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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Permanent Housing for the Homeless Lowers Health Care Costs

Permanent Housing for the Homeless Lowers Health Care Costs

Better Health Through Housing is a supportive housing program designed to reduce healthcare costs by moving homeless people from emergency rooms into stable housing.

The University of Illinois Hospital decided to participate in this program as part of its health equity mission. Its staff later discovered that besides providing housing, the program improved health and reduced the frequency of expensive emergency room visits.


Video Spotlight: Ted Talk: Housing Is Health


This post is based on a 90.9 WBUR report, To Reduce Chronic Homelessness, a Chicago Hospital Is Treating It as A Medical Condition, by J. Hobson, February 21, 2019; and the YouTube video, Health Equity: Housing is Health | Steve Brown | TEDxRushU, by Tedx, January 16, 2019. Image source: Ingram Publishing

Discussion Questions:

1. Is homelessness an operations issue?

Guidance: The homeless are “customers” of multiple processes performed by many organizations: hospitals, prisons, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, police departments, Medicaid, etc. As a result, they directly influence the operations of these organizations. Very interestingly, the article mentions that to achieve better solutions to the problems experienced or caused by the homeless, it’s better to coordinate processes and resources than to work in silos.

2. How 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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