Made in Italy: High Prices, but Rock-Bottom Production Costs

Made in Italy: High Prices, but Rock-Bottom Production Costs

If you think Italian luxury clothes are hand sewn by skilled workers, you are right. If you think their craftsmanship is well compensated, think again.

This New York Times investigation paints a bleak description of the working conditions of Italians working for MaxMara, Fendi, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Most luxury brands outsource a major portion of their manufacturing. Several factors including intense competition from abroad result in the exploitation of labor, and the multi-tiered supply chain hinders transparency.


Video Spotlight: Made in Bulgaria: Luxury Fashion Brands Move East


This post is based on the New York Times article, Inside Italy’s Shadow Economy, by E. Paton and M. Lazazzera, September 20, 2018, and the Reuters video, Made in Bulgaria: Luxury Fashion Brands Move East, by T. Tsolova and M. Kahn, June 7, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Nenad Aksic

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the reasons for the “sweatshop wages” given to the Italian seamstresses making the luxury garments at home?

Guidance: Reasons include high unemployment in the region, intensive competition from Asian and Eastern European labor, contractors’ questionable ethics, luxury brands claiming ignorance about a well- known problem, “cut-throat” negotiating practices in procurement, and no government-set Continue reading

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Walmart Using Virtual Reality for Employee Training

Walmart Using Virtual Reality for Employee Training

October 14, 2018

Walmart already uses Virtual Reality (VR) instruction at each of its 200 Walmart Academies, which train approximately 150,000 employees each year.  Now, Walmart plants to expand the use of VR instruction into its stores.

By the end of the year, Walmart hopes to have over 17,000 headsets in stores, to be used in training Walmart employees on the Pickup Towers being added to many retail locations.

VR instruction uses interactive onscreen prompts and 360 degree video.  This should help better prepare employees for the introduction of Pickup Towers, because the Oculus headsets let them see and get a feel for the towers.


Video Spotlight: VR headsets train associates in-store


 

This post is based on the Tech Crunch article, Walmart is putting 17,000 Oculus Go headsets in its stores to help train employees in VR, by Lucas Matney, September 21, 2018; the Walmart blog post, Hundreds More High-Tech Pickup Towers are Headed Your Way, by Justin Rushing, April 5, 2018; and the YouTube video, VR headsets train associates in-store, by Walmart, May 30, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / franz12.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the advantages of VR instruction?

Guidance: Walmart’s use of VR Continue reading

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Meet your New Bot Bellhop

Meet your New Bot Bellhop

September 24, 2018

Eight TUG robots, created by Aethon, Inc., assist with carrying luggage, delivering room service, and helping clean up rooms and hallways at the Sheraton Hotel in San Gabriel, California.  The current favorite, named Gabriel, greets guests in the lobby with a display which reads, “Where do you want to go?”  He then guides them to their destination within the hotel.

The robots are not replacing workers, but rather are being used to save workers time so they can focus on other tasks.  This innovative technology is also used in many hospitals in the U.S. to deliver medication, food, and linens to patients in their rooms.


Video Spotlight: SoCal Sheraton has team of robots toting luggage, room service


This post is based on articles from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, There are robots on staff at this San Gabriel hotel, by Michelle Mills, August 31, 2018, and from The Star Online, Robot butlers are coming to this Miami hotel, by Dylan Jackson, September 3, 2018; and on the video, SoCal Sheraton has team of robots toting luggage, room service, by ABC7, January 30, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / studiostoks.

Discussion Questions:

1. Continue reading

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