Big News at Amazon: Fulfillment Robots

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Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it agreed to buy Kiva Systems Inc for $775 million in cash, a deal that will bring more robotic technology to the e-commerce company’s giant network of warehouses. Questions: 1. What other companies use this kind of robot technology? 2. Discuss the trend of Amazon’s fulfillment costs and what they… Read more »

Costs versus Benefits of a Marketing Campaign

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Is it April Fool’s Day, yet? No, this really happened! The international marketing agency of BBH Labs recently outfitted 13 volunteer homeless shelter individuals as “human wireless transmitters” at the South by Southwest technology conference in Austin, Texas. The company provided the individuals with the devices, business cards and T-shirts listing their names followed by… Read more »

Super Bowl Sunday!

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Well it’s almost time for the Super Bowl again.  So get the snacks ready in front of the big screen TV.  But what comes with the game and half-time?  Of course, the commercials.  However, the hoopla behind Super Bowl ads has spawned a team of skeptics. Growing research shows the $3.5 million that advertisers pay… Read more »

M’Hudi Winery

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A clinical psychologist, her ‘armchair farmer’ husband and their family launched an internationally successful wine label — without capital, farming experience or wine-making knowledge. The company is the first South African winery wholly owned and managed by a Black South African family. Question: 1. How did the Rangaka’s decide on their particular farm? Discuss the… Read more »

Pressure Packages

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Pressure from financial  institutions and Treasury officials undermined an effort to  limit executive pay at seven companies rescued with taxpayer  money, a new government audit showed on Tuesday.  The official overseeing executive pay for bailout firms  limited cash compensation and made some reductions in pay, but  still approved compensation packages in the millions, the TARP … Read more »

Verizon Posts New Numbers

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Verizon Communications on Tuesday reported a net loss of $212 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, despite rising iPhone sales and revenue growth in its wireless business, compared with net income of $4.65 billion in the same quarter a year ago, the company said Tuesday. The loss was primarily because of the impact of… Read more »

Insulting Discounts: The Costa Concordia Saga

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The owners of the Costa Concordia are offering survivors of the disaster a 30 percent discount off future cruises as they battle to stave off law suits expected to cost hundreds of millions of pounds. As the body of a 12th victim was found inside the hull of the £370 million, 1,000 ft vessel, survivors… Read more »

We Did Everything Right and Still Lost Our Business: Five Failing Businesses in 2011

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It has been another tough year for small businesses. According to the National Federation of Independent Businessesm one in four believes the biggest problem is weak sales. Issues of timing, cash, and a lack of realistic estimates also add to the challenges they face. Questions: 1. After reading the article, what advice would you offer… Read more »

Amy’s Kitchen in the Small Business Spotlight

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Amy’s Kitchen started in 1987 as one of the first frozen food companies for vegetarians. Naming the company after their daughter, Amy, Rachel and Andy Berliner worked as a team and started the company on a shoestring budget. Their first product, vegetable pot pie, has now led to over 88 frozen meals and in 1999,… Read more »

Ever Thought About Operating A Franchise?

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Tired of not getting paid what you’re worth (or not paid at all) and want to start your own, already-proven business? That’s what is intriguing about franchising. Pick a brand, pay your money, take your chances, and then you’re an entrepreneur. Running day-to-day operations and turning a profit is another matter, of course. However, success… Read more »