Retail profits are plummeting. Stores are closing. The internet is apparently taking down yet another industry. Brick-and-mortar stores seem to be going the way of the yellow pages. Sure enough, the Census Bureau just released data showing that online retail sales surged 15.2 percent between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.
In the B2B world companies have been reluctant to open up to their customer networks. Rather than use social media, for instance, they rely on the traditional way of engaging with prospects and customers. So, if you have a problem with your industrial cement mixer, you usually have only two options: read the manual or call your sales rep.
All of us aspire to work for leaders who truly value our input. We're looking for a "speak-up culture" - the kind of workplace where we feel welcome and included, free to express our views and opinions, and confident that our ideas will be heard and recognized. But it's not just employees who benefit from this kind of workplace culture. So do employers and shareholders.
Technologies like 3-D printing, robotics, advanced motion controls and new methods for continuous manufacturing hold great potential for improving how companies design and build products to better serve customers. But if the past is any indicator, many established firms will be slow to adjust because of a formidable obstacle: legacy assets and capabilities that they are reluctant to abandon.
Recently, McDonald's, the world's iconic largest food service provider, has been (forgive the cliché) through the grinder. Poor performance has led to the departure of its CEO and plenty of critical attention in the business pages. Part of this story relates to the provenance, or origins, of its products: Chains that provide more upmarket "fast casual" dining such as Panera, Chipotle, and Shake Shack have brands that speak of freshness, health and trustworthy sourcing.