You probably still think of it as a “cash register” – basically a fancy calculator and cash drawer that sits at the end of the shopping aisle just before the exit, which gives you the correct change on your way out.
Sure, it has a few more flashing lights than a few years ago, but it’s still essentially a machine whose only role in life is to accommodate a transaction every few minutes.
The modern point-of-sale (POS) system is a tightly integrated computer that almost certainly knows all about your buying history, how often you shop online and what you’re likely to buy next week.
It is also able to communicate along the entire length of the store’s supply chain right back to the factory if necessary.
Not bad for a device that has its origins in the late 1800s and was used primarily for producing a simple receipt – one copy for the merchant and one for the costumer.
As we are all busy clicking, collecting, shopping and dropping, how often do you spare a thought for the long journey the goods you are buying have taken to get to you?
The “supply chain” describes the journey products and materials make long before they reach the shelves.
It involves all processes from getting material or produce out of the ground, processing it into product, distributing it to customers and finally returning the product to the ground in a sustainable way.
Technology impacts each element of the supply chain from distribution to getting the product back into the ground.
Our new year bottle of champagne, for example, will involve:
- the agricultural supply chain of growing grapes
- pressing grapes
- using the grape skins to create alternative gas sources
The glass supply chain is required for the bottles. Corks, labels and the metal to hold the cork also needs to be sourced and produced.
We then need to move our bottle of champagne from vineyard to supermarket, to your home and finally once drunk the bottle may be recycled and the process continues again.
Women may start saving for retirement earlier than men, but that doesn’t mean women feel any more confident about their ability to retire, new research has found. In fact, women worry more about their retirement savings than do men.
Overall, 22 percent of women over the age of 23 say they have begun saving for retirement, compared to just 13 percent of men from the same age group. However, 30 percent of women feel their financial situation will decline in retirement, compared to just 23 percent of men who share those fears.
“There are several legitimate reasons why this may be the case, including much of the financial industry’s poor performance in engaging women around financial planning,” said said Lule Demmissie, managing director, investment products and retirement at TD Ameritrade, Inc., a broker-dealer subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, which conducted the research.
“Women have an opportunity to be much more engaged in the financial process,” Demmissie continued. “It’s important for them to take actionable steps in planning for retirement, particularly given their longer life expectancy.”
Slinging a small backpack onto the desk, Will Hutson says good morning to colleagues and pulls out his laptop.
But before chat about the day’s work progresses, somebody suggests ordering coffee – something that has become a bit of a ritual.
With floor-to-ceiling windows, fresh white walls dotted with supposedly inspiring quotes (“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great”) and a soundtrack of relatively obscure Swedish indie bands – Make is far from the cafe chains found in shopping centres across the emirate.
Instead it is one of a handful of trendy urban hang-outs, labelled “co-working hubs”, that have sprung up – something you would expect to find in east London or San Francisco rather than the Middle East.
By mid-morning almost all the table spaces are taken. And while some customers are bankers or lawyers looking for a change of scene and a decent espresso, its main business comes from freelancers, entrepreneurs running start-ups or people already in staff jobs considering going it alone, drawn by the free desks and free wi-fi.
And in a place where 85% of the population is not local – and where the concept of starting your own business is still in its infancy – it is also a chance to meet like-minded people.