Distributors can engage customers and make the most of their trade show spending by knowing their audience and using data to create interesting experiences, writes Nick Simonette, vice president of sales at Czarnowski. Technology, he adds, can enhance the experience but shouldn't replace human interaction.
Tech Data's cloud business grew 38% in the last quarter and will likely continue to grow alongside demand for hybrid cloud services, says CEO Richard Hume. Hume adds Tech Data and partners such as Microsoft Azure will continue to use the business-partner channel and distribution to drive growth.
Machine learning is a must-have tool for supply chain planning because it can be used to optimize the process from end-to-end, writes Shaun Phillips of QAD. Machine learning, he writes, can reduce human input, improve data accuracy and steer informed decision-making.
Retailers that keep records on each purchase, track why returns occur and use that data to improve processes will be more prepared to manage reverse logistics, writes EcommerceBytes co-founder Ina Steiner. Save time by having a system to quickly identify where incoming merchandise should be directed, she adds.
The US watch resale market is growing, with companies such as Raymond Weil partnering with resellers such as TrueFacet to compete with unauthorized resellers. Reselling without a certification process "creates a problem for brands, too, when bad gray-market experiences turn a customer off of a brand for good," says Lauren Calmas, an executive at Troverie.
Retailers are using artificial intelligence, data analytics and mobile apps to reduce the likelihood of returns, identify why items are sent back and process those returns more quickly, writes Meg Conlan-Donnelly. "Sometimes, the key to reducing these returns is as simple as updating product descriptions for clarity and accuracy; but that can only happen if retailers have access to the right data and tools," she writes.
Artificial intelligence is helping automotive manufacturers to produce 3D-printed components that weigh less than alternatives, writes John Hitch. General Motors used Autodesk software to create seatbelt brackets that are 40% lighter and 20% stronger than previous versions.
Reports can help guide process improvement and troubleshooting when they're easy to understand and consistent so that all readers have the same experience, writes Dan Krohnemann of Panacea Technologies. "Reports should not be allowed to be ad hoc, allowing the manipulation of the data or timeframes by the end user to suit their individual custom needs outside of the context of the report," Krohnemann writes.
Human-machine interfaces that keep details to a minimum and are easy to read are the most effective, Dave Perkon writes. "The goal is to quickly show conditions and catch the operator's attention only if there is a problem," Perkon writes.
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