Coming to your home… robots

FedEx plans to begin testing a robot to make home deliveries for partners ranging from Pizza Hut to Walmart.

For the technology, FedEx is teaming with DEKA Development & Research, whose founder Dean Kamen invented the Segway stand-up scooter and iBot stair-climbing wheelchair. The battery-powered robots look like coolers on wheels. Cameras and software help them detect and avoid obstacles as they roam sidewalks and roadways at a top speed of 10 miles (16 km) per hour.

United Parcel Service (UPS) is not testing robots, but like FedEx and Amazon, it is experimenting with drone deliveries.

Office Depot improves in Florida

Office Depot, an integrated business-to-business (“B2B”) distribution platform of business services and supplies, products and technology solutions headquartered in Florida, announced results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 29, 2018. Sales were up eight percent at $11,015 millions and income was $254 millions.

Home improvement in the US

Home improvement chain Lowe’s predicts more Americans will renovate their houses this year rather than buy a home in a market where prices are rising. While Home Depot, Loses largest competitor, makes the bulk of its sales to contractors (who bill more), Lowe’s sells a wide range of do-it-yourself projects mainly to individual home owners. Lowe’s US comparable-store sales rose 2.4 percent during the fourth quarter ended February 1, 2019, with growth of 5.8 percent in January.

Appointment at US vacation ownership and exchange company

Wyndham Destinations, the world’s largest vacation ownership and exchange company, has announced the appointment of Olivier Chavy as President, RCI Exchanges. Most recently serving as CEO of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Chavy brings 30 years of international hospitality experience and executive leadership roles spanning luxury hotel and timeshare resort operations to global interior design.

Is marketing your US market?

Zimmerman Advertising, a leading integrated retail agency in the US, announced it has appointed Jeff Pearson as its Chief Client Officer. Pearson is a veteran retail marketing and e-commerce executive with nearly 20 years of experience in overseeing strategy and the transformation of operations, marketing, e-commerce, and merchandising functions.

$4.5 billion investment by an LLC

Do you know who, or what, FCA US LLC is. It is a little automobile company with a stable of brands including Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Ram, Maserati and Mopar. And it is an LLC. YouTube is an LLC. Barclays Bank has an LLC. Contrary to popular misconception, there is no status attached to being an S Corporation or a C Corporation (Inc).

Recently, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced plans to invest $4.5bn (£3.4bn) into the US vehicle industry which will create 6,500 new jobs. It says it will build the first new assembly plant in Detroit for nearly three decades.

Fiat Chrysler said its investment is part of its strategy expand its Jeep SUV and Ram truck brands. The company will convert two of its plants, one of which has been idle since 2012, into the assembly site for its new Jeep Grand Cherokee as well as a new three row Jeep SUV. It will also be equipped to build plug-in electric hybrid vehicles.

You think London commuting is bad…

Under a plan announced jointly by the Mayor and Governor of New York, drivers entering the most congested part of Manhattan would have to pay a charge comparable wth London’s congestion charge. The plan requires approval from the state legislature

The Mayor and  Governor have said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is in crisis. About a third of trains run late. Decades-old signals require large gaps between trains, leading to commuters struggling to squeeze into crowded railway cars at rush hour.

Hydraulics and electronics: record sales for Florida company

Driven by acquisitions, fourth-quarter sales jumped 54.5 percent while profits quadrupled at Florida-based Helios Technologies (formerly known as Sun Hydraulics), manufacturer of hydraulics and electronics. The company posted net income of $16.4 million for the final quarter of 2018. For the full year, sales hit a record $508.0 million.

According to president/CEO Wolfgang Dangel, “We believe we can continue to grow at a rate that exceeds growth expected in the currently changing macroeconomic climate. We are aggressively investing in innovative manufacturing technologies and market-leading new products, which will keep our capital expenditures and research and development spending at strong levels.”