Thanks to relaxation in airport policies, the world’s largest shipping companies are increasing their productivity and efficiency, Bloomberg News reports. In Memphis, Tennessee, regulators decided that wide-bodied aircraft could begin to fly closer to each other. For Fedex, this increased hourly arrivals by more than 20 percent and cut taxi times by more than three minutes, which the company credits to a 7 percent fuel savings and increased sorting efficiency for 1.5 million nightly packages.
The Federal Aviation Administration also is preparing to enact similar changes to UPS’s hub airport in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as several other airports riddled with delays. Avanced advanced technology and research has demonstrated that planes are separated by more time than is necessary at these locations.
The easing of restrictions is a way to increase capacity without spending millions on new runways, says Scott Pressley, union representative for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.
“It’s another way for them to push down costs within their airline network,” says Kevin Sterling, analyst at BB&T Capital Markets. “You’ve got fuel savings, less taxi time, and [fewer] pilot hours, too.”
Customer Responsiveness Key to Success in Consumer Packaged Goods
Consumer packaged goods companies benefit when they respond quickly to highly-connected customers, according to a report released by PwC and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Despite an overall decline in sales growth for the consumer packaged goods industry, food, beverage, and household products companies achieved net growth in 2012. According to the report, the best-performing companies are successful because they identify their customers, enter in a discourse with them, and create products that aim to reach them directly.
“Consumers today share much more readily with each other and with companies than in the past,” says Bert Alfonso, international president at Hershey. “That’s a rich body of information for companies.”
“To drive profitability, providing consumers with the core product may not be enough,” says Lisa Feigen Dugal, North American advisory leader for the retail and consumer industry at PwC. She adds that social media, innovation, and direct-to-consumer channels are among the primary ways consumer packaged goods manufacturers are providing added value to customers.
The report also finds that more than 40 percent of consumer packaged goods companies expect to sell products directly to consumers this year, up from 24 percent in 2012.
What You Need to Know about 3D Printing
3D printing has arrived, and it’s a highly disruptive technology. Forbeshighlights some of the following observations about the technology as it enters the mainstream.
There’s a free market for shapes. Currently, websites such as thingverse.com provide a way to upload 3D models and enable them to be searched by anyone, downloaded, and printed.
Big-box retail is on the way out. Stores similar to IKEA’s business model depend on sourcing, shipping, and storing millions of products. But it will soon make more sense to print these items on demand, Forbesreports.
Instead of products, customers want designs. Unless you’re making it easy for customers to buy your designs, you risk getting them pirated, as with sites such as shapeways.com, which offers customers a way to purchase print-on-demand products from designs they provide.
Niche markets and focus on craft will come back. When 3D printing and other manufacturing methods become more accessible, there is a renewed interest in skill with real materials and niche markets, as in the example of the neighborhood indie bookstore.
Finally, Forbes notes that object attorneys should become particularly valuable in the new economy.