Specialty Retail
Top stories summarized by our editors
10/17/2019

The Dutch oven is a kitchen wonder that works on the stove, in the oven, on the table and even on display. The best ones have tight-sealing lids, are wider/shorter rather than taller/narrower and have a light-hued interior for checking browning quality, and they'll last longer if users follow some basic cooking and cleaning tips.

10/17/2019

Nordstrom's new New York City flagship will feature the luxury department store's largest beauty department when it opens next week. The two-level department will give shoppers access to both a traditional beauty counter experience and a concept called Beauty Haven that will offer 110 services including facials, blowouts and Botox.

10/17/2019

Customer experience futurist Blake Morgan looks at five US utility companies that have "made major efforts to invest in customer experience through technology and innovative solutions." She writes, "Simplifying communication and finding convenient digital solutions can not only help increase customer satisfaction but also lower internal costs and accelerate growth."

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Forbes
10/17/2019

USAA is working with Google Cloud on an insurance technology project that will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to process photos of minor car accidents. "The images are then analyzed by Google Cloud models in real-time, which makes damaged part predictions that are returned to USAA," says Sean Burgess, general manager for claims and senior vice president at USAA, adding, "Eventually, this will lead to a faster claims experience for our members."

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Forbes
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USAA
10/17/2019

The striking United Auto Workers union and General Motors have agreed on a tentative contract that would close three already idled domestic plants and a distribution site, as well as pay a bonus to many union and temporary workers. The deal requires ratification from UAW members.

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CNBC
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UAW
10/17/2019

US manufacturing output dropped 0.5% in September from August, while industrial production was down 0.4% and retail sales also declined, the Federal Reserve said. It noted that many manufacturers laid off employees due to order declines.

10/17/2019

Manufacturers will have to prepare for increased mass personalization through investment, redesigned value chains and taking on risk, writes Jim Vinoski. "Mass personalization changes the operating model, taking it from competitive to more collaborative," says Sreenivasa Chakravarti of Tata Consultancy Services.

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Forbes
10/17/2019

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck & Co. responded to a ransomware attack two years ago by implementing Gluware network automation tools, making it easier to secure operations and configure its network. "It took us three months to go into production, but now that it's set up we can just go into Gluware and push out an automation function," says Salvatore Rannazzisi of Merck.

10/17/2019

Valve manufacturer Forum Energy Technologies switched from forklifts to revolving carts to move products around its production plant more easily, which created more capacity and improved operator safety. The company also used lean techniques to go to a "production pull" system that saves time and money.

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Forum Energy Technologies
10/17/2019

Downstream and integrated exploration and production oil companies are more likely than upstream firms to have women in senior positions, including functional roles, according to this McKinsey analysis. Challenges remain, including getting women past vice president to more senior positions.

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McKinsey