Posts tagged with "Agreement"

Uniqlo replaces 90% of staff with robots at newly automated warehouse

October 15, 2018

They don’t take bathroom or lunch breaks; and they don’t commute or need medical benefits: At a warehouse in Tokyo that was once mainly staffed by people, robots now are inspecting, sorting, and packing the clothing bound for stores operated by Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo, Quartz reported on October 10.

The company recently remodeled the warehouse to install the automated system, which was created in partnership with Daifuku, a provider of material handling systems. Now that the system is up and running, Uniqlo has been able to cut staff at the warehouse by 90%—and to schedule operations 24 hours a day.

According to The Japan News, which toured the facility, the robotic system transfers products delivered to the warehouse by truck, reads electronic tags attached to the products, and confirms stock numbers and other information.

When shipping, the system wraps products placed on a conveyor belt in cardboard and attaches labels to the boxes. Only a small portion of work at the warehouse needs to be done by employees, the company said.

The Tokyo warehouse is just a first step in a larger plan envisioned by Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, which already has announced a strategic partnership with Daifuku with the goal of automating all of Uniqlo’s warehouses in Japan and overseas.  The companies did not specify the number of warehouses that would be updated.

Uniqlo plans to invest 100 billion yen (about US$887 million) in the project over an unspecified timeframe. (The Japan News reported that it costs anywhere from US$9 million to US$90 million to retrofit one existing warehouse.)

Uniqlo believes the system will help it minimize storage costs and, importantly, deliver products faster around the world. The company has set a target of 3 trillion yen (about $US26.6 billion) in annual revenue. Last year its revenue was about 1.86 trillion yen (US$17 billion).

Research contact: marc@qz.com

Trump ‘makes nice’ with North Korea

June 13, 2018

It was a long-awaited meeting of two world titans,  but just one walked away from the table truly a winner, according to a June 12 report by the news outlet Mic. U.S. President Donald Trump faced off with North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on Monday night—and while the POTUS promised to stop America’s joint military exercises with South Korea on the Korean Peninsula, the North Korean ruler only committed “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

What’s more, the document that the two men signed at the summit had few, if any, details about what the latter promise means. North Korea agreed to similar denuclearization language back in 2005 and never followed through.

Later, during a news conference—Trump’s first since January 2017, Mic reported—Trump called the military exercises “war games,” and said they were “very provocative.” Trump also suggested that while pulling U.S. troops from South Korea was “not part of the equation right now,” that could be coming in the future.

When the pundits weighed in, they said that Trump had made some major concessions without “any reciprocal concrete agreements” during the negotiations.

Indeed, Trump ultimately concluded that he might not actually be able to trust Kim after all. “I may be wrong, I mean I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong,’” Trump said at the news conference.

Of North Korea’s human rights violations—which the POTUS declined to mention during the summit—Trump told the reporters, “I believe it’s a rough situation over there. It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there.”

Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist who has been critical of Trump, characterized the meeting as a failure. “Claims of achievements from this summit are nonsensical,” Schmidt tweeted. “Trump got nothing except empty promises. Kim Jong-un achieved global standing for his evil regime and got military exercises cancelled. The sycophantic panting and exultations across the GOP and Trump media are delusional.”

Erick Erickson, another GOP pundit, criticized Trump’s behavior during the summit, in which Trump befriended a dictator who is hostile to America., but criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is the leader of one of America’s best and oldest allies. “If Obama had had the last 24 hours that Trump has had, the GOP would be demanding his impeachment,” Erickson tweeted.

However, Trump’s base may be happy with the results and the American public may be relieved by the cessation of overt hostilities, now that North Korea has proven that it is a nuclear power.

In an AP/NORC Center for Public Affairs poll conducted before the summit, most Americans thought the relationship with Pyongyang would remain strained, even after the meeting. Twenty percent believed that the U.S. relationship with North Korea would improve, while 47% said it would worsen and 31% anticipated no change. Thus, a lull in the animus and aggression would be a reprieve.

Research contact: Young-Eric@norc.org