Look, Up in the Sky – It’s a Car!

Look, Up in the Sky – It’s a Car!

September 19, 2020

Flying cars by 2023?  That is the hope of Japan’s SkyDrive project which just conducted Japan’s very first manned flight of an “eVTOL,” or electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle.

The aircraft, dubbed the “SD-03” is the world’s smallest eVTOL developed to date, requiring the same amount of space as two parked cars.  Originally funded by big name companies like Toyota, Panasonic, and Bandai Namco, a video-game developer, SkyDrive just received fresh funds from other groups, including the Development Bank of Japan.

Over 100 flying car projects are in the works worldwide, but very few have gotten off the ground with a person inside.  SkyDrive’s recent test at Japan’s Toyota Test Field lasted about four minutes and flew a few feet off the ground.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Fox Business article, Japanese flying car company conducts successful test flight, by Greg Norman, August 28, 2020; the CNN article Japanese company successfully tests a manned flying car for the first time, by Lauren M. Johnson, September 1, 2020; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Chesky/Shutterstock

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Fast Food Breakfasts Slow Down

Fast Food Breakfasts Slow Down

August 17, 2020

Fast food breakfast sales slumped early in the COVID-19 crisis as work commutes halted and breakfasts were eaten at home.

McDonald’s, Starbucks, Panera, and Dunkin’ are still struggling to win back customers in the early hours of the day, though sales at other times of day are improving.  Restaurants are scrambling to realign their employees’ schedules, menu forecasting and design to the “new normal.”


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the Business Insider article, Breakfast sales at fast-food giants like Starbucks and McDonald’s “dried up” during the pandemic, by Kate Taylor, August 3, 2020; the Food and Wine article and video, Quarantine Could Crown a Winner in the Fast Food Breakfast Wars, by Mike Pomranz, Aug 3, 2020; and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: SEG – ALL

Discussion Questions:

1.  What scheduling challenges has the breakfast slump posed?

Guidance: As compared with past demand patterns, 9:30am and 2:30pm are now the peak times at Starbucks, and with more customers wanting afternoon snacks, Continue reading

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Wholesalers Reducing SKUs

Wholesalers Reducing SKUs

August 12, 2020

During the pandemic, many supply chains have been stressed with rapidly changing demand and disruptions in supply.

One way to reduce this stress is to simplify operations.  The supply chain can function better with fewer SKUs (Stock Keeping Units).  This allows supply chains to focus on fewer, more important items, which helps offset some of the additional problems added by the pandemic.

Many organizations are reducing their SKUs, including Kraft Heinz, Coca-Cola, and Hershey.  Coca-Cola has a goal of reducing SKUs by 25%, and has established a mechanism to identify SKUs to be eliminated.

To give you an idea of the complexity of the supply chain, the average grocery store stocks 33,000 SKUs; a Walmart Supercenter will carry around 120,000 items.  Over the years, the number of SKUs has tended to increase.

Offering a greater variety of SKUs provides the customer with a greater selection of items.  This works well when customers are taking their time shopping for items.  During the pandemic, however, many customers are trying to reduce their time in the store to avoid potential exposure to the coronavirus.  Reducing the number of variations of products allows customers to more easily Continue reading

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