While readers of my blog often contact me with intriguing and sometimes unexpected information or ideas, it isn’t often that anyone brings up topics that I don’t think I already know something about.Larry Scheur succeeded in doing that in a recent series of communications.Larry is a real old-time independent wholesaler from Buffalo New York. He created “The Buffalo System,” which pioneered the use of title- and retailer-specific formulas into order regulation. And he asserts that NO ONE truly understands the economics of magazine distribution from the wholesaler standpoint. Based on what he’s been telling me, that is certainly an assertion that applies to me.What the wholesalers are saying about being unable to make money under existing conditions, Larry told me, is absolutely true. In fact, he says, wholesalers rarely—if ever—made money from sales. Profits, he says, came from “service charges, retailer under claims, retailer bankruptcies, return over claims, shortages, unreported overages, and special deals with national distributors.”Naturally I—like anyone who’s been in newsstand distribution for enough years—had heard rumors of some irregularities in the old days of our business; but the concept that these irregularities might be so institutionalized as to provide the very basis of the survival of our business was (and is) astonishing to me. Larry, however, was willing to provide many examples.“A highly respected EVP of a major national distributor once took to me to lunch,” he offered. “He said he would approve all my affidavits, no matter what the claim, for a 10 percent fee. I was shocked and upset. He called after me as I ran from the restaurant, ‘It’s all right, I already have three wholesalers on board.’” The Buffalo System was, Larry tells me, the first single-entry returns system. The purpose of the single-entry system is to ensure that the total (bulk) sales on the wholesaler system reconcile with the sales tracked by individual retail outlet. As an example, Larry told me about a wholesaler whose system showed two programs. One was designated “OverReturn” and the other was named “ShortReturn.” OverReturn added the totaled retailer returns for a title and issue and compared it to the wholesaler bulk record file for the same title/issue. If the retailer returns were higher, the program added a compensating amount to the bulk record for processing to the ND. The ShortReturn program functioned similarly. If the O&R returns totaled less than the bulk return, the program determined the missing amount and either created a stock account or multiplied returns over a determined number by the factorial difference.Improvements in auditing and tracking must have cleaned up these irregularities to a fair degree, though Larry maintains there is still an element going on today. Although, he admits, there were some wholesalers—Bob Cohen of Hudson News was one—who kept everything strictly above-board. “He wanted everything legit,” Larry said. “A very clean system.”Regardless of what may have happened in the wild-west days of magazine distribution, the situation is considerably more precarious today. I told Larry about a consultant who contacted me with to talk about “Plan B”—code for, “how are we all going to keep our jobs?” This consultant asked, “Even with all of the recent technology, how are returns going to be handled if, as some people have suggested, we bypass the wholesaler? What happens to the affidavit? Can the retailers scan returns the way the wholesalers can? And doesn’t setting up direct relationships give the retailer a license to steal?”Larry thinks there are possible direct-distribution-based solutions to our current predicament; and to put them in place he suggests, as another former independent wholesaler did not long ago, going “back to the future.” His suggestions:1) Re-implement the once highly successful Family Circle/Woman’s Day direct model, devoid of national distributor involvement, utilizing cross-docking. (Cross-docking is a term used in shipping logistics that involves moving product from truck-to-truck without the intermediate warehousing; WalMart has used it to move retail product since the 1980s).2) Similarly, Larry suggested, the industry should take a look at the once highly controversial Kresge/TV Guide system. This system, Larry explained, was similar to the Family Circle/Woman’s Day model, with the addition of expedited delivery. “TV Guide printed on Saturday and shipped 20 million copies with over 170 editions to wholesalers expecting Monday on sale,” Larry explained. “TV Guide made deals with national chains—Kresge, Neisners, F.W. Woolworths, W.T Grants, etc.—that were not typically wholesaler serviced. They required the wholesaler to deliver the predetermined allotment as well as collect the unsolds (if any) for a small fee paid by TV Guide. A store stamp verified delivery. As some of these stores were in rural areas, wholesalers sometimes used busses and trains, hiring a delivery agent in these areas. A reship allowance was paid by Triangle Publications to wholesalers providing this service. These solutions, I thought, appear tailored to the large general-interest publications whose day has come and gone. What about the special interest publications and the independent publishers?Systems today, Larry pointed out, are also tailored around those mass-market publishers. “Look at the Order & Regulation systems,” he said. “Prior to UPCs, only 10 percent of titles were tracked issue by issue. Comparatives worked. They built the crosswords category. Wholesalers maintained O&R on the top two or three crosswords and used those sales to determine retail store allocations for the rest of the line.”What does that mean for the special-interest publisher? I asked. Was he expressing the idea that a more targeted publisher can be hurt by over-regulation?But Larry was talking about more than a publisher or a publication. His point was that a whole category—a whole industry—can be hurt by over-regulation. “O&R destroyed comics,” he said. “You start a downward trend which then negatively affect allocations. Thirty percent sell through—what you get with the niche publications—needs no O&R. Look at history, and you will see how it works.”
WORCESTER, MA — Sarah J. Berube, of Wilmington, has been named to second honors on the Clark University Dean’s List. This selection mark outstanding academic achievement during the fall2018 semester.To be eligible for second honors, students must have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, of a maximum of 4.3 (All A+s).About Clark UniversityFounded in 1887 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University is a liberal arts-based research university addressing natural, social and human imperatives from local to global scales. Nationally renowned as a college that change lives, Clark is a transformative force in higher education today. LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) is Clark’s pioneering model of education that combines a robust liberal arts curriculum with life-changing world and workplace experiences.Clark’s faculty and students work across boundaries to develop solutions to complex challenges in the natural sciences, psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change.The Clark educational experience embodies the University’s motto: Challenge Convention. Change Our World.(NOTE: The above announcement is from Clark University.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSTUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Berube & Mills Named To Dean’s List At Clark UniversityIn “Education”STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Mills & Berube Named To Dean’s List At Clark UniversityIn “Education”STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: 3 Wilmington Students Named To Dean’s List At MCPHSIn “Education”
US private equity fund Warburg Pincus is reported to have been in talks to buy a minimum of 25% stake in financial services firm L&T Finance Holdings.Reacting to the news, share prices of L&T Finance soared 7.8% to trade at ₹ 71.65 on Tuesday at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).”Both Warburg Pincus and L&T Finance, which have agreed to a deal up to 25% stake, are now negotiating on the price,” a source close to the development told The Economic Times.A successful deal will result in L&T Finance offering fresh shares to Warburg, with parent company Larsen and Toubro (L&T) still remaining the majority stake holder.India’s largest engineering and constructions firm L&T has 72.95% stake in L&T Finance Holdings. L&T Finance earned a profit of ₹ 854.7 crore in the last fiscal year 2014-15.L&T is reported to have asked for a price of ₹ 83 per share, which takes the deal size to ₹ 3,574 crore.The company is expected to use funds raised from stake sale to strengthen its “capital base” and scaling up its operations in financing trucks, commercial vehicles and construction equipment.Responding to the reports of stake sale, L&T Finance said “As a part of routine investor relations exercise, we keep meeting investors from time to time. We have no further to comment.”Warburg Pincus is looking to expand its presence in financial services sector in the country. It had already invested in private banks such HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank. It also holds a majority stake in non banking finance company Capital First.
Developed by the country’s biggest public research organization, Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), the new variant of HRP-4, the female robot HRP-4C deemed “Divabot,” has a realistic face, movable features and even mimics human-sounding breaths. The robot utilizes two primary technologies, using a real singer as a model. Researchers recorded the model’s every move as she sung a Japanese song. They used VocalListener to synthesize the singing voice on the computer, and imitate the singing voice. For the facial expressions, they used a new technology, Vocawatcher, which studies a person singing to replicate the expressions naturally. They then mapped the data onto HRP-4C and voila–Diva-bot was brought to life.A member of the institute said they want to create a new content industry with the technology. Diva-bot’s intricate software creates complicated movements such as jumping, dancing and even balancing. Using a mouse, those with zero robotic expertise are meant to find Diva-bot easily operable, which may or may not be a good thing considering how complex the robot is.Comparable to the software commonly used in CG character animation, Diva-bot’s positioning can be controlled by clicking on the different parts and dragging them to the desired position, creating a sequence of key poses that the software generates, making the robot move. Explore further Citation: Dancing Divabot performs on stage (w/ Video) (2010, November 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-11-divabot-stage-video.html Introducing Japan’s new singing robot (w/ Video) (c) 2010 PhysOrg.com (PhysOrg.com) — A singing, dancing humanoid recently joined a live group of dancers to perform. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.