Oklahoma City OKs $24.9 million contract to buy five streetcars from Brookville

The Oklahoma City Council last week approved a $24.9 million contract to buy five streetcars from Brookville Equipment Corp. for the MAPS 3 Modern Streetcar system.

A conceptual image of an Oklahoma City Streetcar vehicle
Source: Oklahoma City website

The agreement also includes an option to buy a sixth vehicle, city officials said in a press release.

The electric streetcar vehicles will be powered by overhead wires and batteries. The system’s rails are flush with the street, and passengers will be able to board on accessible platforms and stations along the route, city officials said.

Last week’s contract is based on Brookville’s second-place proposal in last year’s competitive proposal process. The council initially approved negotiations with the proposal process winner but moved on to Brockville after the winner missed contract deadlines.

The $132 million MAPS 3 Modern Streetcar system will link downtown Oklahoma City, Bricktown, Midtown, Automobile Alley and other areas in the city’s urban core.

Rail construction is expected to begin late this year.

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Thana Alexa & Jorge Roeder: The Wanderer (Goodbye Pork Pie Hat)

Jazz You Too

Thana Alexa rewrote Charles Mingus’ song “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” for some good reason. During a jazz course on improvisation she learned the song, it had really a strong impact on her, the need to express all that she was going through came naturally, so the vocalese and the words were put together, the song’s new title became The Wanderer.

Ode to Heroes (Jazz Village) CD Release Party   March 23, 2015   SubCulture NYC
Thana Alexa – voice & lyrics
Jorge Roeder – bass

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Remembering Nancy Reagan

Working where I do, I found out early on the importance of the General Electric Company in the life of my manager.

Last fall, the National Geographic Channel launched a new television series called “Breakthrough,” focusing on scientific discovery. The series was developed by the channel and GE, and produced by Oscar winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

But “Breakthrough” was not the company’s first brush with Hollywood. In 1954, it hired actor and future President Ronald Reagan to host a national TV show called “General Electric Theater.” Former first lady Nancy Reagan appeared in four episodes as an actress, and their “all-electric” home was the star of two more segments. The whole family, including Ronald Jr., then 31/2 years old, and Patricia, 9, greeted viewers during the Christmas Eve episode in 1961. Nancy Reagan died last March. She was 94.

mage: The whole family, including Ronald Jr., then 31/2 years old, and Patricia, 9, greeted viewers during the Christmas Eve episode in 1961. Above: Reagan and future first lady Nancy Reagan opened their “all-electric” house in Pacific Palisades, California, to TV cameras while it was still under construction. Image credit: Museum of Innovation and Science Schenectady

Other stars on the show, which aired every Sunday at 9 p.m. on CBS television and radio until 1962, included Fred Astaire, Lou Costello, James Dean, Joan Fontaine, Ernie Kovacs and others. By 1956 it was the third-most-popular show on American television, reaching over 25 million viewers every week.

Don Herbert, the creator and host of the iconic educational series “Mr. Wizard,” was Reagan’s “progress reporter,” gathering news on GE’s “contributions to progress through research, engineering and manufacturing skill,” according to a story published in The Monogram, a GE magazine.

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Over eight seasons, Reagan and Herbert crisscrossed the country and visited more than 130 GE labs and factories. They reported on everything from jet engines — the technology was barely a decade old back then — to the future of electricity. Several broadcasts in 1956 even took place inside Reagan’s brand-new “all-electric” hilltop home in Pacific Palisades, California, as part of GE’s “Live Better — Electrically” marketing campaign. The Reagan residence served as the model home, “pointing the way to the electrical future.”

“It wouldn’t be same house without the lighting, which is so unique and beautiful … the real thrill comes with sundown when the lights come on,” future first lady Nancy Reagan told The Monogram.

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Critics liked the show, too. The Boston Herald opined that “apparently the people at GE assume that we are not idiots and are interested in some intelligent facts about their company and its work. It won’t start a trend but we thank them anyway.”

“General Electric Theater” and Ronald Reagan signed off for the last time in 1962. “We have tried consistently to put on the very best stories available using the best actors and actresses, directors and producers we could find,” Reagan wrote in The Monogram. “We on the ‘Theater’ believe that year in and year out, we have had the highest-quality half hour on television.”

 

Omnichannel Drives Fulfillment Costs

As retailers struggle to meet the challenges of the omnichannel consumer that wants everything now, reality is setting in: this stuff is expensive to execute. Recent research summarized on the Supply Chain Matters site by Bob Ferrari shows how order management and fulfillment costs are growing.

 

There is yet another research study reinforcing the high costs that retailers and their supply chain’s bear in supporting today’s Omni-channel online customer fulfillment requirements. A study conducted by EKN Research in partnership with Aptos, Inc. adds additional data reinforcement of the higher costs and added complexities being driven by today’s Omni-channel requirements.

We raise awareness to this study because EKN describes itself as a boutique research advisory firm catering to the retail, consumer goods and other services industries.

According to this study, retailers spend 18 cents of every dollar of revenue in satisfying current customer expectations related to Omni-channel fulfillment. The study revealed 8 in 10 retailers indicating in increase in order management and fulfillment costs compared to the prior year, with an average year-on-year increase of 5.07 percent.

That finding is consistent with other conducted surveys related to Omni-channel customer fulfillment. As Supply Chain Matters readers are aware, the 2015 holiday period presented retailers with higher parcel transportation and logistics costs since both FedEx and UPS elected to raise shipping and surcharge rates just prior to the beginning of the fourth quarter. Added to these unplanned costs were those associated with trying to support a seamless Omni-channel customer experience with processes and systems that were not originally designed to do so. We recently called reader attention to the third annual PwC Viewpoint study involving 300 retail and consumer goods CEO’s that concluded that less than 20 percent of Retail CEO’s believe that they are fulfilling orders profitably, while the majority of these executives were still attempting to breakdown the organizational silos that were hampering a singular Omni-channel customer fulfillment process.

EKN researchers found that many retailers struggle with inconsistent or undefined workflows for each order type which leads to inconsistencies on order management. An observation in the report indicates:

In the next 12-24 months, 23% of retailers plan to offer next-day delivery, and same-day shipping is expected to reach 75% saturation. With speed comes complexity. And complexity tends to put severe pressure on the entire organization. In the past, when face with competitive pressures for speed and/or flexibility, too many retailers responded with processes that were thrown together quickly, with an eye to fulfilling customer service expectations and much less regard for scalability, efficacy or cost.”

Further noted were three challenges that are of the highest concern, which include:

  • The need to improve order cycle time productivity.
  • Alignment of inventory, order and supply chain operations as retailers are forced to be more reactive to quickly changing customer fulfillment needs.
  • Broader visibility across order functions and processes because of existing sales channel silos or lack of standardized processes across channels.

More and more of this survey data continues to consistently point to the need for unified leadership, strategies and initiatives related to Omni-channel fulfillment, supply chain response and systems support strategies.