Brands already know change is coming. Now they have to know how to imagine it -- and that's where the challenge lies, according to radical Ventures CEO Pascal Finette, a globally renowned futurist who spoke at NRF's Shop.org conference in Las Vegas last month. "You don't have to be a futurist. All you need to know is how to read the signals," Finette told the crowd. Read more.
US municipalities are debating what to do with recyclables, which have become less economical for processors because of China's restrictions on the quality of waste that can be exported there. "Smaller recycling companies aren't able to stay in business and are shutting down," said Richard Coupland, vice president of municipal sales at Republic Services.
Resellers of clothing including thredUP and Yerdle Recommerce are beginning to partner with apparel brands to sell unsold stock. The secondary retail apparel market represents about $20 billion annually and is growing, according to a thredUP report.
Carvana has erected building-size vending machines for its used cars in 14 cities, including Philadelphia, and also offers home delivery for purchases. Customers have seven days to make a return.
Serialization in the supply chain helps protect against counterfeiting and claims about poor delivery or handling, among other issues. Serialization can also help with reverse logistics by managing the location and identification of shipments.
Industry 4.0 presents a dual opportunity to improve existing operations and innovate, write Andy Daecher and Brenna Sniderman. They note a variety of internal goals for digital transformation, as well as variance in what operational functions have moved furthest toward a fully digital state.
J.M. Smucker, General Mills, Mondelez and other food brands are re-evaluating their portfolios as consumer preferences move away from processed foods. This business shift has meant a combination of selling off legacy brands while looking to acquire upstarts, such as Hershey's purchase of Smart Puffs.
Drones, robots and other automated technologies are changing every aspect of the online ordering, packing and shipping process and will eventually lead the way to a completely automated process that might be known as the "physical cloud," Christopher Mims writes.
EnTrans International leveraged visual cues, gamification and other tools to increase engagement in its companywide safety program, writes Karen Czor, director of environmental health and safety. Since the program's launch, EnTrans has reduced recordable injuries by more than 50%, while cutting its rate of such incidents by more than half.
Industry needs to connect with communities locally and globally to rethink education and teach youths the importance of science, technology, engineering and math skills, says Mike Train, president of Emerson Electric. "Hopefully, what we can do is make the education more appealing and more interesting, so it doesn't feel like you have to suffer through those three or four years," he says.