip’s housing or heat sinks could be 3D printed, or do you envision that 3D printing will eventually get to nanometer-scale resolutions?
I love the potential for the IoT to impact healthcare, but I have one major concern: Who buys the sensor-equipped spoon? If the end user is expected to foot the bill, then how can the price be brought down to an affordable level–I don’t know about everyone else, but I can only afford so many $200 accessories, and I suspect that the average consumer has similar concerns.
Your article is certainly an interesting exploration of some of the things NB will need to consider. One question that came to mind for me was “What is the appropriate baseline to compare against?” That is, should NB hold itself to a firm no-waste standard, or should it compare itself to, say, the environmental impact of bottled water? Is it realistic to expect canned seltzer water to meet such a stringent standard? If so, it begs the question: are we, as consumers, the ones really at fault for non-sustainable product production, by generating market demand for products that, even after great effort, are still not fully sustainable?
I think you hit the nail on the head when you described Reformation as “a white-hot brand that happens to be environmentally friendly”. This is a key distinction for companies that want to source items sustainably–as much as consumers talk about wanting to be environmentally friendly, they aren’t as willing to sacrifice fashion or price to get there. I think that both Tesla and Reformation have this figured out–their primary value proposition to the customer is encapsulated in the product, and the experience that comes with the product, with sustainability an ancillary benefit to the consumers. I think this raises the bar for suppliers that want to be environmentally responsible–they need to prove that they can be just as fashionable and just as profitable as any other company, even while practicing sustainable sourcing.