Bale bears brunt of Real criticism

first_imgReal Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui is likely to pay for the team’s poor start to the season, but Spanish media have also criticised the club’s players and Gareth Bale, in particular.The Wales forward arrived in the Spanish capital for a then world record fee of 85 million pounds ($109 million) in 2013 and was seen by club President Florentino Perez as the long-term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.Despite moments of brilliance, like his overhead kick against Liverpool in last season’s Champions League final, the Bernabeu faithful have never taken Bale to their hearts with injury problems and a perceived lack of integration into the side often used as sticks to beat him with.Sunday’s Clasico against arch-rivals Barcelona was the first since 2007 not to feature Ronaldo or Lionel Messi and many Real fans were hoping Bale would step up.But it was Barca’s Luis Suarez who stole the headlines with a hat-trick and Bale was substituted as Real chased a way back into a game they lost 5-1.“We keep looking at Bale because of his price tag and that has created this illusion that he’s some sort of world superstar, but the last five years aren’t reflective what Madrid paid for him,” Jorge Valdano, the former Real player and sporting director, said on Spanish radio station Onda Cero.“Bale was the one in charge of tracking Jordi Alba (for Barcelona’s first goal) but after seven minutes his concentration was gone. Alba was on his own down that flank.“At the start of the game, the players respected the system and their instructions, but then they do what comes naturally to them, like Bale did, and they think they have the authority to do whatever they like and that can go against the collective.”AS newspaper cited Bale’s failure to track Alba as the beginning of the end while Marca columnist Jose Felix Diaz suggested Bale went missing when his side needed him most.“It’s not the day for blaming one player, rather all of them, but the Welshman was the one who was supposed to lead this side and show character – but he just resigned. He looked like he couldn’t cope with the stage or the pressure,” Diaz wrote.“I wrote a few weeks ago that Bale was showing he had what it took to become the leader that he hid when Ronaldo was around, but I need to take that back. He’s picked up injuries and disappeared. His morale is fragile. It’s a crying shame because of his incredible potential.”With another new coach set to arrive at the Bernabeu, it is a case of now or never for Bale to show he can be Real’s main man.last_img read more

Govt must end its witch-hunting campaign

first_imgDear Editor,The announcement in the Chronicle that Dr Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington have been charged ‘…for alleged misconduct in public office…’ reveals the vindictiveness of this A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) regime.This is clearly an attempt to destroy the professional lives of these two gentlemen. Their only ‘crime’ being that they worked dedicatedly to promote this country and our people’s interests while the People’s Progressive Party/Civic was in office. As a former President who worked with these two outstanding Guyanese men, I can vouch for their uprightness, professionalism and integrity while in public office. This latest attack on Dr Singh and Brassington is a continuation of the witch-hunting and the racial and political discrimination that has characterised this APNU/AFC regime since it took office in May of 2015. Not content in forcing these outstanding gentlemen to seek employment outside of Guyana, they now seem determined to destroy their professional lives. We cannot build a country with such vindictiveness and spite.Sincerely,Donald Ramotarlast_img read more

Dane Morten takes early Kenya Open charge

first_img0Shares0000NAIROBI, Kenya, March 29- Denmark’s Morten Orum Madsen took early charge of the Barclays Kenya Open on Thursday when he fired a 7 under 64 at the par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi.South Africa’s Tyrone Mordt was two shots off the leader with three golfers including local ace Dismas Indiza who returned an impressive score of 4 under 67 tied for third in the first round of the European Challenge Tour event that ends on Sunday. James Lorum was the second placed Kenyan on the early leader board with 2 under 69 with Ganeev Giddie carding 1 under 70. Anil Shah and John Kagiri were on lever par after their opening round.Meanwhile, defending titleholder, South Africa’s Michiel Bothma is confident defending his crown at the event that teed off on Thursday morning at Nairobi’s Muthaiga Golf Club.Bothma who fired a tournament total of 14 under 270 to win last year’s top prize is returning to his seventh Kenya Open where he has made the cut thrice. “The weather is fantastic and am looking forward to not putting so many under pars but it’s definitely going to be a fantastic week,” Bothma told Capital Sport.He is among four former champions teeing off at this year’s event with 2010 winner Robert Dinwiddie, 2005 victor Daniel Vancsik and the top player in 1992, André Bossert.Bothma warmed up for the Kenya Open by finishing third at the Johannesburg Open in January will be among the category one golfers competing for top honours.In the process he became the third South African to win the event after Trevor Immelman in 2000 and Ashley Roestoff in 2001.The local contingent of 27 golfers will feature for Kenya including 22 professionals and five amateurs.“The course is very dry and will pose a challenge to every player but we are ready to put up a fight, I have worked hard, practiced with consistency throughout the year and believe we will do well at the end of the day,” said Royal Nairobi Golf Club player, Anil Shah.A total of 190,000 Euros (Sh20.9m) in prize money is up for grabs with the Kenyan charge aiming to top Jacob Okello’s effort in 1998 when he lost the title on sudden death play-off.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more


first_imgThe wife of the Donegal GAA team doctor didn’t tell him she had been involved in a terrifying carjacking incident until after a vital game at Croke Park.Bernadette Moran was left shocked when a thug pulled her from her jeep in Dublin with her nine year old child in the back seat.Ms Moran, 37, the wife of Dr Kevin Moran, was with her three children just hours before the Donegal team’s All-Ireland quarter final game against Kerry on August 5th, 2012. Ms Moran, from Letterkenny, pulled up outside a park at Mountjoy Square to allow her children put litter into a bin.As they did so, thug Christopher Coakley pulled her from the jeep and tried to drive away.However the handbrake was on and Ms Moran had enough time to get her child form the back seat.Coakley drove off but crashed the car a short time later before running off. Ms Moran told the Shaun Doherty Show on Highland Radio she decided not to tell her husband about her family’s ordeal until after the massive GAA game.“I decided not to tell him because there was no point. He had enough to be going on with and we were safe and the Gardai were looking after us very well.“It had been terrifying more so because what could have happened. Thankfully we were safe at that stage.“My husband called me and asked me if everything was okay before the game as if he sensed something.“I told him everything was fine and wished him well in the game. I told him afterwards and thankfully the result was right and we won the game and everyone was okay,” she said. Coakley, 21, of Belvedere Place, who had 92 previous convictions, appeared at the Central Criminal Court before Judge Desmond Hogan.He pleaded guilty to hijacking Ms Moran’s jeep and was sentenced to three years in prison to serve concurrently with a three sentence he is already serving for a firearms offence.Ms Moran said she holds no bad-feeling towards Coakley and hopes he manages to turn his life around.“I have no bad feeling towards him. I don’t really mind that he is not going to serve any more time in prison because he is already facing enough problems. “When I had to identify him he was shaking and I felt pity for him. That was ironic. I just hope he manages to turn his life around now.“You can make as much or as little out of something as you want and we as a family decided to make little out of it.“Crime happens all the time and it was just our turn that day,” she said.BRAVE WIFE OF DONEGAL TEAM DOCTOR KEPT HER CAR-JACKING ORDEAL SECRET was last modified: February 27th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Bernie MOramcar-jackedCroke ParkDr Kevin Moranlast_img read more

He starred in the shock of the season, but is he moving to Chelsea or Arsenal?

first_imgArsenal and Chelsea target Marco Verratti is ‘pleased to attract interest from the big clubs’ – but doesn’t want to leave Paris Saint-Germain right now.The midfielder has been heavily linked with a move away from the French champions in recent weeks and his agent hinted he could be off in the summer if he doesn’t win the Champions League this season.That triumph does, however, look more likely at least after PSG thumped Barcelona 4-0 on Tuesday in the first leg of their last-16 tie.And now Verratti has given the Ligue 1 side even more good news by revealing he is not looking to leave at the moment.“The coach (Unai Emery) knows the Catalan team well,” Verratti told Mediaset Premium after PSG’s win over Barcelona in the Champions League at the Parc des Princes.“He deserves the praise for this performance, as he made everything work perfectly. It all went precisely the way we planned it.“I’m pleased to attract interest from the big clubs, but I don’t want to change. I am part of a great project and we want to become one of the top three in Europe.” 1 Marco Verratti in action for PSG during their 4-0 win over Barcelona last_img read more

Boost for SA aerospace industry

first_img31 August 2007The government this week endorsed three initiatives aimed at boosting South Africa’s aerospace industry: building a multi-million rand component supplier park outside Pretoria; expanding an existing support programme for suppliers; and tackling the shortage of skills in the industry.According to Business Day, the supplier park, the Centurion Aerospace Village, will be built with R29-million provided by the European Union, which has also pledged a further R40-million for the project over the next two years.The supplier park will cluster aerospace manufacturing companies that cater for international markets.The second initiative involves expansion of the Aerospace Industry Support Initiative, which aims to develop an industry supplier base through a supply-chain improvement programme and a supplier development programme.According to Business Day, the support initiative will involve the incubation of programmes worth R10-million per year.Taking up the skills challengeThe third initiative involves work done by the National Aerospace Centre of Excellence (NACoE) to address the scarcity of skills and capacity in the local aerospace industry.Engineering News reported this week that European commercial and military airline manufacturer Airbus had entered into a research and technology development partnership with the NACoE, Stellenbosch University and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.Under the partnership, Airbus and the NACoE have committed to fund 30 South African postgraduate positions for work focussing on aerospace-related topics, with core themes such as the development and application of automation and smart structures techniques, technologies and processes.According to Engineering News, Airbus is also working closely with the Department of Science and Technology and the NACoE to develop a scheme that will eventually encompass all areas of aerospace, aerostructures, systems engineering, manufacturing, aircraft operations and management.“This symbiotic relationship will also benefit local small and medium-sized enterprises wanting to position themselves as suppliers to Airbus and other original equipment manufacturers,” Airbus international cooperation manager Remy Moreau told Engineering News.“It will enable them to source local students who are familiar with Airbus, its processes and culture, but without any additional cost to themselves.”Export growth potentialThe government’s prioritising of SA’s aerospace industry is in line with its aim to increase the country’s exports. It also seeks to exploit the growth in commercial air traffic, and the consequent need for aircraft maintenance and modification, around the continent.According to Business Day, government research shows that technology-intensive industries in developing countries grew by 20% over a 13-year period, as opposed to slower growth for lower-tech and resource-based industries.Speaking to journalists at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria this week, Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said the government, in deciding whether to back the aerospace sector, was “acutely aware that technology and knowledge are crucial factors of production in modern advanced economies, and those new technological developments can create platforms for further innovations.”Mpahlwa added that as much as three-quarters the more than 200 local companies involved in aerospace-related work were smaller firms, pointing to a thriving medium-sized industry base.In a further boost to South Africa’s aerospace ambitions, the Department of Science and Technology announced this week that the long-awaited South African Space Agency, which will be responsible for coordinating and implementing the country’s space and technology programmes, will be set up by March reporter and BuaNews Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Study: 6% of People Online Contribute 50% of Display Ad Clicks

first_imgTags:#advertising#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Though unsurprising, a new study released today by a consortium of big players in advertising found hard numbers to back up what you might have guessed. Specifically, that only 6% of people online are contributing 50% of the clicks to display advertisements. Starcom USA, behavioral targeting network Tacoda and comScore performed the study.Those people who click heavily have a number of other characteristics of note. “Heavy clickers skew towards Internet users between the ages of 25-44 and households with an income under $40,000,” the study said, and they “are also relatively more likely to visit auctions, gambling, and career services sites – a markedly different surfing pattern than non-clickers.” The authors conclude that the heavy clickers do shop more online than the population at large, but not at a rate proportional to their click rate influence. In other words, if your ads are getting a lot of click-throughs and you are holding your breath that they will monetize better any day now – you’re not likely to find relief any time soon. The study also found that there was not a high correlation between heavy clickers and increased brand loyalty. Search ads were not included in the findings but add in the fact that after a few years online more people won’t help but be able to learn the difference between their browser’s address bar and search bar – and the overall ad money pot doesn’t look terribly reliable.These numbers probably speak for themselves, and will mean different things to different people, but we do hope that our unusually engaged readers will enjoy checking out the services of RWW advertisers. 🙂 Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img marshall kirkpatrick Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

Security at the Source

first_imgManufacturer involvement in designing product protection is decades old, noted University of Florida research scientist Read Hayes, PhD, CPP. He remembers Walt Disney’s Buena Vista Pictures as being an early pioneer in coordinating with retailers to prevent theft. Video releases such as Beauty and the Beast were massive hits with kids—but also with shoplifters. “Maybe some executives at Disney saw it differently and thought it’s solely up to retailers to protect products, but the consensus for them was to see it as a mutual problem,” he recalled. “So we came up with portable fixtures and included some security features and were able to reduce theft by making it harder and less rewarding to steal and increasing the odds of being caught.”Read Hayes, PhD, CPPHe remembers, too, working with a lip balm company on display options to increase shoplifters’ effort and to prevent the small product from falling into cracks and getting lost—an early industry effort to address “total retail loss.” In the industry’s most celebrated example involving Gillette, the company mapped its entire process for handling product—from the time it’s made all the way through to the shelf—looking for opportunities to improve process and handling to reduce the risk of loss.And, generally speaking, it’s not much different today, said Hayes. The roadmap and anti-theft menu is similar now as in these past examples. “Where you put it in the store, what types of display fixtures you use, employee positioning, prodding employees to pay particular attention to very high-loss SKUs, focused protective tech, what do you do, how often you do it—these are all options that are available for each solution.”- Sponsor – As director of the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), which conducts research into crime and theft prevention technologies for the retail industry and includes manufacturers among its membership, Hayes has a unique seat from which to view the working relationship between retail LP and product manufacturers. He’s in the room when the two sides are discussing anti-theft solutions, both separately and when they are brainstorming solutions together. While the issue of theft prevention often divides the two sides, his job is in the middle-helping both.“I’d say the relationship is not necessarily better or worse than in decades past. I think it tends to go up and down,” said Hayes. He said he’s fortunate to work with manufacturers that want to work with retailers, but he knows that’s not universal, that some manufacturers still see retail theft as retail’s problem. “They think, ‘I’m already making a great product. I’m doing promotion to create demand. I’m shipping the product, so you have it when you want it. And now you want me to do more? You’re running the store.’”The Manufacturers’ Perspective“One stole is one sold” is still the perspective that some manufacturers cling to according to some loss prevention executives we interviewed. And a willingness to work with retail loss prevention isn’t as strong in some sectors of goods as others, they said.Krista Marantos MonninManufacturers in the drug, food, and household goods sectors have tended to be more aggressive in pursuing product protection, according to industry experts. Several LP leaders specifically identified Procter & Gamble (P&G) as a model manufacturer partner, for example. Krista Marantos Monnin is a retail business leader at P&G and oversees the company’s on-shelf availability operation. “We see it as a collaborative role with our retailer partners; ultimately, it has to be a retailer solution because everybody addresses shrink differently on the retailer side,” she said.Source tagging is certainly a primary part of product protection today, said Monnin, but even within that ubiquitous solution, retailers deviate on what frequency of tags they require. As such, she said manufacturers aren’t effectively positioned to forge across-the-board solutions on their own. Plus, even within the same product-Tide, for example- variation in packaging, size, and theft desirability often belies a single product protection strategy. “So if a customer comes to us and reports that it has a problem with Tide, we have to narrow it down to where and which SKUs, and then we can work together to find a solution that is effective, working off of a solutions matrix that we have built based on our experiences.”Certain manufacturers operate under heightened requirements for product protection due to consumer health and safety concerns. For these companies, product diversion is more than a nuisance—supply-chain risks are material to the business. One generic drugmaker­­­, for example, wrote in its annual mandatory 10-K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, “Cargo thefts and/or diversions, and economically or maliciously motivated product tampering on store shelves may occur, causing unexpected shortages, which may have a material impact on our operations.” Because of the stakes involved, such companies have led the way in product serialization to increase supply-chain visibility.Embedding security features into products as a selling point is also a possible trend as use cases for identification technology seeps into more product category niches. For example, manufacturers build technology by GearSecure, a mash-up of RFID and GPS, into musical instruments, which then allows end-users like touring bands to keep tabs on their gear. Collaboration between wireless companies and makers of cell phones has led to increasing adoption of kill-switch technology. There is an anti-counterfeiting sewing thread. There are apparel makers that mesh RFID, NFC, and QR codes together for tags that capitalize on the benefits of each.And a few manufacturers are using anti-theft solutions to gain competitive advantage in high-shrink product categories, according to Hayes. By building in security measures, these companies can “go to a retailer and say, ‘Hey, I understand that this product category is a challenge for you, but what if I take these steps that will reduce the amount of loss?’” That can result in favorable treatment because they are helping the retailer solve a problem, said Hayes.One prominent example is RCA, a maker of tablet computers. By tweaking firmware during manufacture, the company’s devices require a code for activation available only at point-of-sale. Without a legitimate purchase, they’re bricks. By denying thieves the ability to use the device if they steal it, and thus the motive to steal, the company was able to sell the prospect of fewer losses to forge a more favorable deal with a big-box retailer.Adam AlfordAdam Alford, senior director for loss prevention at GameStop, said his team has met with a few vendors in the last few months on the benefit-denial concept, with the goal of being able to put higher-value live products on the floor without increasing loss. Many merchants think such availability is vital to driving brick-and-mortar sales today as customers rely on stores as a place to touch and test products, rather than simply make purchases. Alford particularly likes the strategy’s potential in the mobile phone and tablet space.According to some LP practitioners, it’s somewhat rare for manufacturers to take individual initiative on theft prevention. The booming connected-home market is an example—smart thermostats, smart plugs, and the like. While these vendors understand their products are in high demand and can be high theft—and will discuss the issue, ask for recommendations, and gladly take measures to prevent their product from being secured in a physical lock-up—it typically stops there. Vendors are not necessarily at the point where they go to retailers to say, “We know theft is an issue, so we’ve partnered with this solution or built in this technology to prevent theft, and how will this work for you?” That conversation remains rare.The core obstacle is the same as it has always been, said several industry leaders. In some cases, manufacturers may not perceive that they have skin in the game and fail to see an impact on them if a retailer experiences high losses. Small brands may more easily recognize high losses as detrimental, recognizing the possibility that a store may choose to buy fewer of their products, move their products to online sales only, or discontinue altogether a product with high shrink.But large vendors, ones that hold some leverage on retailers, can remain hesitant to implement solutions that are going to raise their costs. “It’s not adversarial; they’re willing to hear you out,” but they often fail to see enough value to drive them to take action, said one LP director. A requirement that high-shrink items must be source-tagged is fairly routine and well accepted by manufacturers, but working on new, innovative solutions can be more challenging, noted the LP executive.While their particular bottom-line interests naturally divide manufacturers and retailers on the issue of retail theft, Hayes sees goodwill-and recognition of the legitimacy of each other’s viewpoint-as a viable building block to successful LP-manufacturer collaboration. Rather than a unique challenge, Hayes characterizes the divergence between the two camps as similar to many business relationships. “It’s just complicated,” said Hayes. “Everyone has positive intentions, but everyone also wants to make their numbers.” Cultivating those good intentions are thus an important part of creating effective LP partnerships with product manufacturers.Richard E. Widup, Jr., CPP, CFEIt may sound trite, but it’s nonetheless true, that it all comes down to relationships, agreed Richard E. Widup, Jr., CPP, CFE, global corporate security director at RB, which acquired Mead Johnson last year, the maker of Enfamil and other infant formulas. “We all have a part to play, and manufacturers especially,” he said. “We need to understand shrink at the policy level and at the store level. And we need to use that to help shape and enhance our partnerships and forge open and honest discussions about what are the best solutions.”Ties That BindData provide a helpful building block to successful joint projects, according to Hayes. “Shoplifting can be very tightly clustered to specific products, specific brands, and even specific SKUs for specific brands,” he said. Most retailers have pretty good information on the rate of loss, down to the category brand, and sharing that data with manufacturer partners can help enhance coordination on theft prevention, he continued. “It’s still the case that some manufacturers are blind to it, and they don’t know anything until the retailer reaches out and shows them numbers on theft.”P&G’s Monnin sees data as a prerequisite to forging problem-specific solutions and is in the early stages of working on new protection strategies for the company’s Tide product. But to do it effectively, retailers need to partake. “We need our retailer partners to share data so that we can accurately assess the problem,” she said.Nicole DeHoratiusThe quality of the data collected and shared could also be improved to forge more meaningful cooperation, suggested Nicole DeHoratius, a professor at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and an expert in retail operations management. “Retailers shouldn’t just share their shrink lists. They need to conduct additional analyses and examine the underlying characteristics driving the shrink problem,” she advised. “LP needs to be far more analytical and examine what’s common about shrink across products, locations, retailers, and so on.“For example, do we observe commonalities across vendors, distribution channels, stores, and products with the same packaging? What are the underlying attributes of the shrink that might give an indication of the root cause?” This is particularly true given the pace of churn among SKUs and vendors, she added. “So on the retailer side, the problem isn’t generally a particular unwillingness to share but rather the existing skill set of the traditional LP professional,” she said, noting that to successfully move the industry forward, LP needs to adopt a more robust analytical skill set.Data sharing is key, and so is robust evidence of the effectiveness of solutions, according to Hayes. Manufacturers may be willing to bear the cost of a theft prevention solution, but they want evidence it works, and year-over-year data doesn’t necessarily provide it. “Hundreds of things can happen during the year that can alter the results,” said Hayes. As such, controlled experiments play an important role in providing both sides with confidence in a solution’s worthiness and to forecast results, he advised.Without testing a range of solutions—multitudes of hard tags, spider wraps, and the like—and without data on how they impact shrink and sales, “then we can’t understand what works,” said Monnin. “We test them and then share the solutions to build a more robust solutions matrix.”Stakeholder InvolvementA successful product protection partnership with a manufacturer can occasionally hinge on luck—right time, right ask. But as for elements that LP can influence, making sure merchant teams aren’t blind to inventory shrink and gaining their support is critical.John Doggette, LPC“The key to success is when our merchants rally behind an effort,” said John Doggette, LPC, director of LP merchandise shrink solutions and analytics at Lowe’s, in discussing a recent success story in which a large manufacturer stepped up to fund a new product protection solution. “For LP, if you don’t have a robust relationship with buyers, if you’re not training them and have a program for that, then you can’t expect things to get done. You need the buyer to be an advocate for the proposed solution.”At Lowe’s, Doggette said his team has worked hard to impress upon merchants that LP’s goal is to increase on-shelf availability, overall sales, and ultimately profit-and not act as a roadblock. “It starts with relationship building and having a dedicated person or a team of people whose sole purpose is to work with merchants,” advised Doggette. “A large retailer may have hundreds of buyers, so you need a retail LP organization that has someone on staff, if not a team, that is directly responsible for interfacing with buyers and for providing them with the data and analytics they need.”Lowe’s has dedicated staff members whose role is to interface with buyers from an LP lens, and their responsibilities include attending high-shrink merchandise division merchant meetings. In this way, the LP organization has insight into emerging developments. The LP-merchant liaisons also participate when merchants conduct product line reviews, playing an advisory role as the subject-matter experts around shrinkage and returns for the product category.Finally, the LP team members worked alongside the LPRC to create a training module on inventory shrink for merchants that is hosted on the company’s online learning center. “So now if you are hired into Lowe’s as a buyer, or need occasional refresher training, the course work is part of your training so that you learn fundamentals about inventory shrink and, more importantly, what you can do to reduce it.”Bill InzeoThe merchant relationship has also been a focus for the AP team at Walgreens. “One of the things we’ve done effectively to work with merchant teams is to integrate shrink and waste metrics into the process for analyzing performance and for which products to carry,” explained Bill Inzeo, director of asset protection solutions. “So it’s no longer just looking at sales and gross. Shrink and waste are now included in that decision-making process.”Erik ButtlarTo arrive at the right merchandising strategy—one that is both driving sales and reducing loss—information sharing between merchants and asset protection should be a two-way street, advised Erik Buttlar, vice president of asset protection at Best Buy. Just as merchants need to understand protection strategies, AP needs to appreciate the sales imperative. “You don’t want to unnecessarily slow down transactions or make them more complex,” he said. “It’s not doing things to the customer but for the customer.”Efforts by LP to strengthen relationships with merchant teams surely please Professor DeHoratius. She coauthored a report for the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) on the subject, Opportunities & Challenges for Engaging Merchants in the Protection of Retail Assets. [For an excellent summary of the study, see Chris Trlica’s article in the September-October 2015 issue of LP Magazine.]Among other important lessons, DeHoratius said that her research has shown that an LP approach strictly focused on getting manufacturers to put tags on high-theft items can miss larger issues at play. “Our research has shown that many discrepancies in the inventory record are not solely attributable to theft. Instead, it’s about transaction errors, errors in delivery orders, and other operational issues that arise,” she said. Broadly, her research has led her to believe that LP discounts nonmalicious causes of shrink, while shrink caused by theft is overemphasized. “It’s not all about locking up products,” she advised. “Solutions should be focused on ‘how do I prevent the discrepancies that are impacting operations and sales?’”The issue is also broader than LP and buyers. That relationship is critical, but it is just one aspect of a larger ecosystem on the retailer’s side that requires proper alignment. LP, merchants, store operations, sales incentives—they all need to work together for retailers to work effectively with vendors, according to DeHoratius.After a challenging shrink year at GameStop in 2017, and with the company transitioning into collectibles and other merchandise, the company saw value in meeting more frequently and proactively on shrink issues. The internal partnering and communication has been very successful, according to GameStop’s Adam Alford. For more than six months, the company has held biweekly committee meetings to talk about shrink issues, testing, ideas, and high-risk product launches. The meetings include key department heads and representatives from inventory control; loss prevention; head merchants from collectibles, video games, and other key product categories; general counsel; and vice presidents of store operations, IT, and business planning and analytics. “The goal is to drive awareness around shrink and to bring up issues and discuss solutions,” said Alford. “It also reinforces the issue of shrink for merchants so that they can go to a vendor for new packaging or new fixtures and know that everyone is really behind it.”Monnin sees the same imperative for inclusiveness on the manufacturer’s side of the aisle, with operations leaders engaging with sales people. That team can then engage in collaboration with a retailer’s team, including buyers and LP. “There have to be bridges across all these different groups for effective collaboration,” she said. Specifically, Monnin thinks multifunctional meetings are critical when theft problems arise, where retailers bring in their team, including LP experts, and manufacturers include asset protection, operations leaders, analysts, and product supply people. “You need to have more people than just the category buyer and the sales person. There needs to be a more expansive meeting of many stakeholders in order to build the trust that leads to data sharing and collaborative solutions that fit a retailer’s LP strategy, and for store operations to be effective.”External forums also play a useful role in facilitating solution sharing, according to industry leaders, such as Checkpoint Systems’ annual National Source Tagging Symposium (May 22) and the RILA annual conference. RB’s Rich Widup sat on the steering committee for RILA’s 2018 Retail Asset Protection Conference and said the involvement has been invaluable to his effort to work with retail partners. “Not only to hear where their pain points are but also to have open and honest discussions about solutions and to come up with creative ideas,” he said. “That has been really key from our perspective.”The LPRC boasts fifty-five major retail chain members, sixty-five solutions companies, and a half-dozen manufacturer members, including P&G. “Being involved in LPRC is valuable for building relationships, and in identifying what works, and for research that I can take back to my company and make people aware of,” said Monnin. LP directors said they see similar benefits on their end-learning about solutions that their peers are coordinating on with manufacturers and passing those ideas onto to their merchant teams.Doggette sees similar value—Lowe’s is also an LPRC member—and he hopes that the LPRC can provide a successful venue for addressing the traditional ad hoc approach to product protection. He believes that the LPRC is the key to bridge the gap between retailers, “so we can work with manufacturers on solutions that will work for everyone.”It’s a common sentiment that retailers don’t align with respect to the product protection they ask for from vendors—with one retailer asking for one thing and another for something else. Bill Inzeo expressed similar sympathy for manufacturers’ need to serve many of their retail partners and thinks joint data collection/sharing provides another way for retailers to broaden cooperation. The company participated in a data collection effort lead by Checkpoint Systems to provide manufacturers with anonymized, item-level theft data from a group of retailers, a fresh take at cooperation that he thought worked pretty well. “Retailers need to work together to enable the manufacturers to be more supportive,” he said. “And this allowed us to approach them with a more uniformed ask for support.”Together into the FutureNo one seems to believe truly universal product protection solutions are viable today, but there is yearning on both the manufacturer and retailer side for additional uniformity, answers that can be applied more widely across retail channels. There seems to be, on both sides, certain weariness to product-by-product protection solutions.There is also a sense that while relationships are the central component of effective collaboration between manufacturers and LP organizations, mechanisms to encourage it could improve. Widup, for example, is a passionate advocate for current avenues of partnership but also wishes it were easier to share alert-type information between the two groups, to provide a heads-up on emerging theft issues and problems, for example. “I do wish we had more tools available for that kind of thing. What we have now is not really fast enough to keep pace with the accelerating timeline of threats,” he said.There is an idea, too, that while current deliberate processes are effective, LP and manufacturer partners might benefit from faster, more experimental approaches. “We’ve got to improve our comfort level with working with more leading-edge, start-up like service providers, and provide them the opportunity to test their products in a live environment and to be willing to create partnerships with them,” said Inzeo. “It is critical because the environment is changing so quickly that we don’t always have the time to go through the traditional phases of test, deploy, and roll out and to wait for scalable solutions. I think we have to identify and implement solutions much more rapidly.”Keith McUmberAs an efficient, cost-saving process, one that provides benefits to both retailers and product manufacturers, source tagging remains a dominant force in product protection. But even in the tried-and-true, there is change. Keith McUmber, director of source tagging at Checkpoint Systems, said a developing trend is to move source tags from inside product boxes to outside, where they are visible to potential thieves, as belief is waning in the “halo effect,” the idea that hidden tags on some products make thieves fear tags on all products and thus prevent theft more generally. Tests of visible source tagging “has showed some dramatic shrink results and lift in sales for chain drug stores,” said McUmber.Renee Micek, a sales specialist at Avery Dennison, said she’s seen manufacturers increasingly sourcing UHF RFID because more retailers are mandating it to be put onto their products to help with traceability throughout their supply chains.DeHoratius also sees opportunity in going after mistakes, rather than crooks. “A reason why we see a lot of discrepancies is because there are not sufficient visual cues on packaging, cues that simplify and make it easy to distinguish, easy to count, track, and reorder.” A solution, then, is getting vendors to think about imposing visual cues to prevent problems. For example, Columbia Sportswear ships shirts in a colored container to match the color of the shirts inside it. Or perhaps a maker of deodorant can make a different color cap for each different fragrance. These are simple ideas that can help to reduce costly errors. More broadly, DeHoratius said her research points to a few keys to reducing shrink: reduce product variety; reduce inventory density; increase the frequency of audits, particularly smart audits, to utilize an inventory record that is not simply a point estimate but rather a distribution that can shift and adjust based on transactions over time.Inzeo, like many LP leaders, is anxiously awaiting solutions providers to embrace the “huge opportunity” that exists to deliver the next breakthrough solution—the one that carries manufacturers and LP forward. He suggested that hard solutions, such as boxes around products, aren’t really a great fit for how retail is rapidly transforming generally, that benefit denial is a terrific concept but that it can’t be applied to a tube of lipstick, and that there is less sense today in the industry that tags are the answer. “I don’t really see the EAS pedestal as being the solution that carries us all into the future,” Inzeo said. The extent to which tags are relied upon in the future could depend on retail’s perception of organized retail crime. In a 2016 survey by Colin Peacock of 107 global retailers, 72 percent of respondents said hard tags are “very/extremely effective” against opportunistic thieves, but only 16 percent felt that way about the technology’s effectiveness with respect to organized thieves.While Inzeo isn’t sure what the answer is, he knows what he needs: a solution that improves on-shelf availability, can scale to 20,000 items, and doesn’t demand additional work from the store team, or better yet, removes some. As a priority for Walgreens AP, product availability is supplanting theft prevention-a consequence of the online effect. “In many cases today, that’s the whole reason people come into a physical store—it’s because they need ‘it’ now. And if we don’t have the product on the shelf, then we have missed the opportunity to meet that customer’s immediate need.”To fit that objective, he wondered if the next leap forward is a theft deterrent or something more aimed at on-shelf availability. “Cosmetics is a great example. There isn’t a fixture for a tube of lipstick, so the solution may be about, first, how do we leverage store team presence to deter theft and then to make sure we’re laser-focused on inventory accuracy, so we have product for the customer when they need it. By virtue of that accuracy, we’ll also have accurate insights into what we’re losing. The loss is undesirable, but if we at least know it occurred, we can get product back on the shelf for the customer, quickly.”Inzeo is intrigued by the idea of shelf pads that could automatically identify and count whatever product sits on it, and he is “cautiously optimistic” about blockchain technology. The tracking capabilities that blockchain promises “seems fantastic,” but he wondered if it could face hurdles similar to RFID in terms of scalability and implementation. There’s no end to the power of the insights retailer data has within it, and Walgreens is constantly exploring new ways to leverage those insights, expose them to their merchant, operations, and LP teams, and drive actions that improve product availability for the customer, according to Inzeo. “From a product standpoint, nothing’s more important than making sure we have it when that customer walks into our store. That’s why they’re there. They need it now.”Where, exactly, LP should place its bet is elusive. “We’re engaging with merchant teams and working directly with manufacturers. We’re at the table with the category manager having those exact conversations-can you put an EAS tag on it, or fund a fixture, or should we be talking about some other funding mechanism to help us with loss?” he asked. But what it all comes down to-and what still seems unclear to Inzeo and many others-is, “If I had a blank check from P&G, what’s the next disruptive solution I would spend it on?” Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

[Video] 3 Reasons You’ll Buy Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… eliot weisberg A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts Tags:#Product Reviews#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img

Get Your Email Address for, Microsoft’s New Hotmail Killer

first_imgjon mitchell Tags:#Microsoft#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market mail reduces clicks in small ways, displaying convenient delete and mark-as-read buttons alongside as you mouse over each message, so you can execute these actions instantly without having to click a check box first. It lets you choose your preferred keyboard shortcuts; if you’re not used to Outlook shortcuts, you can switch to Gmail or Yahoo! Mail shortcuts.Outlook mail also has easy tools for cleaning up so-called “graymail,” the coupons and newsletters we’re constantly getting but may not always want. You can schedule regular cleanups of old robo-emails while keeping the latest one in your inbox.So what will happen to Hotmail, Microsoft’s long-lived webmail service? It will remain as it is for now, but not forever. “This is a preview,” Mehta says of mail. Microsoft will merge its two webmail services “at some point,” but for now, it will run the two in tandem.Go to to join the preview. You can upgrade your existing Windows Live or Hotmail account, or you can create a new user name. Hotmail’s days are numbered with Microsoft’s announcement of an all-new cloud-based email service at Tuesday. It ties into SkyDrive, so you have 7GB of free space, and it can open attachments right inside new Web apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Its built-in Outlook chat connects to Facebook messages, and it will integrate Skype calls later this year. mail was designed to snag Gmail users first and foremost, according to Dharmesh Mehta, Microsoft’s director for Windows Live product management. Unlike Google’s email service, doesn’t personalize its ads by looking at your email content. More generic Bing ads are displayed in the right-hand sidebar of the inbox, but not in a conversation view. When you’re viewing an email thread, the sidebar shows the sender’s photo and recent Facebook and Twitter activity, which you can respond to right in line. It’s like Microsoft built in a simplified version of Rapportive.Outlook’s address book connects to Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn and other services, so contact info will update automatically when friends change their profiles. mail does some handy tricks with attachments. Attached photos appear in recipients’ inbox as nicely formatted Web-based previews instead of a deluge of large files. Click on them and they open in the browser. And email messages can show SkyDrive and Flickr album slideshows.Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, which people constantly email back and forth, upload to SkyDrive and can be edited in the browser – just like Google Docs, but without the need to convert the files.center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more