Tag Archives: supply chain

Register Robot System in Japan

Do you ever get tired of waiting in line to check out of a grocery store? In the future, the check-out process will be streamlined, using more robotic registers. Recently, Panasonic teamed with Lawson food stores in Japan for a trial run of its new robotic check-out system. The “Reji-Robo” robotic check-out uses RFID tags to scan the items in a shopper’s basket, and then even bags the groceries automatically. (RFID tags are thin, small electronics components that wirelessly communicate within a short distance.)

Panasonic’s robotic check-out is somewhat similar to Amazon Go’s concept store in Seattle. However, with Reji-Robo, customers get a sensor-equipped basket when they walk into the stores, then choose items and place them into the smart basket. In a step beyond Amazon Go, the Panasonic basket once placed in to the robotic check-out system, automatically computes the transaction, the bottom of the basket opens, and the items are automatically lowered into plastic bags for the shopper.

The RFID system also holds promise to speed up the supply chain, increase accuracy, improve productivity, and improve inventory control and tracking.

What’s in your basket?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss some of the more frustrating and costly parts of retail and shopping.
  2. Show the Panasonic video: https://youtu.be/Hpp-3Ver7ig
  3. If students are not familiar with Amazon Go, view the video and concept at: https://www.amazon.com/b?node=16008589011#
  4. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  5. Which strategy is Panasonic using for this product? Why?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market robotic check-out systems.

Source: Brandchannel.com

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The Changing Face of Selling Furniture

Consumers are used to buying small items such as books, music, and household goods online thanks to Amazon and other ecommerce retailers. But what about shopping for larger and more expensive items such as furniture? Is there a market for online sales of furniture?

It turns out that the answer to that question is “yes.” Wayfair, Inc., a Boston-based retailer has no physical stores with very minimal inventory, but it has grown to be the largest online-only retailer in the United States with revenue more than $2.25 billion! The company advertises itself as selling “a zillion things home” and carries more than seven million products, from rugs to sofas. Utilizing a supply network of more than 7,000 different furnishings suppliers, the company ships large bulky items direct from suppliers to the consumers.

While it might initially seem that consumers would not be interested in buying furniture online, Wayfair uses a unique combination of Web site along with television shows to showcase its products and designs. The show “The Way Home” sponsored by Wayfair airs on Lifetime TV on Saturdays. Different episodes focus on design challenges including the latest trends, utilizing small spaces, and decorating on a budget.

Go ahead, see how to make over your least-favorite room on a budget!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. While the buying process may vary slightly for different products and target markets, the basic 5-step process remains the same: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
  2. For furniture buying, have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps.
  3. Next, show Wayfair’s Web site: https://www.wayfair.com/
  4. Show Wayfair’s TV show: https://www.wayfair.com/thewayhome/?&episode=10&clip=1
  5. How is the company using integrated marketing communications?
  6. For furniture, who is the target market?
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for Wayfair. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.

Source:  Wall Street Journal   

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Pizza Vending Machine


Quick, name the different foods and drinks we can get from vending machines… The list probably includes snacks and soft drinks, and maybe some sandwiches. But what about pizza – do you have pizza on the vending machine list? Probably not, but that will soon change.

Let’s Pizza, a vending machine company created by Italians and distributed in Europe from a company in The Netherlands, will soon be coming to the U.S. The machine creates custom pizzas from scratch in under three minutes! The machine includes a specially developed bag of flour and a bag of mineral water. Whenever a pizza is ordered, the machine makes the dough, shapes the crust, tops it with organic tomato sauce, and adds requested toppings.

Worried about out-of-stock situations? Don’t be. Each pizza machine is connected to the Internet to help control stock and will automatically reorder. Each machine contains enough ingredients for 200 pizzas! The price for a 10-1/2 inch pizza is $5.95.

Machines can be placed almost anywhere where there is high foot traffic and hungry patrons. Are you hungry yet?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss where students eat when they want fast food. Also, what types of vending machines do they use to purchase foods? What factors do they use to make a decision?
  2. Walk through the steps in a consumer decision process: problem recognition, information search, alternative evaluation, selection criteria, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
  3. Compare how consumers go through this process for ordering traditional pizza, versus using Let’s Pizza vending for getting food.
  4. Show Let’s Pizza video: https://youtu.be/B4_C1BmT-R8
  5. View Let’s Pizza Web site and video: http://www.uniquepizza.co.uk/
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a profile for the target market. Once that is done, have the teams develop a distribution strategy (locations) for the machines.

Source: Pizza Marketplace

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