Smaller manufacturers shouldn't let technical jargon intimidate them, writes Stevie Hay of Aptean. It may not be realistic to hire a chief data officer, he writes, but cloud-based manufacturing execution systems can help smaller companies learn more about their operations and improve decision-making.
Supply chain transformation is most successful when a manufacturer starts with a comprehensive vision, assesses performance and creates a transformation road map, according to this McKinsey analysis. "The vision will call for a combination of no-regrets improvements as well as more speculative changes that can be pursued over time," the analysts write.
Manufacturing training programs in the US need to emphasize adaptive skills more than conventional hard skills, writes Justin Rose of Boston Consulting Group. "To create the next-generation workforce, we have to go beyond teaching the technical skills required by today's manufacturers and technologies and teach the adaptive skills that will be needed tomorrow," he writes.
The first class of Rockwell Automation's Academy for Advanced Manufacturing provided manufacturing training and job placement opportunities for 14 veterans. CEO Blake Moret says the program accomplished training, providing manufacturers with skilled workers and making progress toward solving the manufacturing skills gap.
Most shopping still occurs in physical stores, and holiday retail sales in 2017 are expected to grow by 4% over 2016, to up to $682 billion, the National Retail Federation predicts. However, retailers must still be competitive by offering a better omnichannel presence and by offering consumers a reason to enter their stores beyond value and selection.
Mall owner GGP has debuted a number of changes to Towson Town Center near Baltimore ahead of the holiday shopping season, including the addition of a high-tech parking system and a new entrance. GGP is also working to add a craft beer bar, a millennial-focused shop and possibly office space.
Vancouver Mall in Washington just turned 40 and is remaining competitive by offering more amenities, such as device charging stations, Wi-Fi and family-centric options. The mall has also added experiential options, including a lounge area for the Cinetopia Vancouver Mall 23 multiplex and Mythic Escapes, which has a game-filled escape room.
Nordstrom Local, the first showroom-style boutique from the upscale department store, has drawn thousands of customers for manicures, tailoring services and stylist consultations since opening four weeks ago, the retailer said. The shop is one example of a growing trend as retailers turn to smaller spaces and focus on experiences to win shoppers in the digital age.
Best Buy raised its fourth-quarter same-store sales growth forecast to between 1% and 3%, which is still lower than the 5.4% and 4.5% reported in the second and third quarters, respectively. Competition for electronics sales ramps up during the holiday season, and Best Buy's sales growth typically slows as rivals including Walmart, Target and Amazon roll out deals.
Activist investor Sandell Asset Management has proposed a debt-backed plan that would take Barnes & Noble private and value the retailer at around $650 million, sources said. The retailer said the offer isn't "bona fide" as it lacks the participation of chairman and founder Leonard Riggio, who owns an 18% stake in the company.