business news in context, analysis with attitude

On the subject of the continuing unionization efforts at Amazon, one MNB reader wrote:

My father was a 30 year textile mill worker.  He told me he joined the union when they fought for fair pay for a fair day's work.  And he left the union when they started fighting for higher pay (and union dues) for less work to hold on to their power.  The day he was asked to greet the union officials at the airport tore it. They arrived in a private plane. 

Responding to our story about the FTC looking into price increases and supply chain issues at major retailers, one MNB reader wrote:

The FTC is looking too far in the weeds on this.  I would bet money that the findings come back from the likes of C&S, AWI, McLane, and retailers that the issues created by supply chain fall on the doorstep of manufacturers.  When in actuality, it is a compilation of everything in the supply chain.  Manufacturers have ingredient sourcing issues and are unable to keep up with demand.  Truckers are flat out not available, or cherry pick loads, or don’t show for appt. times.  Wholesalers / retailers don’t extend receiving windows, so more loads are crunched into tighter times, which is causing trucks to take longer to unload therefore missing next appts. or they can’t get in to deliver needed product.  DC’s are full and short staffed, therefore causing backups and delays on inbound and outbound PO’s.  Retailers ordering systems can’t react to spikes in product demand therefore further exasperating shelf issues.  So instead of everyone working together to solve this mess, they are working in silos and pointing fingers at each other. 

All that is done is that the manufacturers get fined, and nothing gets solved.  All parties need to come together for a true resolution.  We as an industry should not need to have government step in.  This should be able to be handled internally.  Where are all the associations we all belong to in this?  What are they doing??  Again, working in silos.  They would be a tremendous asset in bringing all to the table for resolution. Stop pointing fingers and start joining hands.   There, solved.  FTC, you can go back to doing something more constructive like finding a way to get more truckers in the seats.

You say that the FTC is going too far into the weeds on this, but then seem to argue that the FTC won't go into the weeds far enough.

We'll see.  There remains the possibility that the new FTC leadership could surprise us.

On another subject, an MNB reader wrote:

I was fascinated to read the update on Williams Sonoma – I guess it explains the ridiculously terrible e-commerce experience in which I’m enmeshed. My order placed on October 22 has yet to arrive. Rather than receive updates, it’s up to me to visit the original email and click on “Track Delivery.” Original dates of October 27-28 for one item and November 5 for the other three have blown past.

The updates once I click through to track state “We regret we are currently unable to provide a delivery estimate. We are committed to resolving this quickly and apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you for your patience.” That’s for two of the items…the other two have updated delivery dates of 12/3-12/6 and 12/7.

While one of the three items is particular to Williams Sonoma, the other three could have been purchased many other places, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, or Amazon. Once I’m through this debacle – if I’m ever through this debacle – Williams Sonoma won’t be in my consideration set to get fooled again.

Boy, compare that to the description of the customer experience at Runamok Maple that was described here yesterday….

Let's take this back to our story above about companies being more customer-centric.  You have to take ownership of every part of the customer experience, because these moments define how you are perceived by shoppers, who then decide where and where not to do business.  You can't be casual about it, can't outsource it, can't do anything but be relentlessly focused on it.