Quartermaster Corps – Intermission Story (23)

Pacific Paratrooper

I am always remarking on how the military operates as one large chain with every job having an important role in the smooth operations.  Most people concentrate on the front line combat soldier, sailor or Marine and forget what it all must take to not only put him/her there, but to keep their mission in operating condition.

The U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps was responsible for procuring and delivering various supplies to units in all those theaters. No other area proved to be more challenging than the war in the Pacific Theater with its lengthy supply lines.

The first step in the Quartermasters’ duties was procurement, which required more than simply calculating user needs and filling out the correct requisitions. Overcoming numerous hurdles, corpsmen were responsible for making victory possible. Their obstacles started on the home front, where shortages of all basic supplies originated. Further complicating matters was the fact that…

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Why are the Second Avenue Subway’s newsstands still empty?

6SqFt.com

When the city first got a look inside the new Second Avenue Subway stations ahead of the line’s New Year’s Day 2017 opening, one of the shiniest, most colorful elements was the collection of newsstands. Ten months later, however, the kiosks still sit empty, decked out in the signature marketing of rainbow polka dots. According to the New York Times, the MTA says it’s selected an operator for the newsstands, and though they won’t reveal who, claim that they’ll open soon. But is the fact that Q train riders seem overwhelmingly unaware and unaffected by the lack of newsstands a sign that they’re not actually wanted or needed in a time when newspapers and magazines have been replaced by tablets and iPhones and candy and sodas with organic oatmeal and Juice Press?

Though the Transportation Authority doesn’t keep exact records of newsstand numbers, those in subway stations decreased a bit between 2010 and 2015. Today they lease out 111, 20 of which are vacant. Interestingly, though, these kiosks’ revenue has jumped to $86 million last year from $61 million in 2010.

One reason for the uptick may be that the MTA realizes these spaces need “to be relevant and useful to riders today.” For example, in 2015 a start-up called the New Stand, which functions as a sort of curated bodega, signed a 10-year contract with the MTA to operate newsstands in Union Square, Columbus Circle, Brookfield Place, and the ferry system. While they still sell snacks, they also offer items such as collapsible bike helmets, all-natural condoms, fresh-squeezed juice, and designer sunglasses.

Four newsstands were built for the new Second Avenue Subway–one at each of the four stations. But the MTA says the one at the expanded 63rd Street station will be used for other purposes, declining to share any specifics other than that the newsstands will eventually sell both traditional and more trendy offerings.

Of the delay opening, MTA Spokesman Kevin Ortiz said: “We opened the city’s first new subway line in generations knowing that some punch list items would have to be completed after the opening.” And while newsstands are fairly insignificant in the scheme of things, other factors such as safety also fall under this statement. As 6sqft reported last month, when the train opened on January 1st, the fire alarm system had not finished testing and inspections found more than 17,000 defects. And as of August, the train was still operating under a temporary safety certificate

Wal-Mart Stores: Fighting Back

SeekingAlpha.com

Summary

In a world spiraling towards e-commerce which is dominated by Amazon, Wal-Mart is fighting back by reinventing itself as a technology company with physical stores.

Wal-Mart’s secret weapon is its Data Café: a state of the art, analytics hub which is the world’s largest private cloud.

Wal-Mart will enjoy PE expansion if it succeeds at this transformation.
Leverage 55 years of Experience and Assets

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) is the world’s largest retailer with $485 billion revenue in its fiscal year 2017, $14 billion profit after tax, and an operating cash flow of $31 billion. It has over 11, 600 stores in 28 countries. In U.S. alone, it has 4,700 stores which is located within a ten-mile vicinity of 90% of the U.S. population. Effectively, this is a very powerful and cost-effective delivery network as it expands its e-commerce platform.

For the past 55 years, when Sam Walton first founded this discount store in 1962 and disrupted the entire retail industry then, it has grown in financial strength by disciplined growth, capital allocation and delivering an EDLP (Every Day Low Pricing) policy for its customers. Over the past decade, as buying habits are dramatically remolded by online e-commerce, Wal-Mart has lost market share and its revenue growth declined. But it is not dead. On the contrary, it has quietly been amassing assets to fight this inevitable battle for customers’ dollars.
Goal: Transform into a technology company

Big Data and Data Café is at the heart of this transformation. Wal-Mart now can chew and spit 40 petabytes of data, and to give its management and associates “real time” solutions to complex business problems, which in the past, would have taken weeks to compile, compute and analyze. This ability has far reaching benefits: from increased sales, more efficient inventory control, supply chain management, merchandising, efficient delivery options, and climate control and the switching of lights in the stores.

Wal-Mart is using technology both online and offline to maximize the seamless experience for its customers. For example, customers can elect to pick up their online orders at a Wal-Mart location. Instead of having to go inside the store, customers can pick up their order at an automated pickup tower which looms 16 feet tall and holds 300 small to mid-size packages. As the customer walks towards the tower, its doors would automatically open. A screen scans the mobile receipt and the bar code, and disburses the packages. Viola!

Richard Branson on Hyperloop One investment: ‘Going faster than an airline’ on land excites me

CNBC

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has invested in Hyperloop One.

The company, which hopes to build the super-fast transportation system, will rebrand to Virgin Hyperloop One.

The company showed off a full-scale test of its technology earlier this year.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is investing in Hyperloop One, a company developing the super-fast transport system originally dreamed up by Elon Musk.

Hypleroop One is rebranding itself as Virgin Hyperloop One, and Branson is joining the board, the billionaire British investor and entrepreneur announced Thursday on CNBC from London.

Virgin Hyperloop One will focus on a passenger and mixed-use cargo service.

Breaking ground on a commercial hyperloop in two to four years is possible if “governments move quickly,” Branson said in a “Squawk Box” interview. So far, no government has approved a plan for a hyperloop system. The Virgin founder also said that building a hyperloop tube above or below ground is “cheaper” and “faster” than a traditional rail network.

The idea of the transport system — conceived in 2013 by Musk, the head of both electric automaker Tesla and SpaceX — works by propelling pods through tubes using magnets reaching speeds akin to those of airplanes.

“There are consumers, for instance, that would love to go from London to Edinburgh in roughly 45 minutes. And that will be possible” with a hyperloop, he said. “You can have a pod outside your office that you and your colleagues can jump into. The pod can self-drive to the top of the tunnel. It then goes down the tunnel. It connects up and off you go at 600, 700 miles an hour up to your destination, going faster than an airline.”

“As a train owner, ” Branson said, “I felt this is something that I want to be able to operate. At the moment our trains are limited to 125 miles an hour.” His sprawling Virgin Group empire includes a train network in the U.K., as well as airlines and a business to take tourists into space.