Long before hungry consumers rip into a bag of chips, an intricate process unfolds. In part, the process is complex because of the sheer volume of business that Frito-Lay operates. Annually, Frito-Lay uses enough potatoes, if stacked end to end, to reach the moon and back. The enterprise has 69,000 employees, of which 25,000 are frontline sales employees like Sam who service more than 300,000 retail stores weekly to replenish inventory, arrange displays and rotate stock to ensure freshness. Getting the right product to the right place at the right time is a formidable job. Moreover, consumers are increasingly demanding a mix of their old favorites intermingled with new, unique flavors.
Frito-Lay and IBM co-created two solutions built on the Salesforce platform. Snacks to You is an advanced e-commerce solution, and Sales Hub streamlines frontline-employee delivery routes and provides drivers and managers with an efficient mobile app to improve performance and visibility.
Sales Hub, powered by Salesforce Service Cloud, unites the back office with the frontline, providing a seamless mobile experience for employees. Salesforce Field Service Lightning ensures routes are appropriately serviced and creates a fluid communication channel between the frontline and dispatch, giving drivers and merchandisers the ability to quickly adapt and redirect resources when issues arise. Geotagging automatically checks delivery drivers in and out of stores and can calculate mileage and recommend more efficient delivery routes. By tracking delivery status and timing, the app can alert employees to delays and therefore reduce downtime and waiting. The mobile app also provides helpful stocking instructions and planograms so that employees can make real-time adjustments to product inventory. Managers and employees can also access timesheets, make vacation requests and provide in-the-moment schedule adjustments.
The weekly chart of platinum relative to gold illustrates the massive underperformance (declining green line) of platinum relative to gold from May to early December. However, platinum has since reversed course and outperformed (increasing green line) gold to the extent that it now commands a premium of 16% - up from parity in December.
The red line shows the platinum price, having peaked in March 2008 at $2,251 and topped out relative to gold in May at a premium of 140%. Technical analysis-orientated readers will also notice the blue MACD histograms moving into positive territory, indicating a buy signal for platinum in relative terms.
Although gold may experience a further pull-back in the short term (also as commodity index re-weighting runs its course), the longer-term outlook seems fairly positive as a result of a solid supply/demand situation, a likely waning appetite for U.S. dollars and store-of-value considerations. According to the Telegraph, Merrill Lynch predicted that gold would soon break through its all time-high of $1,030 an ounce, and would hit $1,150 by June. Paul Walker, CEO of GFMS, said gold could rise to $1,100 by the end of 2009 as a result of the monetization of government debt. However, based on the relative chart above, platinum should have more upside potential than the yellow metal over the next few months. 59ce067264