The Auto Industry Is Running Out of Gas

The Auto Industry Is Running Out of Gas

America’s love affair with cars is losing its steam.

As city living makes a comeback and new transportation options emerge, the appeal of buying a new car fades. After decades of growth and record years, auto sales may have reached a peak or will get there soon.

The auto industry is trying to prepare itself for an inevitable decline and is investing in mobility services and self-driving cars. This worldwide trend marks the end of an era and the beginning of a quest for the next disruptive innovation.


Video Spotlight: Peak Car?


This post is based on a Bloomberg article, Car Troubles: This is What Peak Car Looks Like, by K. Naughton and D. Welch, February 28, 2019; and the YouTube video, Peak Car?, by Financial Times, January 26, 2014. Image source: Ionut Iordache/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1. What factors have contributed to the decline in private car sales?

Guidance: Factors include increasing numbers of people migrating to large cities where cheaper and more convenient transportation options abound; higher car prices; scarcity and cost of parking; young people’s dwindling interest in driving; and a growing elderly population for whom driving has become risky and stressful.

2. Continue reading

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Mercedes-Benz Monitors Sustainability with Blockchain

Mercedes-Benz Monitors Sustainability with Blockchain

March 17, 2019

Mercedes-Benz is piloting a blockchain to monitor sustainability across their supply chain.

This blockchain will deal with sustainability issues that are part of its suppliers’ contracts.  Contract obligations include working condition, human rights, environmental protection, safety, and business ethics.

The blockchain will provide transparency throughout the entire supply chain on issues of sustainability.  If a sub-supplier deviates from one of the standards, it should become visible in the blockchain.

This post is based on the CIPS Supply Management article, Mercedes Tests Blockchain to Improve Supply Chain Transparency, by Will Green, February 25, 2019. Image source: Shutterstock / NicoElNino

Discussion Questions:

1. Why use blockchain for sustainability?

Guidance: Blockchain allows an efficient mechanism to track various sustainability issues, such as those articulated in the Mercedes-Benz supplier contracts.  It will now be possible to quickly trace parts back through the blockchain to determine if sustainability criteria have been successfully meet.  It will also allow other members of the supply chain to see the sustainability efforts of other supply chain members, without sharing competitive information.

2. What problems do blockchains present for sustainable operations?

Guidance: Probably one of the biggest issues is the acceptance of Continue reading

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Synthetic Milk Could Replace Milk

Synthetic Milk Could Replace Milk

March 10, 2019

Perfect Day Foods is planning to produce a synthetic milk that is very similar to milk.  The company even claims that their synthetic milk taste more like milk than real milk.

The firm uses a fermentation process to product the synthetic milk. Its product is gluten-free, soy-free, lactose-free, and nut-free.  It’s also more environmentally friendly, as the production of milk from plant-based material is more efficient than traditional milk production.


Video Spotlight: Changing the Dairy Industry by Perfect Day


This post is based on the NBC News article, Fake Milk Is Real News, As Synthetic Alternatives Threaten Traditional Dairy Farms, by Cassie Slane, February 19, 2019, and the YouTube video, Changing the Dairy Industry by Perfect Day, by Slush, December 5, 2017. Image source: © McGraw-Hill Education/Jack Holtel

Discussion Questions:

1. What potential problems to the supply chain does Perfect Day Foods’ synthetic milk cause?

Guidance: Perfect Day Foods’ process is potentially a disruptive technology.  It could change how milk is produced.  Current dairy production could be replaced, along with its current supply chain.  Dairy farmers are already facing falling prices and competition from other plant-based milks.  Details regarding this Continue reading

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