Report: Chinese authorities ask Wal-Mart to resolve labor dispute
Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has reportedly been given a May 30 deadline to settle a labor dispute in the Chinese city of Changde. According to the Wall Street Journal, Changde officials want Wal-Mart to reach an out-of-court settlement with workers at a store there which is scheduled to close.
The workers claim they did not receive proper compensation for or notification of the impending closure, and want their severance doubled. Sixty-nine of 135 store employees are currently in arbitration talks with Wal-Mart. The retailer said it is attempting to comply with the request and reach a mutual agreement with employees.
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CVS launches specialty prescription program
Woonsocket, R.I. – CVS is launching Specialty Connect, a specialty prescription services program that allows to bring their specialty prescriptions to any CVS/pharmacy location, as a complement to existing specialty pharmacy processes.
After initiating their prescriptions, patients receive insurance guidance and dedicated clinical support by phone from a team of specialty pharmacy experts, trained in each therapeutic area, who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The program also lets customers choose between in-store pickup or receiving their medications via mail service delivery.
"Specialty Connect helps specialty patients with these critical therapies by helping to eliminate common challenges they had often faced and by offering them flexibility and choice," said Alan Lotvin, M.D., executive VP of specialty pharmacy for CVS Caremark. "The program makes it easier and more convenient for patients to submit and receive their specialty prescriptions either through CVS/pharmacy or by mail. What’s more, it increases medication adherence, improves outcomes and lowers overall health care costs for specialty patients and payors."
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Target creates Digital Advisory Council to speed omnichannel efforts
Minneapolis — Target Corp. has formed a Digital Advisory Council as part of its efforts to accelerate its digital transformation. Target said the council will help guide the retailer’s omnichannel strategies and push it to innovate faster, and discover new ways to leverage technology to enhance the shopper experience – both online and in stores.
In addition to forming the new council, Target is bolstering its internal digital talent with plans to hire at least 50 new software engineers this year for Target.com and Mobile product teams. The engineers will be primarily based in Minneapolis, where they will work as part of the company’s new digital product teams. Some new engineers will be based in Target’s San Francisco office.
Target’s new digital council includes experts with varied tech backgrounds, and is comprised of:
- Ajay Agarwal, managing director of Bain Capital Ventures;
- Amy Chang, CEO/co-founder of Accompani, formerly led Google Analytics;
- Roger Liew, chief technology officer of Orbitz Worldwide; and
- Sam Yagan, CEO of the Match Group and CEO/founder of OkCupid.
“We believe this council can play an important role in Target’s digital transformation – one of our top priorities as a company,” said Casey Carl, president of Omnichannel, Target. “This new group is bringing their tremendous talents and experience to help guide Target’s strategies and tactics. They’re also providing fresh, disruptive ideas that will help us re-invent the Target run for tomorrow’s guests.”
The council will meet quarterly as a group with Carl and others driving Target’s omnichannel strategies, including Target.com and Mobile teams, the Enterprise Strategy team and other Target leaders. Council members, who will serve two-year terms with an optional third year, also will be called upon to provide guidance on various topics and to help Target connect with other tech leaders.
In the past year, Target has launched a number of successful digital initiatives, including the mobile coupon app Cartwheel, Target Subscriptions and Store Pickup, which allows guests to buy online at Target.com and pickup in a store. Target is now enhancing and expanding these services while also beginning to test new offerings like same-day delivery and the ability to ship online orders from stores.
“Target is pursuing an aggressive omnichannel agenda and we want to go faster,” said Carl. “We’re confident that efforts such as creating the council and adding new engineering talent to our organization will help us achieve our goal of becoming a leading omnichannel retailer.”
Let's not forget that Target also laid off most of the mobile and "emerging media" teams in February, including most of the players responsible for innovations like Cartwheel and the other cited digital initiatives -- from the VP level on down. Most of these folks quickly found employment at other top retailers eager to advance their own omnichannel objectives. I applaud Target's efforts to finally engage with top leaders in tech and to move beyond "not invented here," but as a shareholder (albeit a small one) I'd strongly advise a more "back to basics" approach: fix the front line problems called out in the recent Gawker expose and figure out a way to empower and retain smart, high-powered, engaged worker bees who are going to execute the brilliant ideas generated in your quarterly advisory board meetings. So much amazing talent has already jumped ship and gone to your competitors. Who's going to be left to realize the advisory board's strategic insights?