While it’s understandable that businesses want to withhold information that give them a competitive advantage against their competition, it’s amazing how they can also become collaborative in situations where they need to work together to tackle a common challenge as is the case here. Climate change posses a significant risk not only to RT and given the the current trajectory, it won’t take long for these changes to become major roadblocks in RT’s business. Most of what is done at in the environmental space isn’t new. What is hard is getting buy in from other companies that might not have an equal stake in the game as RT at the moment. In that case, engaging with leaders of other industries that share similar views or pain points on climate change may be a more suitable alliance for sharing their learnings with each other.
With rising wages in China, we’re already seeing many manufacturing jobs come back to the states, while others move to less developed countries in south east ASIA. It might make economic sense sometime down the road to manufacture iphones in the U.S., but there is no clear market advantage to doing so at this point in time. I think a better way to approach the issue of labor is to understand the macro economic and technological trends. In the future, it’s not only manufacturing jobs that will steadily be phased out by digitization and automation. Other jobs that require minimum creativity and human interface such as accountants will be replaced as well. Rather than focusing on bringing back old jobs that are already on the way out the door, the primary focus is to help create business environment that helps foster the development of new job segments.
The thought of buying a 3D printed show is a fascinating one. I think that 3D printing technology will completely change the way manufacturers interact with consumers and how they think about supply chain. Adidas is absolutely right in taking this initiative to lead this transformation. Would you rather be the one leading the disruptive innovation or the one being disrupted. The choice is clear. If Adidas can be successful in this endeavor, then it will unlock a world of opportunities for itself to expand this technology to other areas of its business or even move into other industries with its 3D printing expertise as the competitive edge. I think that we might one day be eating 3D printed foods that we download into our homes let alone a pair of sneakers. I think that day will come sooner than we think.
It’s hard to say if anything is impossible in this day and age. With that said, I think an important question that we as a society must answer is whether this advancement will indeed have its intended effect? Even though a pound of lab grown meat is more environmentally friendly compared to a pound of natural grown meat, will the ready availability lead to lower cost of meat which creates higher demands. I think an alternative solution is to charge carbon taxes associated with beef production, hence driving people towards alternative meat options.
This is a very interesting topic. I am of the belief that as much as businesses try to “donate” the closed to expired foods, this is not a viable approach at a large scale for three main reasons. First, given the perishable nature of food, the company bares a lot legal risk by selling foods so close to their expiration date. Any health issues that can be traced back to the firm will have massive consequences. This leads to the next point which is that food producers want to preserve the firm’s brand image. Working for P&G, our policy was to never even give out the thousands of slightly defective products to the employees, who would gladly use them, for fear that this might damage their brand image and customer loyalty in the long term. The same principal holds true for foods to a much higher degree. Thus I think the producers would not go along with this approach. Finally, giving away or selling food is simply not profitable, thus it would be hard for this approach to gain traction on any scale.
I think predicting demand using digitization certainly has a much better appeal, though I think it too has its limitations. After all, humans are known to be irrational. With that said, I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to reach zero waste but I think advances in biotechnology can significantly increase the shelf life of perishable foods. New methods for packaging and storing foods can also help prolong the food’s shelf life. I think these new technologies, combined with better predictive analytics can have a marked effect on food waste in the long term and will provide economic incentives for mass adoption.
If I look at this through the lens of the British government, the stakes are even higher for the government and the people. Nissan’s successful operation in the UK is main source of jobs for its people and revenue for the state. Losing its competitive edge in the market will have major impact on the economy. I believe that this problem is not only isolated to one automaker or the auto industry. Brexit brings forth the same set of challenges you’ve mentioned across various sectors and it must find a way to work with the business representatives to find a way that can minimize the impact of Brexit.
Forming strategic alliances and looking for alternative sourcing in Europe as you mentioned can be an effective way of gaining leverage with the government. It also will serve as an insurance policy if an agreement with the government cannot be reached.