Walmart and Target Search for Better Bags

Walmart and Target Search for Better Bags

March 25, 2021

The debate on paper versus plastic bags to carry your items from the store to home has gone on for decades.  Reusable cloth bags have been touted as an environmentally friendly alternative.

Paper bags are extolled as coming from renewable resources, and being biodegradable.  However, they consume more energy in the production process than plastic bags.

Plastic bags consume less energy in production, but are not biodegradable.  Moreover, much has been made recently about plastic pollution, especially in our oceans.  Incredibly, the United States of America is using over 100 billion bags per years, with approximately 1% of these bags being recycled.  California and New York have banned single use plastic bags.

Reusable cloth totes require more energy to produce because they are typically heavier and stronger.  To justify their use, they need to be used around 7,100 times to equal a plastic bag’s energy usage.  Unfortunately, most reusable totes never hit this target.  Additionally, reusable bags tend to harbor germs.  During the pandemic, many stores banned their use to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

So, there doesn’t appear to be a clear winner among today’s choices of paper, plastic and Continue reading

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Location Moved RH From Quirky to Luxury

Location Moved RH From Quirky to Luxury

March 25, 2021

Homeware store RH has built its brand on luxury multichannel retail offerings.

Location is key to establishing luxury. Historic buildings with large dramatic stores topped with upscale restaurants establish the brand identity.

RH also carries substantial inventory, as evidenced by large catalogs reminiscent of pre-internet days.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the CNBC article, How once-quirky homeware store RH became a skyrocketing luxury stock, by Robert Ferris,  February 17, 2021, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock / AlexRoz

Discussion Questions:

1.  Describe how the servicescape at RH locations influences the service-profit chain.

Guidance: Students should observe that RH creates a leisurely shopping experience. The atmosphere is dramatic and luxurious.  The locations evoke a sense of history and elegance from days gone by.  The restaurants allow for a longer shopping day making a trip to RH an experience to enjoy rather than endure.

Students should be directed to consider how they would feel as employees at Continue reading

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Operation Warp Speed

Operation Warp Speed

March 15, 2021

Not since World War II and the Manhattan Project, has a project been so important to the world as Operations Warp Speed.  Its goal was to take a process that normally takes years to complete, and bring the COVID-19 vaccine to the world.

As a result of its importance, a public-private effort using many resources sped the development of the vaccine.  Under less urgent circumstances, vaccine development may take up to 10 years, billions of dollars, and have a high failure rate.  Several COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and made ready for distribution in less than one year.

A variety of tactics were applied to the problem.  One is the combination of private/government collaboration.  Additionally, the US Federal Government allocated $10 billion in federal funds to support the effort.

This money allowed organizations to apply funding to crash activities, in order to reduce completion time.  In many cases, activities normally completed in sequential fashion were completed simultaneously, or at least allowed to overlap.  For example, many phases of the clinical trials were overlapped to reduce time.

Also, with government funding, production of the vaccines began before the clinical trials had ended.  Under Continue reading

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