Specialty Retail
Top stories summarized by our editors
12/15/2017

Williams Sonoma currently offers the Plum countertop wine dispenser on its website, but starting early next year, it will be available in its brick-and-mortar stores, as well as in its catalog. "Williams Sonoma caters to precisely the kind of customers that Plum was created for -- people with an appreciation of design and workmanship, that love to cook and entertain," said Plum founder and CEO David Koretz.

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The Gourmet Retailer
12/15/2017

The Osaka French Press is designed to give coffee lovers total control over their coffee experience by featuring a mechanism that completely separates grounds from the coffee to prevent over-extracting and keep stray grounds out of morning mugs. The Kickstarter-funded coffee maker can make cold, dark, hot, light or medium brew.

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Techaeris
12/15/2017

Vitamix blenders are expensive, but the cost is justified because these very high-powered blenders easily complete jobs others blenders fail to finish, reviewer Lauren Corona advises. There are several models, and home cooks can choose which model best fits their budgetary, high technology and ease-of-use needs.

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Vitamix, Vitamix
12/15/2017

Landing.AI, a startup specializing in artificial intelligence integration, will focus on quality control and product yield, says founder Andrew Ng, formerly with Baidu and the Google Brain project. Ng expects AI to improve visual inspection accuracy and free up workers to make strategic decisions.

12/15/2017

Artificial intelligence and the internet of things have potential in many fields, such as reducing unplanned downtime and improving operational efficiency in manufacturing, according to this Deloitte analysis. "For instance, for GE's drone and robot-based industrial inspection services, the company is looking to AI to automate both navigation of inspection devices and identification of defects from the data captured by them," write David Schatsky, Navya Kumar and Sourabh Bumb.

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Deloitte Insights
12/15/2017

Enterprise software's role in providing mobility, usability and connectivity to digital transformation was the focus of three 2017 IFS studies. The people managing processes are critical to successful outcomes, no matter what technology is used.

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Plant Services online
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Enterprise software, IFS
12/15/2017

Don't assume planned downtime for maintenance will be low risk, as employees will be engaging in unfamiliar tasks, writes Karen Hamel of New Pig Corp. Prevent injuries by providing specialized training for situations such as confined spaces.

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EHS Today
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Karen Hamel
12/15/2017

One example of a smart onboarding tool is a digital workplace platform that can provide training materials immediately, so new manufacturing hires don't have to wait for an in-person training class, Will Eadie of WorkJam writes.

12/14/2017

Walmart will offer its 1.5 million US employees financial planning tools that will let them access part of their pay before payday, in an effort to help them avoid payday loans and bounced checks when unexpected expenses crop up. Employees will be able to access the Instapay tool eight times per year for free.

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Walmart
12/14/2017

Sobeys will rebrand about 65 of its namesake and Safeway stores in Western Canada and transition them to its FreshCo discount grocery banner starting next year, the company said. The supermarket operator has 91 FreshCo stores in Ontario and it's expanding the concept as the discount arena grows more competitive with concepts from Loblaw, Costco and Walmart.

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FreshCo, Safeway, Sobeys, Costco, Walmart