Category Archives: Business

MORPC and Partners Kickoff Regional Corridor Analysis Study

A group of Central Ohio community leaders joined the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) in kicking off a new study aimed at assessing the potential for compact development in our regional transit corridors and how high-capacity transit could better serve residents in the region.

MORPC projects that Central Ohio is expected to grow by up to 1 million people by the year 2050. Insight2050 shows that compact development patterns, characterized by infill and redevelopment, are more responsive to the changing demographics that come with that growth and the increased market demand for smaller residences in walkable, mixed-use environments.

The Regional Corridor Analysis will study a variety of metrics to assess the impact(s) of compact development along five regional corridors, and study the relationship between these corridors and the various types of high-capacity transit technologies, which are defined as transit beyond local or express bus service. Examples could include Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Light-Rail Transit (LRT), Commuter Rail or intercity rail.

“With this focused approach to growth, Central Ohio communities have the potential to capture some of the new market demand, support smart mobility options like those being developed in Smart Columbus, and provide benefits associated with compact development,” said MORPC Executive Director William Murdock. “It also presents the opportunity for high-capacity transportation options that support infill development goals and provide accessible options for residents and employees.”

MORPC is partnering with the City of Columbus, the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), the Columbus District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI Columbus), the Columbus Partnership, Groveport, Dublin, Whitehall, Reynoldsburg, Westerville, and Bexley on the Regional Corridor Analysis study.

For more information on the Regional Corridor Analysis study please visit http://www.morpc.org/our-region/insight2050/index or contact Jennifer Noll at jnoll@morpc.orgor 614.233.4179

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New owner to retire iconic Time Inc. name

The name Time Inc., one of the most iconic in publishing the last 95 years, will soon disappear.

Meredith, which has agreed to buy the publisher of Sports Illustrated, People and Time magazine for $2.8 billion, plans on retiring the Time Inc. name — from buildings, business cards and everywhere else, sources said.

The only place it will remain, in part, is on Time magazine.

Word of Time Inc.’s upcoming move to the scrap heap was delivered by Thomas Harty, Meredith’s president and chief operating officer, at an “integration meeting” at the New York publisher’s downtown Manhattan offices.

Time staffers were said to be flabbergasted.

“The name Time Inc. comes off the building on Day 1,” Harty said.

WHAT A SHAME. It is such a classic magazine. Hope their other magazines go bust.

Subway chooses STI for European logistics

LogisticsManager.com

STI UK acts as the European control tower, managing the supply chain of the sandwiches across Europe with the exception of STI Sweden.

The contract will be on behalf of STI’s client IPC Europe, an independent purchasing organisation for Subway franchisees.

“Our European network gives us the possibility to serve Subway’s various regional markets quickly and efficiently”, said Roy Evans, business development manager at STI UK. “STI Freight Management’s dedication to quality and the diversity of its available equipment are some of the elements that make the organisation so attractive to IPC Europe.

“Our aim is to be more than just a transport service provider. We see ourselves on the journey to becoming strategic partners, always looking to foresee and offer solutions to IPC Europe’s logistical challenges.”

What is wrong with the railroads? The Lehigh Valley!

As you may know, our company promotes RAILROADs. We also cover the “supply chain”. Recently I read a story in “Supply Chain Dive” about “How to become the next big logistics hub”.

I thought longingly about the old Lehigh Valley Railroad

Now it is long gone, but all the stories in the article and all pictures of fullfillment centers DID NOT INCLUDE RAILROADS.

Think I found my answer:
A warehouse in Allentown can offer same-day delivery to five cities
City Estimated travel time by Truck
Baltimore 2 hours and 40 minutes
Philadelphia 1 hour and 15 minutes
Pittsburgh 4 hours and 30 minutes
New York City Between 2 and 2.5 hours
Washington 3 hours and 30 minutes

The area served by the companies in the Lehigh Valley is very short transit. But it is ALL SERVED BY HUGE TRUCKS. Guzzeling all kinds of diesel fuel. Making roads IMPOSSIBLE.

Would think that a “short line” capable of running 5 trains a day could cover all this turf without without fouling the environment forever.

Part of the problem is the five receiving rail yards in the five cities mentioned are not geared for TODAY. They cannot even handle what they could 50 years ago! Sidings are gone! Access tracks have been ripped up. The whole infrastructure has been fouled up and handed over to the evil “18-wheelers”.

Most of what is shipped out of the Lehigh Valley comes out of “industrial parks”. Easy to lay new track! Most everything shipped is in CONTAINERS anyway.

How to get these five old and tired cities to handle incoming rail traffic??? Build new terminals! Yes, New York is a problem. Cross-harbor car ferries never were the “idea of the century” anyway.

Amazon Fresh is shutting down in some neighborhoods, including ones in Connecticut

Amazon is pulling the plug on Fresh, its grocery delivery service, in parts of nine states throughout the country. So, if you live in certain parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and California, you’re out of luck.

Maybe you are IN LUCK! You can do better in Connecticut with Stew Leonards

But if you live in major cities, like New York City, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, it seems that you’ll still be able to access Fresh, an Amazon spokesperson told us.

The shutdown of Fresh in some parts of the country comes a few months after Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, though, Amazon said what’s happening with Fresh is unrelated to the acquisition. Just last month, Amazon announced the impending shut down of Wine, which originally launched in late 2012.

Stew Leonard’s now delivers groceries to your home

In all the places I have ever lived, the best place to buy your groceries was in Connecticut. STEW LEONARD’s

Sick and tired of how you can get verything you ever wanted
delivered to you by AMAZON and WAL*MART

If you are a fan of Stew Leonard’s, then we have got some good news.

You will now be able to get your groceries delivered right to your door. The grocery store has launched a new service called ‘Stew’s Fresh Delivery.’

The chain announced that every Stew Leonard’s, including the stores in Norwalk, Danbury and Newington will deliver.

But, you will have to live within a 20 or 30 minute drive of the Stew Leonard’s store to be eligible for delivery. (that covers a lot in a small state).

Hope the local media in their area will support them rather than give free advertising to Amazon, Wal*Mart (and Apple)

CSX Upheaval Risks Throwing It Off Track

Bloomberg

Three top executives don’t leave a company when everything is going swimmingly.CSX Corp., the railroad that replaced its CEO with storied cost-cutter Hunter Harrison amid pressure from an activist investor, announced more management upheaval on Wednesday. The $47 billion company’s chief operating officer, chief marketing officer and general counsel are all stepping down. I find it hard to believe this reshuffle was planned far in advance because the changes forced CSX to delay an investor conference that had been scheduled for next week. The meeting now won’t happen until February, Harrison told Bloomberg News. I hope analysts’ and shareholders’ flights to Palm Beach, Florida, are refundable.
WATCHING AND WAITING

It’s not clear what prompted the executives to leave, but their exit strikes me as a loss for CSX — not least because two of the three departing executives are women whose jobs will now be filled by men. There’s something to be said for keeping a little institutional knowledge around, particularly in light of the cascade of customer complaints sparked by Harrison’s aggressive push to implement his strategy for making the railroad run more efficiently. The disruption from delayed shipments and service shortfalls was significant enough that the Surface Transportation Board held a hearing over the degradation in CSX’s customer experience earlier this month.
“Overplayed”
While CEO Harrison tried to pass off the issue of service disruption as “overplayed” in July, it was significant enough that CSX had to walk back its forecast for the year.

New CEOs bring in their own teams all the time, but public commentary would seem to point to these departing executives at least being willing to try things Harrison’s way. Outgoing chief operating officer Cindy Sanborn and chief marketing officer Fredrik Eliasson, for example, gave glowing remarks about Harrison’s strategy to Bloomberg News in June. Harrison signed only a four-year contract with CSX and the septuagenarian has been dogged by questions about his health. He has a short period to set CSX on a sustainable path to increasing profitability, and someone else will have to take over the controls whenever he retires.It now appears that person is going to be just-hired chief operating officer James Foote, one of Harrison’s lieutenants while he was at Canadian National Railway Co. I’m sure someone with Foote’s decades of experience is perfectly qualified, but he hasn’t spent a day working at CSX in at least the past decade and Harrison has already essentially crowned him the heir apparent. In an interview with Bloomberg News, he said Foote’s appointment is part of a long-term succession plan. Why him and not the “rock stars” Harrison has said he’s unearthed at CSX during his tenure?
When a High Score Isn’t Good
CSX’s operating ratio was the worst among the top North American railroads in 2016. It can obviously improve but how much is a matter of debate.

Harrison has laid some of the blame for CSX’s service setbacks on employees who were resistant to change and the low morale created by a plan to cut 1,000 management jobs that was announced before his official hiring. That’s always been a bit of a rich criticism considering he’s targeting 4,500 job cuts this year (including the above slashing) and has done away with some safety-based procedures such as nap breaks. I can’t imagine this latest slap-down of internal talent will do much to improve morale, either.Shareholders aren’t always concerned about employees’ feelings, but they do pay attention when flagging morale translates into service issues that erode profits. And this latest bit of upheaval at CSX raises questions about whether or not those setbacks have really faded into the past.

IBM is using the blockchain to speed up and simplify cross-border payments

The blockchain has long been seen as a method to quicken (and cheapen) cross-borders payments, and now that movement — which includes a number of startups making moves privately — just got its highest profile advocate after IBM announced its own solution focus on banks.

The computing giant has teamed up with blockchain startup Stellar and payment company Kickex to launch a cross-border payment system for banks which uses the blockchain to “reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers.”

Currently, international transactions take days, if not weeks, to be completed. Frustration with that has seen services like TransferWise rise, but, great as they are, they remain solutions for savvy consumers or small businesses rather than all.

A blockchain solution for banks addresses the root cause, and it could minimize the potential for errors thanks to the ledger-based system while also providing transparency and flexibility to banks.

In one example, IBM said its service could be used to connect a farmer in Samoa with a buyer based in Indonesia, while covering more than just the payment itself.

“The blockchain would be used to record the terms of the contract, manage trade documentation, allow the farmer to put up collateral, obtain letters of credit, and finalize transaction terms with immediate payment, conducting global trade with transparency and relative ease,” it said.

That’s the longer term objective but already the system is being used in 12 currency corridors between the Pacific Islands and Australia, New Zealand and the UK. It is tipped to handle 60 percent of cross-border payments from South Pacific’s retail industry within the next year and there are wider plans beyond that.

More than a dozen banks are part of the initial group working with the program, which has plans to expand into South America, Southeast Asia and other areas early next year.

“With the guidance of some of the world’s leading financial institutions, IBM is working to explore new ways to make payment networks more efficient and transparent so that banking can happen in real-time, even in the most remote parts of the world,” Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President of IBM Industry Platforms, said in a statement.

The system runs on the IBM Blockchain Platform, which itself is based on the open source Hyperledger Fabric that powers IBM’s “Blockchain as a service” announced earlier this year. It is also an notable example of a public blockchain (IBM) working with a private blockchain (Stellar) since Stellar handles the actual settlement of transactions, as CoinDesk noted.

IBM recently partnered with Walmart and others to use the blockchain to improve food safety through increased transparency and traceability.

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.