November 1, 2018

With about 6,700 hotels operating under 30 brands in more than a hundred countries, Marriott International is by far the world’s largest hotel chain. Last year the company earned profits totaling $1.37 billion as guests from around the globe checked in and out of properties like Sheraton, Ritz-Carlton, and Westin. Over the last few weeks, however, 23 hotels owned by Marriott have not been operating as usual. That’s because since October 8th the employees at these locations have been on Continue reading

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October 26, 2018

We’ve all been there before: you go to the store with a carefully prepared shopping list only to walk out with tons of stuff you had no previous intention to buy. These types of impulse purchases are such a vital source of revenue that some retailers design their store layouts to encourage as much emotion-driven buying as possible. This video looks at how IKEA depends on winding pathways and strategic lighting to do just that.

Questions:

  1. How does IKEA’s store Continue reading
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October 23, 2018

Earlier this year, Toys ‘R’ Us announced that it would be closing most of its U.S. stores after filing for bankruptcy in 2017. And while this was certainly bad news for anyone who loved the store “where a kid can be a kid,” it was especially unpleasant for toy manufacturers like Hasbro and Mattel. These companies depended on large holiday orders from Toys ‘R’ Us to fund operations throughout the entire year. Without a big retailer to sell to, though, Continue reading

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October 19, 2018

Although Americans can buy a Coke just about anywhere, no other place seems to make the soft drink better than McDonald’s. And that’s not an accident: the company has had a special connection with Coca-Cola since the burger chain’s founding in 1955. Back then, McDonald’s boss Ray Kroc struck a handshake deal with a local Coke supplier, establishing a close business relationship that continues to this day. “Those two companies helped each other grow and expand around the globe,” said Continue reading

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October 16, 2018

The Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo has steadily grown into an international brand known for its inexpensive but stylish designs. As you might expect, maintaining this image requires the company to strike a delicate balance between creating interesting products and keeping costs low. That’s why Uniqlo recently announced that robots have replaced 90 percent of the staff at one of its warehouses.

Along with drastically cutting costs, the company’s newly automated warehouse will also be able to operate 24 hours a Continue reading

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October 12, 2018

Last week representatives from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada reached an agreement to update NAFTA, the international trade deal that went into effect in 1994. Now known as the USMCA, this video looks at how the new deal could affect various industries throughout North America. Click here to watch it.

 

 

Questions:

  1. Which industries will be most affected by the USMCA?
  2. What is the purpose of international trade deals like NAFTA or the USMCA?

 

Photo by Nicoguaro.

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September 21, 2018

Depending on which way you look at it, the rise of automated labor in the workplace can serve as either a source of optimism or anxiety. On the pro side of the argument, robotic workers will be highly efficient and more willing to perform monotonous tasks than their human counterparts. Of course, matters of “efficiency” don’t mean much to people who could lose their jobs because of automation. And according to a new study published by the World Economic Forum, Continue reading

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September 7, 2018

Last night, the NFL kicked off its new season with a battle of the birds as the Atlanta Falcons fell to the Philadelphia Eagles. But while Atlanta couldn’t earn a victory on the field, the franchise is certainly a winner in the eyes of many budget-minded fans. That’s because in 2017 the Falcons announced it would make some big changes to concession prices after the grand opening of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Rather than follow the industry’s lead and overcharge customers Continue reading

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September 6, 2018

About a century ago, American manufacturers started stacking their goods on wooden pallets that could then be carried off by forklifts. Taking advantage of these two recent inventions allowed factories to transport products in bulk without making a lot of trips. Not much has changed since then: today more than 2 billion pallets circulate around the U.S. carrying everything from car parts to candy.

Despite its staying power, though, the classic wooden pallet certainly comes with its share of disadvantages. Continue reading

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September 4, 2018

A couple of months ago, we took a look at Starbucks’ plan to eliminate its use of plastic straws by 2020. While the coffee chain remains the most high-profile business to ban straws, several cities throughout the country have joined the effort by passing legislation regulating their use. For instance, last month San Francisco passed an ordinance that prohibits restaurants from distributing any single-use plastic utensils or accessories. The cities of Seattle, Malibu, and Vancouver have recently put similar laws Continue reading

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