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Industry News - September 4th, 2009



Whole Foods Boycott Wants CEO's Head

Two unions have now joined the nearly 32,000 thousand Facebook protestors decrying Whole Foods' CEO John Mackey and calling for his resignation. Mackey in recent weeks has been under attack for a controversial statements made in an op-ed piece featured in the Wall Street Journal.

In the opinion piece, Mackey wrote that healthcare reform is necessary but that "the last thing our country needs is a massive new healthcare entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our healthcare system."

The Change To Win Investment Group and United Food And Commercial Workers Union - both a part of the Change To Win federation of unions representing six million workers - have put out statements criticizing Mackey and encouraging a boycott of the store.

CtW is calling for Mackey's removal as chairman of the board and CEO, while
UFCW has begun handing out pamphlets to Whole Food shoppers.

While Boycott Whole Foods, a Facebook group that continues to attract members by the thousands, continues to call foul, a Facebook group Do Not Boycott Whole Foods has attracted more than 4,000 group members in their support of the retailer.

Mackey, which has remained pretty quiet on the issue, recently wrote in his Whole Foods blog that "I gave my personal opinions... [the] company has no official position on the issue."


Wal-Mart Unveils Sustainable Payroll Program

As part of its company-wide sustainability initiative, Wal-Mart has teamed up with MasterCard Worldwide and First Data and have introduced a new, more sustainable payroll program. The program is designed to reduce the number of paper paychecks and pay stubs distributed each year to Wal-Mart and Sam's Club associates in the United States.

The electronic pay program will include the deployment of the Money Network MasterCard Paycard and electronic pay stubs, which will cut down on paper consumption and provide associates easier access to their wages. First Data will provide the processing and reload network for the program as part of First Data's Money Network Payroll Distribution Service.

"Electronic payroll is the right choice for our associates, our company and the environment," said Tom Schoewe, executive vice-president and CFO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "It provides our associates with fast, convenient and safe access to their pay. The program's ability to reduce paper usage is right in line with Walmart's commitment to eliminate waste wherever we can."

Wal-Mart associates may also now receive their pay either by direct deposit or through the First Data Money Network program and may access their wages through the Money Network MasterCard Paycard or Money Network Checks. The program will provide a more flexible way for associates to get immediate access to their full wages on payday. Associates will not need to come in on their day off or while on vacation to receive their pay, and they will have the convenience of receiving cash fee-free at any Wal-Mart or Sam's Club register. The new electronic pay program will be rolled out to all U.S. associates this month.


Team RadioShack Signs Seven-Time Tour Champ

Team RadioShack announces it has added seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong to its roster of talented cyclists. Armstrong will race in next year's Tour de France as a member of Team RadioShack. "To be able to compete for an American team comprised of the world's top cyclists, supported by the best coaches and staff -- I couldn't be happier to partner with RadioShack, a truly iconic American brand," said Armstrong in a prepared statement. Armstrong previously competed for Motorola, Cofidis, the United States Postal Service and most recently has been riding for Astana.


NCR's Advanced Store POS Achieves PCI Compliance

NCR's Advanced Store POS system has recently been accepted as compliant with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). NCR's Advanced Store POS system version 5.4 of the POS system protects consumers' credit card information from potential security breaches, while providing a multitude of merchandising capabilities such as pricing and promotions; multi-channel support and CRM functionality; returns management and mobile retailing.

PA-DSS was created to help software vendors develop secure payment applications that do not store prohibited data and assist merchants in their compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

The use of PCI-accepted solutions is a must for businesses that accept credit cards, according to David Taylor, security expert and founder of PCI Knowledge Base. "The major card brands now require that banks processing payment card transactions only do business with merchants who use certified payment solutions or who have been certified themselves."

The validation of NCR Advanced Store's adherence to the PA-DSS was performed by Trustwave, a data security and compliance firm that holds Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) designation from the PCI SSC.


Oco Launches Supply Chain Analytics Suite

Oco releases its new Supply Chain Analytics Solutions Suite, which gives retailers visibility into supply chain functions, including transportation & logistics, inventory & customer service, and sourcing. The new suite of solutions provides analytical insight that helps retailers implement supply chain strategies, such as targeted cost reduction, improved inventory management, working capital reduction, enhanced supplier performance and improved customer service levels.

Oco's analytics suite integrates data from multiple sources, host data in a data warehouse, and offer business intelligence tools to help retailers gain insights from advanced analytics and visualization capabilities.

The New Supply Chain Analytics Solutions Suite includes:

- Reporting that allows users to analyze (slice and dice) integrated supply chain data across numerous dimensions 
- Interactive executive dashboards 
- What-if scorecards 
- Exception reports and alerts 
- Ad-hoc analysis tools to address an inquiry
- Graphical visualization capabilities.

The solutions also allow companies to collaborate with customers, suppliers, and other outside parties through a Web interface.

The solutions in the Oco Supply Chain Solutions Suite include:

- Oco Transportation Analytics provides a view of an organization's entire transportation performance, including all transportation spend on a detailed level, capacity utilization, carrier performance, comparison to budget or revised plans, and delivery performance. 

- Oco Inventory Analytics enable companies to gain visibility into their inventory across a multi-tiered global network, including quantities, value, status, availability, age and expected usage.

- Oco Sourcing & Supplier Analytics provides a view of a company's supplier performance and spend. These analytics cover a number of areas, including spend analysis, supplier performance tracking and evaluation, and purchase order status.


Fred's Stores Add Electronic Receiving

Fred's Stores rolls out Direct Store Delivery Receiving from SofTechnics. The system will be rolled out across 650 stores by the end of September 2009. The discount chain will use an in-store receiving application; a module within SofTechnics' SoftGrocer suite that is integrated with Fred's host and internal accounting systems.

Fred's is utilizing in-store receiving for improved gross margins, accuracy, and control of their entire line of direct delivery products, which is its expanding assortment of items within their stores.

"Fred's has formed a partnership with SofTechnics and is pleased with the SoftGrocer receiving application," says Jim Deats, senior vice president and CIO, Fred's. "This system has reduced the time to receive product in the stores, simplified procedures, provided needed control over this process, and improved the timing of detailed inventory balances. Perhaps the most important benefit is the savings we have experienced by ensuring accurate costing of products."

"We conducted store surveys after the implementation of SoftGrocer and received high approval ratings from our Store Managers due to the improved accuracy and increased productivity," says Teresa Gabor, vice president of corporate direct purchases, Fred's.

"We consider this project a win/win for Fred's and our Direct Vendor Community." Fred's in-store receiving solution utilizes one component of SofTechnics' suite of store level mobile applications to provide electronic invoicing of direct deliveries utilizing EDI standards for Direct Exchange (DEX) and Network Exchange (NEX).

"SoftGrocer provides a single point of control for received items and inventory management," says Jim Sanders, vice president systems development, Fred's. "It makes receiving, replenishment, and tracking of store inventory efficient and precise. There are tools to help our store associates focus on exceptions and it is configurable to meet our specific needs. We've built tools to give us visibility into vendor violations and invoice discrepancies to assist our merchants in managing the vendor relationships and in maintaining quality delivery standards."

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