The signs held by recent striking fast food employees say, “We are worth more.” They are, in fact, right. Retail employees are worth more, and paying them more can result in higher profits.
Those retailers who doubt this should take a close look at Costco, Trader Joe’s, and QuikTrip Corporation (a convenience store chain). Those firms, according to Zeynep Ton, Adjunct Associate Professor of Operations Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, pay their employees well—and it shows in the firms’ profits.
In the quest for progress, companies continue to explore how technology can interpret consumer data to improve our quality of life. For example, Google continues to push boundaries with its latest invention, Google Glass, designed to display information in a smartphone-like hands-free format and interact with the Internet via natural language voice commands (see video below).
But with this new breakthrough comes increased concerns. Recently, eight members of the House Privacy Caucus sent a letter to Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page concerning the privacy aspects of Google Glass—and for good reason. The new Google Glass technology exposes anyone in the path of a Google Glass wearer to unauthorized photography and monitoring. Unfortunately, the lines are becoming increasingly blurred between using big data to improve our lives and intruding upon our privacy.
Critical studies show that the real work of successful innovation starts and ends with the team, and that the way we build and manage teams is what is truly responsible for the success or failure of “the next big thing” in innovation.
Most teams fail due to a perfect storm of several factors such as lack of effective communication, inefficiency, lack of clearly defined roles and goals, and poor leadership. But even successful teams struggle against these obstacles on a daily basis and still there are others that perform way above and beyond expectations. What do successful teams do differently?
The recent news around Paula Deen demonstrates the bind retailers get into when making deals with celebrity product endorsers—what do you do if (or when) the celebrity finds herself or himself in a scandal?
Many brands, with the notable exception of QVC, have terminated their relationships with Paula Deen—or have at least appeared to sever their ties with her. But making press statements about ending partnerships is slightly different from the actual impact on retail operations. After all, there are still products sitting on the shelves.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been making headlines since it was introduced to the public in 2003. Unfortunately, recent headlines have not been good. Boeing’s manufacturing decisions for their leading-edge airplane present a good case to examine when considering outsourcing versus vertical integration.
As MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Donald B. Rosenfield asks in his class, Developing a Leading Edge Operations Strategy, “How much supply risk is too much?”