What Can Google Trends Tell Managers About Predicting Sales?

By some estimates, Google processes over 40,000 searches every second! Can managers use this torrent of search data, often free and fine-grained, to predict the sales of their products? The premise is that a search for certain terms signals an intent to buy specific products.

My research says the answer is yes! Based on working with multiple retailers, managers can expect anywhere from a 3-8% reduction in prediction errors when search information is included in forecasting models.

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Taking Stock of Carbon Footprints: A Visual Journey

President Obama, on June 25th, laying out America’s climate policy for the future said: “So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late. And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world that we leave behind not just to you, but to your children and to your grandchildren. As a President, as a father, and as an American, I’m here to say we need to act.”

This post is about taking stock of carbon footprint of things big and small – countries, cities, industrial sectors, firms, products, and supply chains. Through an interactive visual, you can get a sense of carbon footprints of things big or small.


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Does Filling up a Plane make the Airline Money?

I recently flew Southwest from Baltimore to LaGuardia to meet up with a few friends in Queens, NY (the little less than the $100 for a one-way fare was cheaper, and the 40-minute flight faster than the Acela). The flight was barely half full. I was convinced Southwest was losing money on this flight especially with the cabin seemingly full of tourists likely paying “web only” $100 fares like myself. Really? What my research uncovered surprised me. How much does it cost the world’s major airlines to fly a passenger a mile? How much money do they make from that passenger? How full are their planes? Read on…

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The iPhone 4 Supply Chain

Next time you check email or browse your Facebook page on your iPhone 4, think about this: a symphony of hundreds of parts designed by a multitude of companies from three continents has made it happen.

This post follows the iPhone 4’s supply chain – its part suppliers, fabrication, and assembly. I have included an interactive graphic you can explore and learn more about how your iPhone 4 comes together. Enjoy!

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Does (Retail) Size Matter? $/sq. ft. of Mall Stores

I recently took my daughter to a birthday party at a local mall. Having a couple of hours to kill, I headed to the cramped and crowded Apple Store to checkout the new MacBook Air. After succumbing to the allure of the iPod Touch and a quick coffee stop at Barnes and Noble’s Café, I settled in a comfortable sofa, like many others waiting, listening to the live piano music at the bright and airy Nordstrom that anchors the mall. I could not help wonder that this comfortable space sandwiched between Women’s Shoes and the Make up counters was a lot larger than the Apple store. How large the stores in the mall are and how effectively they use their space? Read on…do the results surprise you?

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How Much is a Frequent Flyer Worth?

I recently watched “Up in the Air” and could not help but marvel at Ryan Bingham’s (George Clooney’s character) perks as an elite frequent flyer on American Airlines. Out come the Champagne and a visit from the airline’s chief pilot on crossing 10 million miles. While Hollywood has taken its usual liberties with Ryan Bingham, airlines do coddle their most frequent flyers. Dedicated phone numbers, private check-ins, and birthday cakes on the road are all part of the package; in addition to the usual upgrades, lounge access, and priority boarding. Made me wonder why the airlines go through the trouble – its a few passengers after all. It is really worth, for example, holding a 747 an hour for a Bingham-like passenger to make the connection? What is a frequent flyer loyalty worth to an airline?

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LifeNet Health: From Death, Hope.

You are 40-something and just completed an Ironman. Good for you. Bad for you, you just damaged your ACL and your surgeon recommends reconstructive surgery. Thanks to LifeNet Health, a leading provider of organ and tissue transplantation located in Virginia Beach, VA, your surgeon can have the necessary tissues available for surgery so you can move on with your life. With more than 6000 lives saved and 1.8 million healed, LifeNet Health is literally as their mission statement says “saving lives, restoring health.”

This article describes LifeNet Helath’s operations. Featured are also interviews with Dick Trowbridge, Vice President of Production and Logistics; Michael Poole, Director of Tissue Operations; and Nancy D’Amico, Supply Chain Manager. This new section of Operations Buzz called “Field Notes” will feature detailed descriptions of business operations from a variety of industries.

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