SUPPLY CHAIN

RILA president urges resolution to West Coast ports contract disput

BY Marianne Wilson

Arlington, Va. — The president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Sandy Kennedy, has sent a letter to the heads of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) urging them to remain focused on securing a new, long-term contract in the immediate future to ensure stability at the west coast ports. The letter reflects the growing angst among the retail community over the lack of a new agreement.

“Without a finalized contract, the chief concern of a possible repeat of the 2002 shutdown remains,” Kennedy wrote.

The protracted negotiations follow the expiration of a six-year agreement between the PMA and ILWU almost two months ago, leaving the long-term stability of the west coast ports as a reliable channel in the global supply chain unsettled. Work has continued during the extended talks.

“Retailers continue to exercise contingency plans throughout their massive supply chain operations despite the fact the west coast negotiations have not reached an impasse,” Kennedy continued. “While goods continue to move at an efficient rate through the west coast ports of entry, each day without a finalized agreement jeopardizes the movement of goods destined for shelves during the all-important holiday season.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Study: QVC tops in mobile customer experience

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago – QVC received top ranking in the Mobile Customer Experience Index from The E-tailing Group. QVC scored 84.17 on a 100-point scale, with the average score being 71.5.

On both iOS and Android platforms, mobile retailers were evaluated on key page prowess, brand parity, likelihood to buy and errors experienced in the process, effective merchandising execution, feature-rich retail locators, lookup and pickup options for multi-channel retailer, product and category information depth, shopper-centric search options, strong cross-channel shopper profile integration, efficient checkout, related tools and likelihood to buy, and cross-device and cross-channel promotion.

In 2014, seven retailers achieved an 80-plus score distinguishing themselves from their peers. QVC took top honors amidst a strong field. Both American Eagle Outfitters and Sephora made the cut two years. These scores reflect shopping experiences shaping up to meet the needs of the mobile shopper. According to The E-tailing Group, mobile execution is being taken seriously and more retailers have attempted to deliver channel consistency while still embracing mobile-centric needs.

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FINANCE

Jamba Juice in agreement with Capgemini; to focus on franchising

BY Marianne Wilson

Emeryville, Calif. — Jamba Inc., operators of Jamba Juice stores, reaffirmed its commitment to accelerate its move to an asset-light model with the announcement that the company has entered into an agreement with Capgemini, a leader provider of consulting, technology, and outsourcing services. (Asset light means a company is focused on franchising and managing locations rather than owning them.) The agreement provides enhanced administrative tools, technology services, and capabilities for Jamba, and is anticipated to create workflow efficiencies while reducing costs as the brand pursues a 10%-20% reduction of overall G&A in 2015.

As part of the drive to an asset-light model, Jamba is also initiating an expanded franchise recruiting and development program. The company is targeting the addition of 500 new stores in the next five years. Combined with Jamba’s ongoing refranchising initiatives, Jamba is expected to move to an 80%+ franchise-to-company-owned model in the next 18 months.

Under the agreement with Capgemini, specific administrative tasks, including application maintenance and development as well as finance and accounting support, that are currently being handled internally at Jamba will be transitioned to Capgemini, providing Jamba with enhanced efficiencies in key areas. The transition, which will utilize Capgemini’s global enterprise model methodology for business process transformation, is expected to contribute to the 10%-20% reduction of overall G&A.

“The relationship with Capgemini is intended to provide the Company with the tools and capabilities required to support our growth plans,” stated Karen Luey, executive VP and chief financial and administrative officer, Jamba, which operates Jamba Juice stores globally. “This move is part of our ongoing efforts to enable rapid global growth supported by world-class infrastructure, processes and systems. We are providing strong outplacement support for affected employees and we were able to find roles within the organization for a number of those whose positions will be transitioned.”

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