Amazon and Grocery
Interesting. I kind of predicted cutting back on local and overly specialized foods. Not because I don't think Amazon cares about small business partnerships (though I don't think Amazon cares about small business partnerships) but because I think Amazon is really gung ho on the holw streamlining and efficiency bit. Which does explain a bit about the overzealousy cutting "inventory" fat.
All of that said, maintaining inventory for grocery is especially hard, not just for the reasons listed in the article, but also for spoilage as well. With drier goods, such as cereals and canned goods, you have a bit more leeway because they have a longer shelf life, but with fresh goods like produce, dairy, and meats, it's a real balancing act. Don't purchase enough and you lose money in sales. Purchase too much and don't sell it all and you lose money throwing stuff out. In fact, I know two mom and pop grocery stores here that have closed their meat departments because they were losing money on them even when you factor in the idea that selling meat draws customers in. I don't think I've ever seen a grocery store having trouble keeping drier goods on the shelf though, unless they were going through money problems.
Man. I just don't even know! You got all three companies with an asston of employees and as asston of purchasing power, which could be a good thing. But I have so many questions. Why did these three companies decide to get together? Does the type of insurance knowledge that Berkshire has with Geico translate into healthcare? Do they eventually have goals into creating a company and a system that could be available to the public? Why would they announce this stuff to "prevent fueling speculation" but then only provide so little information that all anyone can do is get drunk and speculate until dawn?
An Aside on Wages
So me and a co-worker got to discussing all of these companies announcing wage hikes in conjunction with the tax cuts and all and we're both in agreement that a lot of it is theater. Where we've come into disagreement though, is that he thinks all cynical about it and I think there might be a silver lining here. Even if it is theater, meant to sway public perception about them and garner some social good will points, it shows that these companies are concerned about public perception in how they treat their employees and this might be a pendulum swing in the beginning here.
My thinking is this. Food companies didn't care about organic offerings, until they discovered it's what consumers wanted. Companies in general didn't care about green practices, until they discovered it's what customers wanted. Both started out slow, but as demand grew, so did changes in practice. The more people came to expect things, the more companies changed their behavior to match those expectations. Things are kind of funky right now, as far as workers' rights are concerned, but maybe this is a sign of things slowly improving.
Then again though, it seems that for every wind farm an energy company builds, another one dumps coal sludge in a creek somewhere out in the Virginias . . .