Amazon's wireless automated-ordering device known as the Dash button isn't being used by many of its owners, but distributors can learn from Amazon's customer-focused testing of innovative products, Dirk Beveridge says. "Traditionally, distributors have been caught by the tyranny of the 'urgent,' even though they know that customers will be buying differently three years from now," says Beveridge, author of "INNOVATE! How Successful Distributors Lead Change in Disruptive Times."
Distributors can easily cut costs by focusing on indirect spending that can account for up to half of a company's purchases, Michael Wilson writes. He outlines a seven-point plan to help distributors identify indirect expenditures, secure discounts and find hidden cost-saving opportunities.
FedEx and UPS' average cumulative list rate increases for ground delivery service have been the same over the past 10 years. Shippers comparing prices between the two companies "focus on ground only, giving the carriers more pricing flexibility in other services," said Jack Ampuja, president of Supply Chain Optimizers.
Apple is expanding into the clean-energy business, buying large amounts of hydroelectric, solar and wind power as it seeks to green its operations. However, the company would far prefer to buy clean energy straight from the grid, sustainability chief Lisa Jackson, says.
Staples is emphasizing business-to-business opportunities and incorporating services, among other tactics, as part of its strategic overhaul, says interim CEO Shira Goodman. The company is looking to operate only stores that make money while emphasizing its delivery offerings.
Distributors have the most control over their own costs, making efficiency a priority, Joseph Rinaldo writes. Rinaldo offers advice, including a look at the cost-per-minute formula, for distributors interested in maximizing profit.
To address stock-outs, instances when a product a customer wants isn't on the shelf, Target is focusing on improving on-time delivery by its suppliers. To do this, the retailer is working with transportation companies and suppliers to move product through distribution centers faster and reduce warehouse bottlenecks that slow down goods.
Gap's P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement) program is a 65-hour life skills program aimed at seamstresses in its supply chain. The program, which covers problem solving, financial literacy and other areas, has boosted productivity and lowered attrition rates.
Amazon India had higher gross sales in July than Flipkart, possibly surpassing it as the largest online retailer in India, according to a Livemint report. Flipkart disputes the report, which does not include gross sales from Flipkart-owned Myntra and Jabong.
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