Amazon has been joined by numerous startups and retailers in attempting same-day delivery. The logistics of such deliveries have improved, but cost is a factor, especially as Amazon can make up losses in other areas of its business.
W.W. Grainger is eliminating about 200 management positions and will close some stores, with each move expected to bring millions of dollars of cost savings. "We will only take actions where we create economic value and can serve customers effectively. ... Branches will remain an integral part of the Grainger offer to serve specific purchasing locations," said DG Macpherson, the company's chief operating officer.
Distributors have struggled to fill important positions, Bridget McCrea writes. She suggests an eight-point strategy that includes companies vetting their online presence, using job search boards, forming partnerships with schools and colleges, and using mobile platforms to advertise availability.
McKesson's venture capital arm has funded technology startups in the health care space including ClearCare, Carena and Kyruus. "There are some important problems that need to be solved," says Tom Rodgers, head of McKesson Ventures. "It's exciting to see a lot [of] money and investment finally being dedicated to it."
Business-to-business marketers need to get out from behind their desks and start talking -- and listening -- to customers and their sales colleagues who spend all day interacting with customers, writes Crescendo Content Marketing's Claudine Bianchi.
An e-commerce plan has many components, and a good place to start is by determining key products and working hard to sell those online, says Keith Lambert of Kore Technologies. Ken Dickinson, also of Kore Technologies, says: "Distributors and manufacturers always need to remember who the site is for and what service it should ultimately provide. Also, e-commerce should be positioned as a sales assist. ... They're not about undercutting internal sales people, but expanding sales opportunities."
Nestle has a plan to combat human rights abuses among seafood handlers in Thailand, the company said Monday. Nestle, facing lawsuits claiming it imported fish-based pet food from a supplier that used slave labor and obtained cocoa beans from suppliers that participate in child labor, said it will work "to protect workers from abuses, improve working conditions and tackle unacceptable practices including juvenile and teenage working."
Startups such as SoftWear Automation are developing robots capable of performing basic tasks normally performed by humans, such as sewing around button holes. The technology, however, likely will become more advanced in the future, allowing robots to work beside humans in manufacturing, experts say.
Shareholders of Airgas are getting a good deal in the proposed purchase by Air Liquide, says Airgas founder Peter McCausland. An attractive element of Airgas is its deep connections. "They touch them with direct salesmen, they touch them with industry specialists, they touch them through telemarketing, they touch them through e-commerce, they touch them through stores, with over 1,000 such stores in the country," said Pierre Dufour of Air Liquide.
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