The right-to-repair movement has achieved several milestones so far this year, including the introduction of legislation in 21 states and a settlement by Apple in a French class-action lawsuit, writes Kyle Wiens, co-founder and CEO of iFixit. He notes that in the US, both Republicans and Democrats are supportive of right-to-repair measures.
Artificial intelligence can help reverse logistics operations analyze the vast amounts of data they collect to make better decisions and predictions, writes Larry Velman, chief information officer at goTRG. He advises AI users to watch out for unreliable data and make sure they have enough data to reach the best conclusions.
Airstream has more than weathered the coronavirus pandemic, with RV sales hitting records this month and confirming the company's hopes that people would look for a safe way to travel. The company has overhauled operations to ensure production safety, up to and including "issuing full face shields and having fewer people in the units at the same time," says CEO Bob Wheeler.
For-hire truck tonnage dropped 12.2% last month, the largest monthly decline since the April 1994 labor strike, according to the American Trucking Associations. Bob Costello, ATA's chief economist, says fleets carrying goods for grocery stores and online retail saw increased demand, and he predicted the freight market should begin to recover slowly amid reopenings.
Walmart has partnered with online resale company ThredUp to start selling previously owned fashions, accessories and footwear from various brands on its website. Shoppers who spend $35 or more will get free shipping, and buyers will be able to make returns at Walmart stores.
Winsupply has lost some business in states with strict stay-at-home orders and laid off some employees, but its overall financial picture and workforce remain strong, President John McKenzie says. "When pipe goes under the ground, as we say, that usually means the economy is doing well," he says.
Distributors should be looking at business with companies in industries that fared well during the Great Recession, including dollar stores, auto repairs and service, and professional cleaning, writes Michael Wilson, vice president of marketing and packaging at AFFLINK. Any do-it-yourself industry could be worth examining, he adds.
Students at Brown and Stanford universities have created FarmLink, a nonprofit initiative that buys extra produce from farmers and provides it to food banks, preventing waste. FarmLink also arranges trucking for farmers who can't transport produce on their own.
Retailers need to be ready for the surge in returns of online purchases as more states allow businesses to reopen, writes Sarah Jones. Automation can make returns more efficient, while Larisa Summers, senior vice president of marketing and e-commerce at Optoro, says that workers need to be trained in handling returned items safely.
iFixit has release a new database with repair instructions for more than 13,000 pieces of medical equipment including ventilators and anesthesia systems after two months of compiling the information. The database is free and CEO Kyle Wiens says restrictions on such information is "particularly morally fraught during a pandemic."
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