PROFILE

Brittain Ladd

Strategy and Digital Consultant
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.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/driverless-trucks-thats-right-innovation-brittain-ladd?trk=mp-author-card

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/beautiful-way-save-woolworths-brittain-ladd?trk=mp-author-card

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  • Posted on: 04/17/2018

    Does Walmart need to keep Jet.com around?

    Two questions need to be asked and answered: 1. Why did Walmart acquire jet.com? 2. Has Walmart achieved their goals? If yes, does jet.com have long-term value to Walmart? The answer to the first question is that Walmart wanted access to jet.com's algorithms, technology and executive team, for the purpose of integrating them into walmart.com and accelerating their e-commerce expertise. The answer to the second question is that Walmart has completed the integration and with no new technology or innovation on the way from jet.com, Walmart no longer needs jet.com and I'm confident the brand will be killed within 24 months. An even bigger reason why Walmart doesn't need jet.com is Flipkart. If Walmart goes through with their purported $10B to $12B acquisition of 51% of Flipkart, they will need "all hands on deck" managing their increased focus on India, and growing investments in e-commerce with walmart.com and their newly remodeled website. Jet.com adds cost and complexity, not value. Frankly, it's Management 101 -- invest in brands that are growing. Jet.com isn't growing.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2018

    J.Crew partners with WeWork and LinkedIn to reach younger consumers/workers

    I believe an interesting question to ask is this: Will LinkedIn morph into an e-commerce platform? I don't see the value of LinkedIn maintaining the status quo. I believe LinkedIn should host the front end of their corporate customers who already have a presence on LinkedIn. In turn, LinkedIn can integrate Microsoft's Azure platform to give corporations the ability to sell direct to LinkedIn members. In the example of apparel, LinkedIn can provide an overview of the dress code at different corporations and set up a subscription service whereby associates, regardless of their age, can purchase apparel guaranteed to fit into the culture as well as meet their style preferences. Facebook, in my opinion, has the most potential for becoming a disruptive e-commerce marketplace, retailer and platform.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2018

    Sam’s Club to push same-day grocery deliveries with Instacart deal

    Once again, a retailer that should understand that the only way to achieve a long-term competitive advantage is by designing and implementing an integrated (Walmart and Sam's Club) Last Mile Delivery solution specific to the needs of their customers, instead has joined the herd and chosen the path of least resistance. I'm incredulous at the fact that Sachin Padwal, Sam’s Club’s Vice President of Omnichannel and In-Club Product, honestly believes Sam's Club partnering with Instacart is strategic to Sam's Club. At a time when it is essential that Walmart make big moves to place distance between their competitors, Walmart has chosen to think small. Walmart needs to hire someone and have them be responsible for designing and implementing a last mile delivery solution that utilizes the Walmart ecosystem, this means Sam's Club and Walmart, to its fullest potential. To think that a company with over 140 million customers can't manage their own last mile needs is inexcusable. If Walmart isn't up to the challenge of managing their own last mile needs, GO BIG. Don't partner with Instacart, acquire Instacart. Since furniture, appliance and Home is becoming more of a focus for Walmart, acquire Sears Home Services, or acquire XPO Logistics and regional in-home appliance and repair companies. I believe it would be interesting if XPO Logistics acquired Sears Home Services and rebranded the business to XPO Home Services. I can think of no other company with greater potential in last mile delivery than Walmart. It's time that Walmart finds the right leader who can not only design and implement a last mile delivery solution that will achieve a competitive advantage, but also influence Walmart's executive team to understand the importance of Walmart leveraging their overall transportation and logistics prowess on a grander scale.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2018

    Amazon moves closer to FedEx and UPS’s turf

    Ship With Amazon is the first step for Amazon to become one of the largest third-party logistics providers in the world, with the potential of gaining 10 percent to 15 percent market share of the nearly $500 billion global contract logistics market. What does this mean? Just as Amazon markets AWS on the open market, Amazon will soon market Amazon Logistics Services on the open market to ANY company seeking logistics services. DHL, UPS, Ryder Logistics, Maersk, FedEx and so on will all have to compete against Amazon sooner rather than later. Amazon should be favored to win. How did this happen? Easy. FedEx convinced themselves that having 650 aircraft, 150,000 trucks, 400,000 employees and 4,800 operating facilities globally to handle about 12 million shipments a day gave them a barrier to entry and an insurmountable competitive advantage. UPS convinced themselves that since they manage more than 20 million packages a day globally, and because they have 500 owned and leased aircraft and 100,000 vans and delivery trucks that they had a barrier to entry and an insurmountable competitive advantage. When I worked for Amazon, what I and others saw were two massive and entrenched behemoths with inflexible business models. The way to beat FedEx and UPS isn't by matching them plane for plane or truck for truck, it's by reimagining the entire global ecosystem of logistics for consumers and industries. The next five years are going to be very interesting.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2018

    Amazon launches “$10 or Less” store

    Amazon is creating an ecosystem whereby they’re able to meet the retail needs of consumers across all demographics and income levels. Amazon will continue expanding their supply chain and logistics capabilities, as well as leverage Prime Now, to cost-effectively sell and deliver merchandise; even items traditionally sold in dollar stores. It is also important to point out that Amazon will expand their retail footprint across their ecosystem. This means it is probable that at some point, Amazon will create a format store that could compete directly with dollar stores. I won’t be surprised if Amazon acquires Hollar.com as it would be an easy way for Amazon to immediately become the online leader in the dollar store category.
  • Posted on: 02/01/2018

    Will acquiring Kroger’s c-stores be more than Casey’s can handle?

    I have received several questions on the topic of why Kroger wants to sell their stores. My recommendation to Kroger is that they should keep their convenience stores and map out a strategy for growing the business. Kroger generates $4 billion annually from their convenience stores. More importantly, it is a business that Amazon doesn’t compete. Kroger should contract a strategy firm to help them identify operational and growth strategies. I am on the record as stating I believe Kroger should evaluate acquiring Speedway or Casey’s General Stores depending on optimal strategy that is identified. M&A can be strategic but operational excellence and execution are must-haves.
  • Posted on: 02/01/2018

    Will acquiring Kroger’s c-stores be more than Casey’s can handle?

    Casey’s acquiring Kroger’s convenience stores is a wise move strategically. However, adding stores isn’t enough. Casey’s must thoroughly evaluate the competitive landscape to identify how they can introduce a new business model to delight customers and gain market share. One option I believe Casey’s should pursue is expanding the focus on groceries. I’m confident Kroger and Casey’s could collaborate on identifying ways to provide customers with an option for ordering and picking up groceries from the Casey’s store of their choice. A more interesting option is that Casey’s would partner with Ocado or TakeOff Technologies to create new format stores that expand the assortment of products. Introducing lockers for package pickup or postal stations could also be part of a new store format. Think big. Question the status quo. Can Casey’s absorb more stores? Yes. However, Casey’s must identify all areas of costs and inefficiency in their current state and then design a future state operating model that will assure their success. More stores in a poor operating model could be a disaster.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2018

    Would a Kroger/Alibaba partnership make sense?

    When I recommended that Alibaba acquire Kroger in a 2017 LinkedIn Post, one of the first individuals to respond was a senior executive from Alibaba giving his support to the idea. When one views the retail landscape in the USA, there are two dominant retailers -- Amazon and Walmart -- which meets the definition of a duopoly. Over the next 10 years, Walmart and Amazon will only become more dominant. Alibaba entering the USA, potentially through an acquisition of Kroger, would offer consumers an interesting alternative to Amazon and Walmart. The goal is not to dismantle Kroger. The goal is to leverage Kroger as a platform upon which to introduce a new retail model to Kroger customers whereby technology, general merchandise, groceries, and a best-in-class payment method, delight Kroger customers and drive increased market share. Simply put: As I wrote in my post, Kroger needs to create an omnichannel experience to prevent their customers from turning to Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Target and/or Amazon for many of their retail needs. Capital, technology, and innovation are must-haves in creating such a business model. I wrote that three primary options exist for Kroger: 1. Merge with Target. 2. Be acquired by Costco. 3. Be acquired by Alibaba. Two Secondary Options were also recommended: 1. Acquire Boxed Wholesale. 2. Acquire Overstock.Com Few recommendations are perfect, hence the reason why multiple options were presented.
  • 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 Amazon.com 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.
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