Category Archives: Business

How Retailers Can Stay OFF The Closing List

MultiChannelMerchant

In April, Swiss brokerage firm Credit Suisse released a report that sent shock waves through the retail universe. It predicted that more than 8600 brick and mortar stores could shutter before the end of 2017. That would make it the worst year on record for store closures. It’s the stuff of nightmares for retailers.

Whether or not you believe the Credit Suisse analysts are right, you can avoid being one of those stores — all it really takes is providing the experiences that today’s consumers demand. Movie theaters in the 1980s faced a similar environment when home video hit big. The industry feared that once people could rent and watch videos at home, nobody would pay to go to a theater and they would all go out of business.

In April, Swiss brokerage firm Credit Suisse released a report that sent shock waves through the retail universe. It predicted that more than 8600 brick and mortar stores could shutter before the end of 2017. That would make it the worst year on record for store closures. It’s the stuff of nightmares for retailers.

Whether or not you believe the Credit Suisse analysts are right, you can avoid being one of those stores — all it really takes is providing the experiences that today’s consumers demand. Movie theaters in the 1980s faced a similar environment when home video hit big. The industry feared that once people could rent and watch videos at home, nobody would pay to go to a theater and they would all go out of business.

Integrate Ecommerce and POS inventory
Omnichannel shoppers see no difference between your ecommerce and POS offerings and neither should you. Make every store’s inventory visible to online shoppers so that you can take advantage of the “buy online, pick-up in store” model. Integrated ecommerce and POS inventory management systems show real-time availability so consumers do not face unexpected out-of-stocks at brick and mortar locations. If an item is not available at the customer’s selected store, provide fast and free transfer from another store.

Use brick and mortar stores as fulfillment centers
Every physical store should also double as a fulfillment center for web orders. This opens up every item in inventory to sales from any channel and reduces time in transit for ecommerce orders. Orders that are automatically routed to locations closest to customers can reach front doors faster than from a central warehouse, often overnight or within two days without incurring express shipping charges.

Go mobile
It’s official — mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop traffic. If your website does not display properly on mobile devices, you’re missing out on a huge number of consumers. But just displaying properly is no longer enough. Navigation, inventory visibility and checkout must all be optimized for mobile users. This has massive benefits for brick and mortar as well when customers on the go can locate items in your stores; they may even make purchases from inside a competitor’s location.

Automate ordering with vendors
The long-time promise of just in time inventory management finally eliminated worries about out-of-stocks. Set minimum and maximum thresholds for SKUs and let your retail management platform automatically order the right amount of inventory from suppliers at the exact right moment. When you know every product you sell will be automatically replenished before it sells through, you do not have to keep as much inventory on hand and can open up shelf space for additional offerings likely to attract customers. You also don’t have to worry anymore about selling out on popular items and sending frustrated customers home empty handed.

Empower every employee as a checkout
One of the worst things that can happen in a store is when customers with intent to purchase leave upon seeing long checkout lines, or can’t find anyone to take their money. The in-store experience must be as smooth and easy as it is online — consumers are no longer willing to wait. Arm every employee with a tablet loaded with mobile POS software so they can complete transactions, look up inventory, and place customer orders from anywhere in the store.

Personalize direct marketing to customers
Target individual customer segments with the offers most likely to appeal to them through marketing automation. Integrate online and POS customer data to segment personas effectively and send promotions that are personalized to known preferences and likely to bring customers into stores. Specific behaviors should trigger customized messages, and look for opportunities to leverage ecommerce and in-store offerings. For example, an abandoned shopping cart may trigger a reminder message that could also include a note like, “this item is also available at your nearest store, would you like us to hold it for you?”

Expand inventory exponentially with drop shipping
Drop shipping today does not resemble what it looked like 15 years ago. Many vendors offer drop shipping that can use your branding and fulfill lightning fast. Offering items for sale that you do not have hold in inventory opens up your website to endless opportunities and it can also be integrated into “buy online, pick up in store.” Give customers the option of having the item sent to their homes or to their nearest store with no shipping charges. If they select a store, simply have the vendor pack the item along with your next regular order.

The next time you see a headline about a retailer closing stores, refer back to this list. It will become clear that one of the major reasons the merchant is in trouble is because it is not responding quickly enough to the changing demands of modern consumers. Provide the experiences today’s empowered shoppers expect and you will have much less to fear from predictions of impending doom.

GE’s New Global Operations Center only one in U.S.

GE is accelerating the establishment of shared services to deliver better outcomes at lower cost for our businesses and customers. Called Global Operations, It is centralizing and simplifying these services to work smarter and more efficiently. Teams of experts at the Global Operations Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, span many functions, including: Accounting, Finance, Communications, Customs, HR, IT, Legal, Logistics, Project Management, Supply Chain, & Enterprise Data Management. They apply their expertise to business processes to make them simple, fast and more reliable, enabling our colleagues to compete and win in the global marketplace.

Cincinnati is one of the four locations for GE’s Global Operations Centers worldwide, with the other locations in Pudong, China; Budapest, Hungary; and Monterrey, Mexico. The Cincinnati Center currently houses approximately 1,000 people working in functions such as Finance/Accounting, HR, IT, Supply Chain, Legal/EHS and Commercial Operations.

The building features open and collaborative work spaces, including a mix of huddle spaces and workstations, with floor to ceiling windows providing sweeping views of the Cincinnati riverfront and downtown. Flexible and productive workspaces underpin GE’s culture and mission, and add to the overall atmosphere, energy, culture and collaboration. These work spaces are extensions of GE culture and motivate employees to contribute their best while maintaining a good work-life balance. The infrastructure and spaces in the new building supports GE’s culture of FastWorks and Lean and promotes collaboration.

1,800 employees projected to be employed at the Center by the end of 2017
We celebrate diversity! Some interesting statistics about our center include:
21 Nationalities represented
25 Languages spoken
50% women
12% of the new hires in 2016 are Veterans

Anderson New Amtrak CEO

Breaking news from Politco.com

Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman is stepping down at the end of the year, and will be replaced by former Delta CEO Richard Anderson, according to knowledgeable sources and confirmed Monday by Amtrak.

The two men will serve as co-CEOs until the end of December.

Anderson, a 62-year-old former prosecutor from Texas, rose through the ranks of the airline industry to become CEO of Delta in 2007, just as it was leaving bankruptcy.

By the time Moorman steps down, he will have served roughly a year and a half as Amtrak’s CEO.

Moorman is himself a private sector transportation “icon,” said Amtrak chairman Tony Coscia. Both he and Moorman said it was always their plan for Moorman to be a temporary CEO.

“When I came to Amtrak, I had a clear understanding with my wife about how long I could do it,” Moorman said. “And in fact, I have exceeded that, as she points out to me.”

One of Moorman’s tasks, said Coscia, was “to help us recruit a CEO of the company who will serve as a long-term CEO.”

Moorman called Anderson a “superlative” leader and said they’ll be serving as co-CEOs for a half year because, “The one thing he doesn’t know is the railroad business, which obviously is my background.”

“And then I’ll have some ongoing role after that to assist him,” Moorman said.

The news comes during a tumultuous time for Amtrak. It’s just starting emergency repairs to the tracks beneath Penn Station, in the aftermath of two recent derailments there.

Big Retailers And Their “Last Mile” Of Delivery

I run a “promotional” company in Nice, France. Have four folks working for me who you have heard of:

https://penneyvanderbilt.wordpress.com/ Penney Vanderbilt

https://kcjonesblog.com/ KC Jones

https://ancienhippie.wordpress.com/ Ancien Hippie

https://pastachild.wordpress.com/ Pasta Child

We all live in a “cottage” on the street behind the Promenade des Anglais. But we are not on the street. To find us, you must enter a doorway, go past the mailboxes and go into a “courtyard” surrounded by three 6-story buildings.

How do you describe your location to Amazon, Walmart, FedEx and UPS?????

Yes! the phone!! But now I have to stop work and “rescue” the delivery person.

Better idea……a “relais”!!!!

A French word for relay. A “convenience store” I can walk to at my convenience.

Why Did The Penn Central Railroad Fail?

The Penn Central was born amid great expectations and promises on February 1,1968 by the merger of the New York Central System into the Pennsylvania Railroad on that date.

Neither railroad had been forced through the trauma of bankruptcy and reorganization.

With incompatible computer systems ,signal systems, operating styles, and personalities at the top, the new railroad remained essentially two in operation though it was one in name.

1.) PC was forced to pay $125 million for the bankrupt New Haven, which had a negative cash flow.

2.) PC was required to operate well over one half of all the passenger service in the US, which by that time had a monstrous negative cash flow. Amtrak only partly relieved this in 1971, as PC was still saddled with commuter service in the New York and Philadelphia areas.

3.) Freight rates and abandonments were rigidly regulated, preventing PC and others from adapting to market conditions.

4.) The “red” and “green” teams were more interested in “oneupmanship” than creating a viable enterprise. No thought had been given prior to the merger, for example, on compatibility of computer reporting systems.

The merger between the New York Central RR and the Pennsylvania RR was like a shotgun wedding. Both bride and groom hated each other. Yet, there was no other option but to join hands in unholy matrimony, and if this wasn’t bad enough, the bride and groom had to accept the New Haven RR as an unwelcome boarder in their honeymoon suite.

Read More About The Wreck Of The Penn Central Railroad

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/penn-central-a-wreck-of-a-railroad/

US Prepares to Ban LapTops On Flights From European Union

If everybody else has to depend on paper and pencil……Then I will be on top of everything!!!

The U.S. is expected to broaden its ban on in-flight laptops and tablets to include planes from the European Union, a move that would create logistical chaos on the world’s busiest corridor of air travel.

Alarmed at the proposal, which airline officials say is merely a matter of timing, European governments held urgent talks on Friday with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The ban would affect trans-Atlantic routes that carry as many as 65 million people a year on over 400 daily flights, many of them business travelers who rely on their electronics to work during the flight.

The ban would dwarf in size the current one, which was put in place in March and affects about 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East.

Chief among the concerns are whether any new threat prompted the proposal and the relative safety of keeping in the cargo area a large number of electronics with lithium batteries, which have been known to catch fire. American officials were invited to Brussels next week to discuss the proposed ban, the EU said.

European Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said the EU had no new information about a specific security concern.

U.S. officials have said the decision in March to bar laptops and tablets from the cabins of some international flights wasn’t based on any specific threat but on longstanding concerns about extremists targeting jetliners.

Experts say a bomb in the cabin would be easier to make and require less explosive force than one in the cargo hold. Baggage in cargo usually goes through a more sophisticated screening process than carry-on bags.

Jeffrey Price, an aviation-security expert at Metropolitan State University of Denver, said the original ban focused on certain countries because their equipment to screen carry-on bags is not as effective as machines in the U.S.

A French official who was briefed about Friday’s meeting said the Americans announced they wanted to extend the ban, and the Europeans planned to formulate a response in coming days. The official said the primary questions revolved around when and how — and not whether — the ban would be imposed.

The official spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the plan.

Jenny Burke, a Homeland Security spokeswoman, said no final decision has been made on expanding the restriction.

But Homeland Security officials met Thursday with high-ranking executives of the three leading U.S. airlines — American, Delta and United — and the industry’s leading U.S. trade group, Airlines for America, to discuss expanding the laptop policy to flights arriving from Europe.

Two airline officials who were briefed on the discussions said Homeland Security gave no timetable for an announcement, but they were resigned to its inevitability. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the meeting publicly.

The U.S. airlines still hope to have a say in how the policy is put into effect at airports to minimize inconvenience to passengers. The initial ban on passengers bringing large electronics devices into the cabin hit hardest at Middle Eastern airlines.

Emirates, the Middle East’s largest airline, this week cited the ban on electronics as one of the reasons for an 80 percent drop in profits last year. It said the ban had a direct impact on demand for air travel into the U.S. and it faced rising costs from introducing complimentary laptop loans to some passengers.

Alain Bauer, president of the CNAPS, a French regulator of private-sector security agents, including those checking baggage and passengers in France’s airports, predicted “chaotic” scenes initially if the ban was instituted.

“Imagine the number of people who carry their laptops and tablets onto planes — not just adults, but also children,” he told the AP.

He said it would slow passage through security checks as people try to negotiate a way of keeping their laptops.

“It’s not like losing your water bottle or your scissors. It will take more time to negotiate,” he said.

“You need a lot of time to inform them and a lot of time for it to enter people’s heads until it becomes a habit,” he said. “After a week of quite big difficulties, 95 percent of people will understand the practicalities.”

The head of the International Air Transport Association said recently that the electronics ban is not an acceptable or effective long-term solution to security threats, and said the commercial impact is severe.

An industry-backed group, the Airline Passenger Experience Association, said the U.S. government should consider alternatives. That could include routinely testing laptops for chemical residues associated with bombs, requiring owners to turn on their devices, and letting frequent travelers keep their electronics with them.

The group’s CEO, Joe Leader, noted that airlines have reduced service by more than 1 million long-haul seats in the 10 Middle Eastern and North African cities affected by the March policy. If it spreads to Europe, “it’s simply a matter of time” before laptops are banned in the cabins of domestic U.S. flights, he said.

At the Delta area of the Cincinnati airport, a sign warned passengers that beginning Saturday on flights returning to the U.S. any electronic devices other than a cellphone would have to be placed in checked baggage. The airline flies between Cincinnati and Paris.

A Delta spokesman said the sign was posted in error by an employee at the airport. Asked if Delta had anticipated that the in-cabin ban on larger electronics would go into effect this week, the spokesman declined to comment.

Rail Service In Vermont – Brought to you by David Blittersdorf

From vtdigger.org via California Rail News

A recent state Transportation Agency report says a commuter rail service out of Burlington would cost up to $360 million, but one of the state’s energy magnates says he will prove he can do it for far less.

David Blittersdorf, founder of AllEarth Renewables, has already spent roughly $5 million to purchase a dozen train cars for the transit system he envisions, which he said many Vermonters may be able to ride with no fare…

The routes the rail line would follow haven’t been pinned down yet, Blittersdorf said, but one of them is likely between Burlington and Rutland (Vermont).

Mr. Blitterdorf isn’t planning to make money running trains. He plans to make money from development around the stations. Gee! That is what people did a hundred years ago!

UBER’s Rise From SCAB To Superstar

So in case the term is new to you, what is a SCAB?

The Urban Dictionary defines it as: ” A worker, often temporary, who crosses a strikers’ picket line, going to work in place of the strikers.” An example of usage:
“The scabs had their cars egged when they arrived at the factory.”

SCABS used to be looked down on in America.

Well, this is how UBER arrived on the business scene in 2008.

uber03

What happened? First of all, UBER started using a computer “APP” to order a taxi (or whatever you call it in UBERese).

Uber had some financial problems like trying to break into China. But some smart financial persons solved their money problems by modifying their business plan. Now they are in the “self driving car” business.

uber02

Now they are in the “tech elite” of America!

No word about “scab labor” anymore.

They even got invited to Donald Trump’s “tech conference”. This is the same Donald Trump who counts on support of organized labor embracing a “scab company”.

California could not handle testing of self-driving cars, so they relocated to Arizona

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The CSX Railroad Must BE NIMBLE!

Coal likely won’t be a major traffic/revenue for CSX anymore. Coal revenue losses, which have been mounting since 2011, are expected to total $2 billion by year’s end.

So, the Class I needed to develop a strategy to radically change the structure and operation of the coal-dominant railroad for the long term. Enter the “CSX of Tomorrow.” Formally launched in late April and expected to take several years to implement, the strategy calls for realigning the network to de-emphasize coal traffic and optimize the volume-growth potential of the more promising intermodal sector and solid merchandise segment; deploying more high-tech equipment and information systems; pursuing service excellence; and developing a workforce of the future.

csxmap

The idea— and hope — behind the CSX of Tomorrow (CoT): help spur volume growth and increase profitability in the intermodal and merchandise franchises, and yet preserve the business value of coal as it becomes a smaller part of the company’s portfolio.

The Class I aims to develop a Team of Tomorrow (ToT), or a more diverse, versatile and highly skilled workforce. CSXers believe such a team can up the ante on working collaboratively, making decisions quickly, embracing new technologies and finding ways to boost productivity.