July 13, 2017

charles-chanAs we’ve covered a couple of times already, this has been a difficult year for many American retailers. While brick-and-mortar stores struggle to compete with e-commerce outlets, online retailers as well must grapple with the ever-increasing might of Amazon. These seismic shifts in power have led many to wonder what the future of the industry might look like. Amazon has recently been experimenting with cashierless stores, but observers say the company still has a lot of work to do Continue reading

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david-mulderFor more than a decade, the growing e-commerce industry has turned the retail world on its head. From books to beds and everything in between, online shopping offers customers convenience and value that many traditional stores can’t compete with. Still, there’s at least one area of retail that e-commerce hasn’t conquered entirely: groceries. While experts estimate that 10 percent of all shopping in the U.S. now occurs on the Internet, overall online food sales are less than half that number. Continue reading

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cowsWhen people think of the organic food movement, their thoughts will often wander to images of upscale urban grocery stores and the fancy clientele that patronize them. But the early days of organic food production certainly wasn’t led by city slickers. In fact, more than 20 years ago a group of Amish farmers developed one of the nation’s first major organic agricultural operations. Centered around the small town of Kalona, Iowa, this collection of primarily dairy farmers has thrived on Continue reading

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June 29, 2017

Christiaan-ColenOn Tuesday Roman Klimenko headed into his Kiev accounting office for work just like he does every day. A few hours after he opened his tax preparation software, however, something went horribly wrong. “The screen became red,” said Klimenko. “A warning appeared, and everything on the hard drive was scrambled.” In a matter of moments he lost all of his filings from last year.

This same situation played out across tens of thousands of Ukrainian computers in that same instant. Continue reading

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June 15, 2017

tupalo-zara2017 has not been a good year so far for many retailers. Chains like J.C. Penney and Sears plan to close hundreds of locations while J. Crew has posted 11 consecutive quarters of declining same-store sales. But as these formerly powerful brands struggle, the Spanish fashion giant Zara is thriving like never before. This week its parent company Inditex announced that first quarter sales jumped 18 percent to $733.3 million. Plus, total sales for Zara topped out at $6.3 billion, Continue reading

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virus-attackLast Friday hackers launched a massive cyberattack that targeted hundreds of thousands of users and organizations in more than 150 countries. Using a “ransomware” virus called WannaCry, the malware infected computer systems by locking users out of their files and demanding money to set them free. Regardless of whether the user paid up or not, though, the virus was easily able to spread to other computers linked within the same network. Eventually one lucky researcher discovered a “kill switch” in Continue reading

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For most non-rural people, the classic image of a dairy farm likely involves a solitary, bucket-toting farmer trudging out to the barn to milk the cows before dawn. As this video shows, though, modern American dairy farms are far more advanced than most city slickers would imagine. From automated milking machines to robot feeders, these high-tech tools help dairy farmers cut costs while also improving efficiency.

Questions:

 

  1. What are the advantages of automation on dairy farms?
  2. How have labor Continue reading
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April 14, 2017

This week United Airlines angered millions when a video surfaced of a man being brutally dragged off of an overbooked flight. People not only felt horrified at the violence of the incident, but they also questioned why the company needed to overbook flights in the first place. As this video shows, though, the answer is not so easy.

Questions:

 

  1. Should airlines be allowed to overbook flights?
  2. What risks do airlines face if they do not overbook a flight?
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April 7, 2017

instagram-businessBy the end of the year, the photo sharing app Instagram expects to earn $3 billion from ad sales. That’s a huge jump from the $60 million the social network made in 2015. In that time, Instagram has collected more than 600 million users, a number bested only by its parent company Facebook. About 8 million of these accounts belong to companies who use the platform primarily for promotion.

Soon, though, some brands will be able to develop closer relationships Continue reading

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March 29, 2017

ChantelMcGeeFrom factory floors to Wall Street financial firms, robotic labor is becoming an increasingly important part of production for many companies. And according to the head of Yum Brands, fast food could be the next industry to adopt automation on a wide scale. This week CEO Greg Creed said that robots could start replacing humans at Yum-owned chains like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell by the mid-2020s.

Other fast food companies have already begun to experiment with automation. Wendy’s, for Continue reading

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