PROFILE
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Jlauderbach

Partner, Fortium Partners
John is a Partner in Fortium Partners’ Midwest Region, where he serves consumer facing companies primarily in the grocery, hospitality and retail sectors. He brings proven expertise in the areas of systems integration, strategic IT planning and roadmap development, technology and business alignment, e-commerce technologies and supply chain. John has valuable experience working with privately held companies as they execute corporate restructurings and prepare for an IPO. His experience also includes establishing logistics department and team for a hyper-growth company. A proven IT leader, John combines solid business acumen with technical prowess as he works with colleagues and teams to identify business gaps and create viable solutions that accelerate profitability, strengthen customer service and reduce costs. He has experience implementing technology solutions on premise, cloud and hybrid platforms and upgrading or replacing ERP, CRM, warehouse management and merchandise management systems. His focus on coaching staff development and stewarding vendor relationships resulted in smooth launch of numerous project, application and systems. John’s clients recognize his ability to successfully navigate evolving, thin margin industry conditions as he guides strategy and drives execution. Leadership Roles  Vice President, Information Technology – Roche Bros. Supermarkets  Vice President, Information Technology – CCA Global Partners  Vice President, Information Technology – Noodles & Company  Vice President Technology and Logistics – Wild Oats Markets  Director of Information Systems – Wolohan Lumber Company John graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology and Economics from Alma College and pursued graduate studies Agricultural Economics at Michigan State University.
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  • Posted on: 06/15/2021

    How will companies manage a staff of vaccinated and unvaccinated workers?

    I think the potential cost avoidance may be important. If or when the non-covid-vaccinated employee is hospitalized the company's insurance rating will rise. It is similar to the smoking population of an organization. I have never heard of an employer requiring an MMR vaccination. There may even be litigation against a company if someone who was vaccinated contracts COVID at work (they fall into the 5-10% non effective group) for not protecting the general employee base.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2021

    Amazon scales its Just Walk Out tech for a full-size grocery store

    I have used JWO at Amazon Go (soon depreciated to Fresh) and Amazon Fresh. My experience at each was less than overwhelming. The Go experience was a small convenience format that worked in a hotel lobby but not much more. The Fresh experience with the smart cart was awkward. The cart itself is small compared to a conventional grocery cart. I think it held two short-handled bags. A shopper would be hard pressed to purchase over $50 of groceries. This may have changed as it has been a year. The exit was quick, but it was not Just Walk Out. There was an associate who removed my bags and handed them to me (the cart cannot leave the store) and then processed the transaction on a handheld device. There was nothing there that would entice me to return to Fresh for shopping. It would seem difficult to justify whatever the cost of computing power, cameras and carts is. I do not see this as a huge traffic builder. I would rather use the free (I am a Prime member) two-hour delivery or curbside pickup.
  • Posted on: 06/14/2021

    UPS entry could even the same-day delivery playing field

    Amazon has a few advantages over UPS which will be hard to overcome. Amazon ships from their warehouses most of the time. UPS will have to pick up the product somewhere and return it to a break vault and reship. This is counter the golden rule of logistics – "touch it once." Amazon is not unionized. They can make changes much faster than UPS who has the burden of existing contracts. That is why use of contractors is in play, but it also adds more overhead than what Amazon has. Amazon has a fleet of smaller vehicles which facilitate more efficient same-day small parcel delivery. UPS has a fleet of high-volume vehicles designed for more commercial freight than consumer same-day. These differences will make UPS same-day delivery quite a challenge in terms of the profitability potential.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2021

    How do retailers and brands overcome consumers’ ‘green’ skepticism?

    This is the age of mis and dis information so skepticism in any pronouncement is to be expected. I do not even believe the "certified by" agencies cited as "proof." There are so many definitions of being sustainable or being green, it is no wonder there is confusion, if not distrust. If supporting a company that is holistically supporting and operating sustainably, then the onus is truly on the customer to research the company’s actions and statements. A company must be transparent and open to inspection to earn trust. When that occurs, I believe it could be a competitive advantage to those who value the attributes. I do not believe a company fully commits to being sustainable for competitive advantage, it is driven more by what needs to be done for our survival.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2021

    Will grocery basket sizes be cut down to their former size?

    I think there are a few things in play. The world has fundamentally changed. Pre-pandemic "normal" will never return any more than pre-9/11 air travel will return. There will be new variants of the virus which may or may not reintroduce social behavior restrictions, but there will be a segment of the population that will avoid crowds. Because the shift was so large and fast last year regression to the mean will move basket size closer to pre-pandemic levels. I believe online shopping will hold at least 40% of its increase even when people do go back to a physical office environment. Curbside pickup is a great time saver. There probably is not much chance the home cooking spike will remain; restaurant dining is a blessing when you worked all day.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2021

    Amazon offers ‘returnships’ for professionals rejoining the labor market

    Amazon always seems to have a step up on their competition. With the labor market seemingly shrinking they just increased it. This is a great initiative to assist those who need the help. By addressing the apprehension of going back to work with re-assimilation assistance, they will attract the most talented associates and strengthen their workforce at the same time. Kudos to Amazon.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2021

    Will prescription med discounts help Walmart+ gain ground on Amazon Prime?

    Healthcare and pharmacy are a huge and growing market as the population continues to age. As Insurance coverages continue to be reduced and deductibles continue to increase consumers need ways to reduce costs. This is a great move by Walmart. Not only will it solidify their current customer base it will draw new customers. This will be a battle with Amazon, Walgreens, and CVS. The independent pharmacies will be crushed when these elephants fight.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2021

    Walmart gives associates free phones and a mobile work app

    This is a great gesture, and I am sure well thought out by Walmart. At first blush, it seems expensive. Upon reflection of having watched associates wait for a shared device to see their schedule, clock in, review assigned tasks, read email, check orders, and enter orders for non-CAO vendors the ROI is incredibly short. Additionally, there is the elimination of capital spend on all the shared devices. Eliminating the stationary devices also will save a substantial amount of energy costs. Since there is geofencing, the phone is controlled by some MDM software. This could lead to some concern of personal infringement. I doubt this would happen because the cost of infringement would dwarf the gains of increase in morale and productivity. Although most associates probably are competent with an android device, hopefully Walmart offers instruction on use and security.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2021

    Have flagships become obsolete?

    Cathy I completely agree. Flagship stores need to excite the imagination. Practicality be damned!
  • Posted on: 05/28/2021

    Should Amazon or rivals be more wary if it opens brick and mortar pharmacies?

    Everyone should be wary of Amazon even if their initial entry in a market seems awkward. Bezos has stated to competitors “your margin is my opportunity." Even if they fail, they disrupt. Healthcare even at just the pharmacy level is complicated, availability of pharmacists is low, and regulations make barrier to entry high. Nevertheless, I would not bet against this move. I would think they would leverage the Whole Foods real estate and customer flow to learn the nuances of the business before investing in standalone locations.
  • Posted on: 05/27/2021

    Kroger makes a game of finding new suppliers

    This effort is very commendable, especially in grocery. I hope it is sincere and not just for marketing purposes. There are thousands of small producers that do not have the resources to approach and pitch national firms. On the flip side the national firms have been missing out on great products. If a Kroger is truly trying to offer local and fresh this is a perfect process to source the products. It is a wonder why this has not been standard practice. I also hope there are considerations given to the capacity to produce by the small businesses. A great success could go sour if demand overwhelms supply.
  • Posted on: 05/25/2021

    Can retailers afford to keep paying associates less than $15 an hour?

    The short answer is yes retailers will have to match the market wage. Basic economics will play a role in this situation. Generally, for a business to survive its total expense must be less than its total revenue. Increased individual wages must be offset by other expense reductions or revenue must increase by higher prices or more transactions. There is nothing magic about $15 an hour. Regardless of the number, when it raises the general level of compensation it will require all retailers to adjust their pay scale to acquire employees. The calculus of physical labor, e-commerce, automation, and number of stores will require retailers to change their business model. This is not new. Retailers have been changing their business model since their beginning. The difference is the rate of change required has accelerated.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2021

    Macy’s CEO says recent gains are real and better things are ahead

    Paula, I could not agree with you more. What caught my eye was the reference to Macy's being "hyper-focused" - that is close to last word I would use to describe Macy's.
  • Posted on: 05/19/2021

    Is enabling young kids to buy toys online a teaching tool or something else?

    I cannot think of any good that can come from this approach. I may be overthinking this but to me purchasing is a function of transferring value. Currency is a vessel of this transfer. My currency is created by my effort or work. I exchange my currency for a product. This creates a relationship between work/effort and reward/purchase. Allowing children to purchase items only teaches entitlement. It does not teach budgeting. It does not teach saving. It does not teach value exchange. It will be a sad day for these young "purchasers" when the reality of having to earn before purchase comes to roost.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2021

    Is Amazon the safest place to work in retail?

    Worker acquisition and retention is a problem for all companies. Many firms are raising their starting wages to attract new employees (as is Amazon). Amazon announced it will surpass 1 million workers in the U.S. this year. They are hoping to hire 75,000 this year in fulfillment and transportation. The cost of onboarding and education is high. Workmans Comp is a high cost. This initiative will probably have positive return within a short time. Creating a safe work environment will make Amazon a more attractive employer and will help in retaining their workers. If embraced by the employees, it will also impede the unionization effort. Setting the bar at being the safest company to work for is consistent with Amazon's drive on all fronts. Worker safety may be their next big business disrupter.
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