Go Lean Commentary
This commentary – from December 3, 2014 – was re-distributed on the occasion of the American Holiday Thanksgiving for 2015, as it is applicable for any Thanksgiving any year. Be thankful people; be festive and most important, be safe!
To understand American commerce, one must learn the BIG shopping “days of the week” – Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, as follows:
- Black Friday – This is the Friday following the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the US (the fourth Thursday of November). Since the early 2000’s, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and most major retailers open very early and offer promotional sales. Black Friday is not a public holiday, but some states observe “The Day After Thanksgiving” as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the day after off, followed by a weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. In 2014, $50.9 billion was spent during the 4-day Black Friday weekend. While approximately 133 million U.S. consumers shopped during the same period.
- Small Business Saturday – This refers to the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. First observed in 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick-and-mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express Corporation. Small Business Saturday UK began in the UK in 2013 after the success of Small Business Saturday in America.
- Cyber Monday – This is a marketing term for the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday. The term was created by marketing companies to persuade people to shop online. The term made its debut on November 28, 2005, in a Shop.org press release entitled “‘Cyber Monday Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year”. According to the Shop.org/Bizrate Research 2005 eHoliday Mood Study, “77 percent of online retailers said that their sales increased substantially on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a trend that is driving serious online discounts and promotions on Cyber Monday this year (2005)”. In 2014, Cyber Monday online sales grew to a record $2.68 billion, compared with last year’s $2.29 billion. However, the average order value was $124, down slightly from 2013’s $128. The deals on Cyber Monday are online-only and generally offered by smaller retailers that cannot compete with the big retailers. Black Friday generally offers better deals on technology; with nearly 85% more data storage deals than Cyber Monday. The past Black Fridays saw far more deals for small appliances, cutlery, and kitchen gadgets on average than Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is larger for fashion retail. On the past two Cyber Mondays, there was an average of 45% more clothing deals than on Black Friday. There were also 50% more shoe deals on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday. Cyber Monday has become an international marketing term used by online retailers in Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Uganda, Japan, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
- Giving Tuesday – refers to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It is a movement to create a national day of giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season. Giving Tuesday was started in 2012 by the “92nd Street Y” (Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association in New York, NY) and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season (Black Friday and Cyber Monday). This occasion is often stylized as #GivingTuesday for purposes of hashtag activism.
That’s a lot of commerce … and philanthropy too!
This encyclopedic discussion is necessary for the Caribbean to model the best-practices of American commerce. The focus of this commentary is the role of one company in the pantheon of Cyber Monday, Amazon. This firm has previously been featured in a Go Lean blog, and is identified as a model for Caribbean logistics, our means for delivering the mail; this is the vision for the Caribbean Postal Union (CPU).
The focus of the book Go Lean…Caribbean and the CPU is not just postal mail, but rather logistics. Mail requires logistics, but logistics encompasses so much more than just mail. So we would want to model a successful enterprise in this industry space, like Amazon, not just another postal operation, like the US Postal Service (Page 99).
Amazon provides a good example of lean technocratic efficiency. So Amazon is a good model, not just for the CPU but the entire Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The Go Lean book, serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic CU.
One reason why Amazon is modeled for their lean stature is their use of automation. This following VIDEO depicts the creative solution of using robots to facilitate logistics in a warehouse environment:
VIDEO: Robots help Amazon tackle Cyber Monday – http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/robots-help-amazon-tackle-cyber-monday/
December 1, 2014 – Cyber Monday is the biggest sales day of the year for online retail giant, Amazon. Last year, Amazon customers ordered 426 items every second on Cyber Monday, and this year that number is expected to grow. In addition to the 80-thousand seasonal workers they employ to fulfill orders, thousands of robots also crawl the warehouse floors. CNET.com’s KaraTsuboi takes us inside an Amazon fulfillment center to watch the robots in action. (VIDEO plays best in Internet Explorer).
Lean, automation, robotics, technocratic …
… welcome to the new Caribbean.
This is the mission of Go Lean roadmap, to elevate the economic engines of Caribbean society; industrial policy plays a key role in this roadmap. The region needs the jobs, so we need job creators: companies. These companies, or better stated, Direct Foreign Investors, need a pro-innovation environment to deploy their automated solutions. The Go Lean roadmap allows the structure of Self-Governing Entities (SGE) to incentivize industrial developments in the region. It is the expectation that robots and automated systems will flourish. The independence of the SGE structure neutralizes conflicts with “labor”.
Related issues have previously been detailed in these Go Lean commentaries listed here:
In addition to the roadmap encouraging robotic automation, the CU will directly employ such technologically innovative products and services to impact its own prime directives; the CPU is such a reflection; more automation and less labor. The CU’s prime directives are identified with the following 3 statements:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
- Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.
The CPU features economic, security and governing concerns.
The Go Lean roadmap seeks to change the entire eco-system of Caribbean logistics and resulting commerce – the interaction with postal operations. This vision is defined early in the book (Page 12 & 14) in the following pronouncements in the Declaration of Interdependence:
xv. Whereas the business of the Federation and the commercial interest in the region cannot prosper without an efficient facilitation of postal services, the Caribbean Union must allow for the integration of the existing mail operations of the governments of the member-states into a consolidated Caribbean Postal Union, allowing for the adoption of best practices and technical advances to deliver foreign/domestic mail in the region.
xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.
Amazon is not our only example. A previous blog/commentary identified Chinese company Alibaba as a fitting role model for Caribbean consideration. There are so many best-practices around the world for the region to study and glean insights and wisdom from. The successful application of this roadmap will foster such best-practices for the delivery of the CPU logistics in the Caribbean. The wisdom the Go Lean book gleans are presented as a series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies; a detailed sample is listed as follows:
|Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification||Page 21|
|Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives||Page 21|
|Community Ethos – Job Multiplier||Page 22|
|Community Ethos – Intelligence Gathering||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – Lean Operations||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future||Page 26|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius||Page 27|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship||Page 28|
|Community Ethos – Promote Intellectual Property||Page 29|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Bridge the Digital Divide||Page 31|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing||Page 35|
|Strategy – Customers – Citizens and Member-states Governmental||Page 47|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Postal Services||Page 78|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Interstate Commerce Administration||Page 79|
|Implementation – Year 1 / Assemble Phase – Establish CPU||Page 96|
|Anecdote – Implementation Plan – Mail Services – US Dilemma||Page 99|
|Implementation – Steps to Implement Self-Governing Entities||Page 105|
|Implementation – Improve Mail Services – Electronic Supplements||Page 108|
|Implementation – Ways to Deliver||Page 109|
|Planning – 10 Big Ideas for the Caribbean Region||Page 127|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Interstate Commerce||Page 129|
|Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy||Page 151|
|Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs||Page 152|
|Advocacy –Ways to Improve Governance||Page 168|
|Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology||Page 197|
|Advocacy – Ways to Foster e-Commerce||Page 198|
|Advocacy – Ways to Promote Call Centers||Page 212|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Urban Living||Page 234|
Following the Amazon’s example (and Alibaba’s example) will spur the Caribbean to embrace more robotic technologies. This field is new, fresh and ready for innovation. There is a level-playing-field for any innovator to earn market share. The underlying company in the foregoing VIDEO is Kiva Systems – a Massachusetts based company that manufactures mobile robotic fulfillment systems. They rolled out a great product, then “Lo-and-behold”, they were acquired by a major e-Commerce company. Today, they are a subsidiary of Amazon, yet their material-handling systems are currently used by many other retailers including: The Gap, Walgreens, Staples, Gilt Groupe, Office Depot, Crate & Barrel, Saks 5th Avenue, and more.
This commentary therefore features the subjects of commerce, logistics and entrepreneurship. The Caribbean can emulate this model from Amazon. The biggest ingredient missing in the region is the ‘will’. But the ‘will’ can be fostered anew in the Caribbean. This is the heavy-lifting for the CU, instituting such new community ethos.
Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in for the empowerments in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This is a Big Idea for the region; that of a Cyber Caribbean, in which Cyber Mondays may become a big deal for our region – not only as consumers, but producers as well. Therefore, this roadmap is not just a plan for delivering the mail/packages, but rather a plan for delivering the future.
We must employ whatever tools and techniques, robotics included, to make the region a better homeland to live, work and play.
Does “play“include Robots? Yes, indeed. Consider this fun VIDEO here. 🙂
Supplemental VIDEO – The “Nutcracker” performed by Dancing Kiva Order Fulfillment Robots: http://youtu.be/Vdmtya8emMw
Appendix – Source References:
2. “‘Cyber Monday’ Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year”. Shop.org.
3. “Fundivo – Cyber Monday Statistics”. Fundivo.
4. “What’s the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?”. Mirror.co.uk. Mirror.co.uk. Nov 28, 2013. Retrieved 2014-11-25.
5. “Pima County in Arizona Replaces Columbus Day with Black Friday”. BestBlackFriday.com. 2013-08-07.
6. “”Fundivo – Black Friday Statistics””. Fundivo.
7. Small Business Saturday Hailed as Success. The Telegraph. 8 December 2013″. Telegraph.co.uk. 8 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
8. Fox, Zoe (October 23, 2012). “6 Inspiring Organizations Joining in #GivingTuesday”. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
9. “#GivingTuesday: About”. Giving Tuesday. Retrieved February 15, 2014.