Brittain Ladd

Cross-Border Logistics and Bimodal Supply Chain Management
Brittain has been focused on designing and implementing best-in-class innovative supply chains for leading retail, CPG, FMCG, Oil & Gas, and chemical companies globally. With hands-on experience working and living in China, Saudi Arabia, and Europe, Brittain has been recognized by leading universities and logistics organizations as being an expert in strategy, supply chain management, cross-border commerce, logistics, and transportation. His GRIDD concept for online grocery retailing was recognized in 2015 as being a Top 100 Idea in Business.

As a former Marine, he believes that anything can be achieved regardless of the size of the challenge. As a holder of three Master's degrees and certifications in Six Sigma, Lean, and Logistics, Brittain has achieved the perfect balance of academic achievement supplemented by real-world global experience.

He is also a prolific writer on LinkedIn and pens a monthly column for several publications. Brittain has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and numerous international publications.

  • Posted on: 05/12/2017

    Will Amazon dominate the online furniture market?

    I won't provide too many details other than to state that at Amazon, I was frequently asked to provide consulting internally on topics where I had a level of experience. For example, white glove services for furniture and appliances as well as designing and implementing heavy/bulky supply chain and logistics strategies. Not only will Amazon be successful, within five years they'll have the majority of online market share in the categories of furniture, home furnishings, and appliances.As for stores ... you don't need stores when you can leverage small showrooms and virtual reality that allows a consumer to experience replacing furniture in their home, viewing how a picture will look on a wall, how a throw rug will look with a specific coffee table and so on.As I have stated publicly many times -- it is time to crush all assumptions when it comes to Amazon and the impact of technology and hyper-logistics on retail. Amazon has the ability to move into any industry, be it auto parts, oil and gas, or home improvement and be successful. Master logistics, operations, and technology to create a new and improved customer experience, and you can disrupt any retail category.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2016

    Why is Target making nice with Amazon?

    Target should do much more than just sell Amazon products; Target should leverage Amazon's vast fulfillment and transportation capabilities in order to reduce the costs and complexity of their supply chain. Let me get straight to the point: Target, Walmart, Macy's, Gap, etc., etc., are learning the hard way that it is extremely challenging to compete with Amazon. Therefore, executives should shift their thinking from "What is our Amazon strategy" to "How can we leverage Amazon to reduce our cost and complexity and achieve a competitive advantage?"The biggest risk facing retailers is their inability to compete with Amazon due to Amazon's size and massive product selection. Since Amazon will continue to grow in size and selection, retailers would be wise make Amazon part of their strategy vs. trying to compete head-to-head with Amazon.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2016

    Is online a bigger threat to independent merchants than big boxes?

    The cold hard truth of retailing is that consumers have little desire to shop at independent retailers. Online merchants have created an ecosystem whereby consumers can find anything and everything at lower costs and have the products delivered in as little as a few hours.Buy local and other programs generate a sense of pride but little in the way of actual sales. Yes, independent retailers can certainly offer personalized service but since the majority of online merchants offer product return service, as well as replacing products that don't meet the need of a customer with no questions asked, one can make an argument that online merchants have crossed the bridge to personalizing the retail experience.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2016

    Will 365 concept prove to be the future of Whole Foods?

    The challenge for Whole Foods is that 365 may be a new concept for them but it is not a new concept within grocery retailing. In other words, there are grocery retailers, especially Lidl, that consumers will gravitate towards as Lidl expands. I have been in the 365 Whole Foods located in Lake Oswego and I found the store interesting but not earth shattering. Frankly, I'm surprised that Whole Foods didn't acquire Sprouts and re-brand the stores as 365 Whole Foods.A bigger issue for Whole Foods is that their corporate reputation is taking a hit due to quality issues and price gouging; all of the criticism is warranted. In addition, Whole Foods just lost their trademark fight to be known as the "World's Healthiest grocery store." Consumers already distrust Whole Foods and volumes has been written about how expensive whole foods is when compared to other grocery retailers. Simply put, 365 Whole Foods will not be enough to prevent the company from experiencing declining market share if consumers believe Whole Foods is more of a con than pro.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2016

    Ahold Delhaize is a done deal. What now?

    A challenge is going to be managing the integration of systems, the supply chain, and cultures to ensure the identified synergies can be achieved. Sobeys of Canada can attest to the challenges associated with merging two grocery retailers. In the case of Sobeys, their acquisition of Safeway was an unmitigated disaster resulting in a loss of nearly $1B and the termination of the CEO of Sobeys.Another challenge is going to be branding. I find it interesting that when it comes to grocery retailers, consumers are very brand sensitive and loyal, especially in certain regions of the United States. With nearly 7,000 stores, 22 brands, and 50 million weekly customers served, a key area of focus should be on exploring how to building the brands within the portfolio.Finally, the big question for me is strategy: how will Ahold Delhaize compete against the increased presence of ALDI? What about Lidl? Will Ahold Delhaize attempt to introduce new food categories or products into the US and vice versa? What about new store formats? What about Omni-channel? Can all procurement be combined and leveraged? How does Ahold Delhaize win at the store?
  • Posted on: 07/21/2016

    Has social advertising broken through as a purchase driver?

    This study reinforces why I continue to state very clearly that I believe it is only a matter of time before Facebook makes the decision to become an e-commerce retailer, probably by acquiring Jet.Com and/or Pitney Bowes. Facebook, their their platform, and membership in excess of one billion people is well-positioned to expand into e-commerce.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2016

    Is retail’s 800-pound gorilla or a crafty coyote?

    It must be pointed out that Amazon is not a global retailer ... yet. Frankly, Amazon has barely scratched the surface in terms of entering countries globally and implementing the full extent of their marketplaces and services such as Prime, Prime Now, Amazon Fresh and Pantry, as well as their streaming services just to name a few. In other words, Amazon has massive growth opportunities in the coming years that will increase revenue and the value of the company. Simply put — Amazon is barely a teenager in terms of their lifespan. I don't believe analysts truly have an idea of how large Amazon will be by the time Amazon reaches adulthood; probably in 15 years.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2016

    Will consumers buy subscriptions for Tide from P&G?

    There will be limited interest in Tide's pods for the simple fact that the majority of consumers who purchase Tide pods do so during their weekly grocery shopping excursions at their local grocery store. Their detergent pods and not a product with a high-level of importance to consumers. For example: "I ran out of Tide pods, alas, now what shall I do?" is more than likely a sentence few consumers think or say. I believe in the value of the DTC model but only for the right products and Tide pods aren't on the list.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2016

    Can Primark conquer America without selling online?

    Far too many analysts are making the assumption that Primark will become a destination retailer in the United States. They will not. The primary demographic that Primark is targeting does the majority of their shopping online and not in stores. Unless Primark implements a robust and innovative online and mobile strategy, their sales growth will be positive but not spectacular.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2016

    What does Unilever’s acquisition of Dollar Shave Club mean?

    It means that Harry's, another direct-to-consumer subscription model for shaving products, will more than likely be acquired by a CPG company sooner rather than later.As for Unilever, I believe they made the acquisition of Dollar Shave Club to learn the business model and expand the model to other products. I believe very strongly that subscription e-commerce will grow significantly over the next five years.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2016

    Will new gen grocery stores cut waste down to zero?

    The trend I have seen growing outside of the United States is the ever-increasing acceptance of buying ready-made meals. In essence, instead of shopping for ingredients to make meals, everything has been done for you; simply heat and eat. The value of ready-made meals is that there is simply less waste. The packaging, for example, is all bio-friendly.I believe we will see this trend increase in the U.S. especially as more consumers choose to shop for groceries online. In an effort to compete, grocery retailers will increase space in their stores for sections devoted to ready-made meals. We will also see convenience stores increase their use of ready-made meals as well utilizing advanced sales and operations planning to have meals available based on the time of day, day of week. I have seen this used in Taiwan and Japan to great affect.
  • Posted on: 07/01/2016

    Will Kellogg’s cereal café snap, crackle or pop?

    I have watched similar cereal shops open and close in rapid succession across the United States as the novelty quickly wears off. Also, consumers have shifted away from wanting to eat cereal as consumers prefer to eat more protein. Instead of Kellogg's opening up a cereal-only café, I strongly advise Kellogg's to increase their portfolio of protein-related brands. The following companies would be ideal for Kellogg's to acquire:
  • Posted on: 06/22/2016

    Does Publix have an unrealistic share of Florida’s grocery market?

    Interesting comments, Laura. Much of what you're saying is probably true but your comments remind me of what I used to hear from people in Australia when they spoke about a retailer named Woolworths. For years Woolworths couldn't be touched by a competitor but in the mid-2000s a retailer named Coles began an all-out assault against Woolworths. Coles has beaten Woolworths for 28 straight quarters in nearly every retail metric, most importantly customer satisfaction. To make things worse, ALDI has begun to steal market share as well from Woolworths.Yes, Publix is popular in Florida but if a retailer comes along offering lower prices and convenience, Publix will not be immune.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2016

    Does Publix have an unrealistic share of Florida’s grocery market?

    Publix does not have unreasonably high market share in Florida. Publix is successful because customers like what Publix provides. In regards to Safeway ... yes, there is a potential market opportunity for Safeway but I continue to believe that Florida is an optimal market for Lidl to enter. Safeway is too similar to Publix whereas Lidl would offer Floridians a much needed change in format, selection and price of groceries.In many ways, the discussion about Publix in Florida reminds me of complaints I heard from grocery retailers concerning the popularity of the regional grocery retailer H-E-B in San Antonio and Austin, Texas. H-E-B continues to thrive and beat back competition from much larger retailers including Walmart.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2016

    Would ‘driverless’ carts enhance shopping in stores?

    I am filing this idea under the heading of "No ROI Guaranteed." The issue with motorized carts as I learned when I took part in testing motorized carts for a Japanese startup is that the carts are a constraint. Some people walk fast and some walk slow; carts go one speed. Also, everything from weather to kids wreak havoc on the carts causing the need for constant repairs.Instead of motorizing carts, a better idea is to make carts more vertical. In test after tests that I conducted across multiple store formats, no other design had a bigger impact on the shopping experience than making carts more vertical as well as making sections of baskets detachable to allow a consumer to wander away from their cart to retrieve items.Another item that I tested was a screen that fits into the cart that displays a consumers exact location in the store. I designed the system so that a consumer could download a shopping list and the software would design the optimal route for the consumer to take in order to retrieve all of the products on the list. The software can be customized to reflect the locations of products for specific retailers.In terms of ROI, the vertical cart along with the optimized in-store shopping route proved to generate the largest customer satisfaction scores and ROI. Why ROI? Because consumers could find everything on their list much faster and what I discovered in the trials is that consumers would then wander around the store invariably selecting more items to purchase.
  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.