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Great American Cookies deploys NCR cloud-based POS platform

BY Marianne Wilson

Duluth, Ga. — Great American Cookies has deployed the NCR Silver cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) platform in 89 of its franchise stores nationwide, with additional stores on the horizon this year.

Several factors led to Great American Cookies’ adoption of the platform company-wide, including software integration, ease of use, mobility and value per benefit.

“With the other solution we were looking at, we realized we’d have to pay for tools we didn’t need and that we wouldn’t get the full functionality out of the ones we did need,” said David Kaiser, VP of Great American Cookies. “In the end, NCR Silver delivered a higher-value solution that fit our individual stores’ needs perfectly.”

NCR Silver has played a key role in the expansion of cookie company’s offsite catering capabilities. No longer tied down to the counter, employees can quickly ring up orders and even access the back office via an iPhone or tablet.

In addition to its user-friendly interface, the NCR Silver platform integrates with other applications such as CimpleBox, a Web-based business and brand management platform that includes enhanced sales reporting & forecasting, recipe & menu management, inventory tracking and employee management, which are all designed to help franchisors and retailers operate more efficiently.

“From a technology standpoint, NCR Silver provides us with all of our reporting requirements, great software like CimpleBox, and a quick checkout experience,” said Kaiser. “Creating a favorable user experience is key as we’re constantly striving to make our employees’ lives easier and our customer experience even better.”

To see NCR Silver in action at one Great American Cookies store, watch this video.

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Regulations may ground Amazon.com’s drones

BY CSA STAFF

A new set of stiff federal regulations reportedly may limit or even scuttle Amazon.com’s plans for a drone-based aerial delivery service.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says operators of unmanned commercial aircraft, which would include Amazon drones, must keep the craft in their line of sight and not fly them over people. The FAA is currently consulting with individuals and interested parties about drone regulations, and has said it is willing to be flexible in how rules are written and implemented.

Amazon.com has been testing drones indoors since 2013 and wants to conduct outdoor pilot tests of its drone-based “Prime Air” delivery service, which would bring customers their orders in 30 minutes or less, by the end of this year. Amazon has said it would develop Prime Air overseas if drone regulations in the U.S. prove too cumbersome. Other proposed FAA regulations regarding drones include keeping them to an altitude of 500 ft. and a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour.

Operators would have to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test and earn an FAA operator certificate.

Chinese e-commerce provider Alibaba and German parcel service Deutsche Post DHL are also conducting drone tests in their respective countries.

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Walmart salutes veterans with $1 million grant

BY CSA STAFF

The Walmart Foundation is funding a three-year initiative to identify new ways in which the non-profit, public and private sectors can better work together to serve veterans.

The $1 million initiative is called Welcome Home North Carolina, and it will operate under the guidance of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, a New York-based organization that solves issues facing former service personnel and their families. Among the institute’s responsibilities will be distributing the $1 million.

“Our veterans add so much to our businesses and communities and it is not only our duty, but our honor to support our men and women in uniform, both during active service and when they return home,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and senior vice president of Walmart Sustainability. “We hope to make it easier for returning service members to reintegrate into civilian life. Welcome Home North Carolina will strengthen the organizations supporting veterans and military families, and provide veterans with information and referrals to navigate from one service to another. Over time, Welcome Home North Carolina can be an example and resource for communities across the country to help them provide more coordinated care for their veterans.”

Welcome Home North Carolina calls for all programs that aid vets and their families to join forces, even to the point of holding one another accountable in cases where the system fails to help a veteran as expected, representatives said. A rollout of the initiative is set for later this summer, including a website to show veterans all the services available to them in the region. Lesser-known agencies that provide such services will be added to the site as they are identified.

The $1 million initiative launches during an important time for veterans and military families across the United States, with many service members projected to leave active service and return to their communities and the civilian workforce. According to the Pew Research Center, almost 44 percent of veterans who have served in the last 10 years report difficulty re-entering civilian life. North Carolina is home to over 770,000 veterans, 116,000 active duty service members, 22,000 Reserve Component members and their families, making WHNC a valuable opportunity to set an example for the rest of the nation.

“As a combat veteran, I understand the great need for our veterans to have a strong support structure when they transition back to civilian life,” said Ilario Pantano, assistant secretary of veterans affairs, N.C. “Our men and women in uniform give so much to ensure our freedom, and I’m proud of the work we’re doing in North Carolina to make our state a haven for service members transitioning back to civilian life.”

“By building upon North Carolina's existing strength in the public, private and nonprofit sectors along with the generous support of the Walmart Foundation, North Carolina has the opportunity to demonstrate to the nation the first statewide coordinated veteran supportive services network, enabled by state of the art technology, to measurably improve the lives of our nation’s veterans and their families,” said Mike Haynie, IVMF’s Executive Director and Vice Chancellor for Veteran and Military Affairs at Syracuse University. “Without a doubt, the findings and best practices identified in North Carolina will inform our work as we expand into other communities around the country.”

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have a long history of supporting our nation’s military service members. Walmart has hired over 77,000 new veteran associates since full implementation of the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment on Memorial Day 2013, and over 6,000 have been promoted to roles of greater responsibility since joining the Walmart team. In North Carolina, over 3,600 veterans have been hired since the Memorial Day 2013 announcement.

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