Blockchain is a popular buzzword, but many people are still learning exactly what it means, how it works and why it matters to retail. To put it simply, "it's a single, immutable, unchangeable ledger that everyone uses," said Scott Likens, new services and emerging tech leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. On NRF's Retail Gets Real podcast, Likens helps simplify the technology and discusses current and future implications of blockchain for the retail industry. Listen.
Mars Supply, a Minnesota-based company founded in 1924, adopted the Entrepreneurial Operating System to get everyone in the organization focused on the same goals of better accountability and clarity. The company aims to be innovative and efficient, but also customer-intimate, which means offering custom services such as three daily deliveries to those who cannot wait until the next day.
South Korea will implement a revised Automobile Management Act, also known as the Korean lemon law, in 2019 to strengthen consumer protections related to defective cars. The law requires committees of automotive professionals to determine the causes of automobile problems and determine replacement or refund eligibility for cars they review.
Modifying customer service to correspond with a buyer's predominant personality type improves transactions, Fred Chua writes. He reviews four types of temperament -- aggressive, passive, expressive and analytical -- and provides recommendations for adjusting customer service for each one.
Citizen Watch has released an app called My Citizen that allows users to register for warranties after taking pictures of the watch. The app can also connect users to customer service, send product alerts and display user manuals.
Companies can begin using analytics to inform improvements by first gathering metrics and creating use cases with corresponding goals, such as improving asset reliability while cutting costs, Patrick Fetterman of LNS Research writes. "By focusing on straightforward use cases, a company can easily forecast and track the ROI for analytics," he writes.
The latest generation of robots are equipped with 3D perception, tactile sensing and other capabilities that allow them to manipulate objects like never before, writes Nikolaus Correll, chief technology officer and founder of Robotic Materials. Correll explores these technologies and the implications for robotic gripping.
Project improvements and other upgrades may reduce costs and result in other benefits, but if they don't solve the problem, they're not worth the investment, argues KCE Consulting's Robert Simonis. Simonis cites projects in which equipment should've been eliminated instead of optimized.
Industry 4.0 is characterized by a high degree of connectivity, which means manufacturers, suppliers, businesses and other parties have to work together to create a secure environment, writes Andrew Howard of Kudelski Security. "A good rule of thumb and a sound approach for enterprises is to always adopt an evolving security posture," he writes.
A capstone research project by students at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics explores how companies can use demand sensing to increase forecasting accuracy. There isn't a single approach, and the results may vary by company type, write Evan Humphrey and Federico Laino.