“The Great American Logistics Machine” Catches the Coronavirus

“The Great American Logistics Machine” Catches the Coronavirus

June 30, 2020

Logistics – the seemingly simple process of moving goods from Point A to Point B – has been an American strength and continually improving science.  Witness the ability of Amazon to deliver in as little as 2 hours in some markets.

The public has taken this capability for granted.

But now, in the Coronavirus era, we are experiencing rationing of meat, shortages of basic goods (paper products) and necessary ones (masks, drugs).  Even for products and ideas not invented here, starting with the industrial revolution and most currently demonstrated by the smartphone, Americans improved and mass marketed better products in smoother supply chains.

How else could Walmart serve 200 million customers a year across 11,000 stores?

Even the remarkable performance of Amazon is enabled by Google mapping of the earth.

The much maligned U.S. postal service delivers more letters per employee than any other country in the Group of 20 (per this 2012 Oxford study).  The historical success of the public-private partnership that landed a man on the moon 51 summers ago is now struggling to deliver testing kits despite a much publicized appearance of industry leaders with the President in the Rose Garden.

The Continue reading

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Hotels Plan Capacity and Cleaning Processes

Hotels Plan Capacity and Cleaning Processes

June 29, 2020

Hilton partners with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic as it repositions its strategy around the core competencies of “clean and safe.”

Other hotels are similarly redesigning strategies and services to meet the return of travelers in a post-coronavirus age.

In this new world of hospitality management, cleanliness is likely to be the customer’s biggest priority, and hotels are preparing to meet those needs in ways never before imagined.

Traditional hotel staples like breakfast buffets, make-your-own waffles, and freshly baked welcome cookies may be replaced with “to go” offerings in sealed bags or packaged cookies provided in hotel rooms.  Cleaning technologies like electrostatic sprayers that use hospital-grade disinfectants and ultraviolet light technology may be use to clean public areas as well as rooms.  Restrictions on the number of riders on elevators and digital keys that allow guests to enter rooms using their cellphones are likely to also become the norm.


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This post is based on the LA Times article, After coronavirus: Your next hotel stay may look Continue reading

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Wendy’s: Where’s the Beef?

Wendy’s: Where’s the Beef?

In the 1980s, Wendy’s ran a very successful advertising campaign with the now-famous phrase, “Where’s the beef?”

This phrase has taken on new meaning as just under 20% of the company’s restaurants are out of beef.  Obviously, this is a difficult problem as Wendy’s is famous for its hamburgers.

The problem traces its origins to meat processing plants that are shut down, or are shutting down due to problems with a large number of workers contacting coronavirus.  These shut downs are now impacting the operations of Wendy’s.


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This post is based on the CNBC article, Nearly A Fifth of Wendy’s US Restaurants Are Out of Beef, Analyst Says, by Amelia Lucas, May 5, 2020; the NY Post article, Trump Says He’ll Call Wendy’s Executive to Help Fix Meat Shortage, by Bob Fredericks, May 6, 2020; and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock / smirart

Discussion Questions:

1. Why was Wendy’s one of the first to be hit by the meat Continue reading

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