Shaping the future retail workforce is a challenge that requires blending people and technology and maximizing the benefits of diversity, David Orgel writes. He looks at some strategies that were showcased during FMI's recent Midwinter Executive Conference, which included creating more inclusive workplaces and boosting recruitment and retention efforts.
Yedi Houseware's electric pressure cooker, which made Oprah Winfrey's Favorite Things list in 2019, is just one example of the small electrics the tabletop brand has added to its product list. With more sales in its small electrics now than its ceramics, Yedi is continuing the growth with a coffee maker/grinder and an air fryer with a grill function, which will debut at The Inspired Home Show.
Walmart has found a new way to purchase shopping bags that will save the company $60 million a year, Chief Finance Officer Brett Biggs said during a presentation on the retailer's plans to reap savings from small changes. It will also switch to employee vests made from recyclable materials, and cut $100 million in annual energy costs by changing the way it handles equipment maintenance in stores, he said.
Rent the Runway has hired three supply chain, logistics and transportation executives from Amazon, including Brian Donato, who will be the clothing rental company's chief supply chain officer. Donato will oversee reverse logistics and other areas of customer fulfillment.
Digital identities for physical products will help reduce waste in supply chains and encourage reuse and recycling, says Deon Stander of Avery Dennison, which makes unique digital tags for Ralph Lauren clothing. The technology can also help fight fraud and get people to buy in bulk using reusable containers, says Kate Daly, managing director of Closed Loop Partners' Center for the Circular Economy.
"Cyber is everywhere" at General Motors, says Kevin Tierney, vice president of global cybersecurity, including requirements for the parts provided by suppliers and how autonomous manufacturing processes are protected. "As the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), we need to make sure consumers feel safe and secure," he says.
North Carolina businessman Steve McDaniel owns a manufacturer, a staffing company and one of its former vendors, all in the name of expansion. On-time delivery drives the combined companies' operations rather than price, he says.
The coronavirus outbreak could have longer-lasting effects on global supply chains than earlier crises, so manufacturers need to be prepared, writes Yossi Sheffi, director of MIT's Center for Transportation and Logistics. He recommends five steps, including reviewing suppliers and focusing on cash flow rather than profit.
Transport equipment manufacturer IHI is using Neurala's machine vision platform that relies on artificial intelligence to detect and prevent quality problems. "AI can help make manufacturing jobs more desirable, while it also makes our workers more powerful and effective," says Neurala co-founder and CEO Massimiliano Versace.