Avnet will buy artificial intelligence software maker Softweb Solutions for an undisclosed sum in a deal that's expected to close before the year's end. Avnet says the deal will strengthen its AI and internet of things businesses while allowing it to deploy new solutions faster.
Internet of things devices are creating opportunities and challenges for logistics companies, increasing transparency and visibility while also bringing new security concerns, writes Thomas Schied of TD Bank Equipment Finance. "Ultimately, the decision to implement an IoT platform and transcend its challenges will come down to each company's willingness to adapt to a system that offers unprecedented levels of information and visibility," writes Schied.
Business-to-business distributors can build rapport with middle-school buyers -- customers that sometimes prefer self-service and other times want hands-on support from salespeople -- by ramping up both of these service areas. To do this, offer a suite of digital tools plus hard-to-digitize services such as repair and assembly.
A BodyBlock AI survey suggests 50% of respondents expect to return clothing purchases or gifts from the holiday season. A separate report from B-Stock predicted that "women's trendy apparel" would be the category with the most returns.
Amazon Renewed will require sellers of refurbished products to receive authorization before they can list their goods as "renewed." Certified sellers will have their goods backed by a 90-day warranty, while other sellers will be able to list products as "used."
Condition-based maintenance is a form of predictive maintenance that uses sensors to show when equipment performance is deteriorating or approaching failure, writes Limble CMMS CEO Bryan Christiansen. Implementation can be expensive and time-consuming, but can improve productivity and reduce maintenance costs.
Modular robotic technology is changing quickly, which is why companies must be selective when making purchases, writes Florence Acuna of KUKA Robotics. "With thorough vetting and a consideration for future needs, electronics manufacturers can successfully implement modular robots to support their long-term business goals," writes Acuna.
Ransomware and spoofing attacks on companies have increased by 350% and 250% respectively this year, writes BDO executive Gregory Garrett, who urges manufacturers to strengthen access controls, hold training for all employees and have a companywide plan for responding to an incident.
Executives must take note of digital technologies, globalization and other trends affecting procurement, write Samir Khushalani and Edward Woodcock of McKinsey. "Putting the right operating model in place for procurement can be a game-changer, doubling the impact of even 'successful' sourcing departments," the authors write.
The hierarchy of controls -- a five-step process to reduce exposure to hazards -- can be applied to cold-weather risks, writes Karen Hamel. "Train supervisors to understand that both temperature and wind chill need to be considered when employees will be outdoors," she writes.
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