Walmart said it regularly offers input to the US and Indian governments on policy issues.ReutersWalmart told the US government privately in January that India’s new investment rules for e-commerce were regressive and had the potential to hurt trade ties, a company document seen by Reuters showed.The lobbying effort yielded no result at the time – India implemented the new rules from Feb. 1 – but the document underlines the level of concern at Walmart about the rules. Differences over e-commerce regulations have become one of the biggest issues in frayed trade ties between New Delhi and Washington.”It came as a total surprise … this is a major change and a regressive policy shift,” Walmart’s Senior Director for Global Government Affairs Sarah Thorn told the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in an e-mail on January 7.Just months earlier, Walmart had invested $16 billion in Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart, its biggest ever acquisition globally.In a statement to Reuters on Thursday, Walmart said it regularly offers input to the US and Indian governments on policy issues and this was a “past issue and Walmart and Flipkart are looking ahead”.The USTR did not respond to a request for comment.In the January letter to the USTR, Walmart said it wanted a six-month delay in the implementation of the rules, but that did not happen. Washington did raise concerns about the policy with New Delhi, but India gave a non-committal response, an Indian trade ministry official told Reuters at the time.Walmart’s problems in India highlight the regulatory complications it faces as it restructures its international business to boost growth and online sales. Mexico’s competition regulator recently blocked its acquisition of delivery app Cornershop, while in Britain it was stopped from merging its British arm Asda with rival Sainsbury’s.These issues, however, have failed to unnerve Walmart investors. Walmart shares have risen 21 percent, compared with a 19 percent increase for the S&P 500 since the start of the year.NEW INDIA RULESE-commerce is likely to again be on the agenda on Friday when a USTR delegation meets Indian trade officials in New Delhi.In its January representation, Walmart told the USTR that India’s new policy wasn’t good for global businesses, highlighting that its foreign direct investment would help Flipkart grow and result in “significant” tax revenues for New Delhi.”Changing rules to hinder international business following major investments … will have important implications for India FDI goals and add unnecessary pressure to trade discussions,” Walmart said in its note.The new rules barred companies from selling products via firms in which they have an equity interest and also from making deals with sellers to sell exclusively on their platforms.Amazon.com Inc removed thousands of products from its India website briefly in February as it initially struggled to comply with the new policy. Flipkart was forced to rework some of its vendor relationships, sources told Reuters at the time.The policy, implemented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi months before his re-election in May, was seen aimed at winning the support of small Indian traders, who had long complained they were losing business due to the steep discounts offered by foreign e-commerce giants.”The action appears in every respect … intended to placate Indian companies and local traders,” Walmart told the USTR.SMALL TRADERS VS BIG RETAILERSReuters obtained the two-page representation Walmart sent to the USTR through a Freedom of Information Act request first filed in January. The USTR in February provided a heavily-redacted version of the document, citing confidentiality reasons. In consultation with Walmart, it withdrew most of those redactions this week following an appeal from Reuters.Although Reuters asked for both Amazon and Walmart’s communications, the USTR responded saying it found only one e-mail with Walmart’s representation between December 22 and January 28, the period for which the records were searched.Since the policy has been announced, Indian oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries has repeatedly talked about its plans to diversify into e-commerce.Walmart’s document released to Reuters did not name Reliance, but the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company argued the policy discriminated against foreign firms, and not just in favor of small domestic players.”The purported rationale of such regulations is to protect small retail players who are seen to be threatened,” Walmart said, but added: “This argument does not account for why there should be differentiated treatment between large foreign eCommerce companies, and large domestic companies.”In the past six months, several Walmart executives have also weighed in publicly on India’s new e-commerce policy, including Chief Executive Doug McMillon, who said in February the company was disappointed by the Indian government’s decision.”We hope for a collaborative regulatory process going forward, which results in a level playing field,” he said.DEFENDING E-COMMERCEIndia’s Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has said the government was committed to protecting small traders, but open to ironing out policy-related issues. Goyal said on Twitter on Wednesday he had met Walmart International’s CEO, Judith McKenna, and discussed ways of boosting sales of Indian-made products.In a closed-door meeting last month, however, Goyal warned both Flipkart and Amazon to comply with the new rules in letter and spirit, and questioned them on their discounting policies, Reuters has reported.The Walmart spokeswoman on Thursday said that, in line with the company’s commitment to India, it looked forward to contributing to the country’s retail ecosystem. “Walmart has had good consultations with the Government of India,” she said.Amazon was not aware of Walmart’s January representation to the USTR, according to a person with direct knowledge. The company in a statement said it continued to engage with New Delhi to enhance infrastructure and create jobs.Walmart told the USTR in January that its unit Flipkart, as well as Amazon, had opened many new distribution centers over the past three years in India, creating thousands of jobs and greatly benefiting to consumers.It warned of “serious consequences” if the new policy was implemented hastily. “The lack of policy stability makes it very difficult for companies to continue planned investments, both in the eCommerce sector and beyond,” Walmart wrote.
By now, you are well-acquainted with the four main processes that come with having employees in your company. Depending on the size of your company, the processes of hiring, training, compensating and firing can range from fairly simple to highly complex. But those processes can be simplified.Thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP), the future is here. Will your next employee come in a box? Today, we are going to talk about these four processes in relation to your next employee, the digital employee.Related: This Is How to Get Started With AI When the Only Thing You Know Is the AcronymDigital vs. human.Your human employees are great. They work hard, and they are dedicated to optimum performance every day. But they have their limits. Human employees require rest, so they generally only work 40 hours per week. If you expect more, be prepared to pay a salary or overtime.Human employees also require stimulation. They become bored when dealing with monotonous tasks, and boredom slows productivity. To relieve the monotony for your human employees, hire a digital employee powered by cognitive automation. With a digital employee, the four main employment processes will be a bit different. Let’s explore each one.1. Hiring.When you are ready to hire a new human employee, you must advertise your open position and wait for the candidates to submit their applications. After you have a number of applicants, you begin scheduling interviews. These interviews may take several days to conduct, and you need time to determine which candidate is the best fit for your company. By the time you choose the right candidate, you have invested a lot of time and energy in the hiring process.Now you are thinking about hiring your first digital employee. How is the hiring process different?Much like you do for the purchase of any new computer program, you research the available AI programs to determine your company’s needs and how the programs will meet those needs. Will your digital employee handle document processing? Do you have unstructured data to sort? Your digital employee performs these duties using Natural Language Processing (NLP).After you have hired (ordered) your employee-in-a-box, the next process is training.Related: 4 Essential Business Relationships That Artificial Intelligence Is Better at Than You Are2. Training.Wait. This is a digital employee, a software program. Why are we even talking about training?Your human employees must be trained to do their jobs according to the policies and procedures of your company. Each employee is assigned duties and taught by a trainer. The employee learns a little more each day until he or she can handle the work on their own.Your trainer can also train your new digital employee. Through machine learning, your digital employee will “learn” its job. Like a human, the AI program learns from its work experience, becoming more efficient over time.3. Compensating.Now, stay with me for a moment. Your digital employee does not require the same kind of compensation that your human employee does.You compensate your human employees either through commissions for work performed or through salaries or hourly wages. Let’s not even talk about employment taxes. You might also offer stock options, cover health insurance premiums or give quarterly bonuses.None of these is necessary for your digital employee. The AI program that you choose will require an upfront investment and a maintenance subscription, but that’s about it. Your digital employee requires neither rest nor overtime pay, which can save you a ton in the long run.But what if you are unsatisfied with your employee’s work? Well, human or digital, that brings us to the last of the four processes.4. Firing.When the time comes to let your human employee go, a whole new set of problems arises. If the employee was not meeting your needs, you will need to start the hiring process again to find a replacement. If your company is eliminating the employee’s position, you might need to provide a severance package.However, if you need to fire your digital employee, you simply cancel your subscription and look for a suitable replacement. The change can even be made simultaneously to avoid a lag in company productivity.Related: 3 Ways Intelligent Automation Can Help Grow Your BusinessCollaboration.Please reassure your human employees right now — especially the one who’s reading over your shoulder — that they are still needed and will also benefit from the presence of a digital employee in your company.The boring, monotonous, tedious tasks that can be assigned to your digital employee will no longer need to be done by your human employees. Thus, they will be freed up for the more complex aspects of their jobs. They will be able to get more of the meaty work done while leaving the grunt work to AI.You have now reviewed the four employee processes and how they relate to the digital employee. The question is, are you ready to integrate intelligent automation in your company? Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. May 26, 2018 Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 5 min read read more
Friday, July 13, 2018 Two new next-generation ships confirmed for NCL fleet Share Tags: Norwegian Cruise Line, Project Leonardo << Previous PostNext Post >> MIAMI — Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has confirmed orders for its fifth and sixth Project Leonardo Class ships, set for delivery in 2026 and 2027.Set to join Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet, the new ships will accommodate approximately 3,300 guests and will be energy efficient, with the aim of optimizing fuel consumption and reducing impact on the environment. The smaller footprint of both vessels will also broaden deployment opportunities around the world.According to Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., these orders will help continue the company on its strong growth trajectory. “Our six ship Leonard Class fleet will allow us to broaden our deployment into strong performing and mature unserved and underserved markets and offer new experiences to our guests,” he said.With these latest additions, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has seven ships on order for Norwegian Cruise Line, and one for Regent Seven Seas Cruises, for a total of eight vessels for delivery through 2027. The company will take delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, in fall 2019.More news: GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsAndy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, added: “Following the Breakaway Plus Class, the most successful class in our company’s history, the highly anticipated Leonardo Class will fuel future growth with exciting and innovative offerings that will meaningfully drive demand from new and loyal returning guests alike.”The effectiveness of the new ship orders is contingent on the company’s entry into omitted financing arrangements. Further details about the ships will be announced at a later date. Posted by Alex Keerma About Latest Posts Alex Keerma Latest posts by Alex Keerma (see all) WestJet adds to network, nonstop flights between Austin and Calgary – May 3, 2019 Senior Travel Advisor – Peterborough Office – April 12, 2019 “I didn’t know she was married”: Kimpton’s social experiment inspires new themed rooms – March 6, 2019 read more