17 August 2005The Paddle Cruiser, South Africa’s only paddle-driven ship – and the Western Cape coastal town of Knysna’s newest tourist attraction – is proving a model for black economic empowerment.“We knew from the start that the vessel would have to be managed by a crew of highly skilled and dedicated people,” says William Smith, director of the Featherbed Company, which owns and operates the Paddle Cruiser.“But the problem was that South Africa had never had a vessel like this one – so we had to train new people from scratch.“We recruited and began training the boat’s managers – the men who would become its skippers – while it was still under construction,” says Smith. “Because we’re good corporate citizens, we made sure the successful candidates came from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.”Neither Floyd Herwels nor Stanley van Rooyen had had any maritime experience when they started with the Featherbed Company, but both have taken to life afloat with gusto.“I applied for the job because I wanted a change from the admin work I was doing for an insurance company,” says Van Rooyen. “And I took it on because it was a challenge.“Our training took nearly two years and earned me a Class 6 port operations license – a qualification recognised around the world.”Van Rooyen and Herwels are now equipped to take responsibility for the safety and smooth operation of the vessel and for the comfort of its passengers. This they do at least twice a day, almost every day of the year.The Paddle Cruiser experienceBuilt over a period of 18 months by Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing and launched in Cape Town in October 2003, the Paddle Cruiser was delivered to Knysna by sea.The boat is 22.7 metres long, 7.5 metres wide in the beam and has a draft of 1.4 metres. Her propellers are powered by twin Caterpillar 3056 turbodiesel engines. Electrical energy for the paddles – the boat can make four knots on its paddles alone – is supplied by two 70kVA generators.“The Paddle Cruiser has become a must-do attraction in Knysna,” says Featherbed marketing manager Debbie Stanley, “and a popular fine dining experience.“A team of top chefs prepare Mediterranean style meals: a limited Tapas menu at lunch time and an extensive hot and cold Tapas buffet at dinner. The boat is becoming increasingly popular for functions, product launches and – a trend we didn’t expect – as an unusual conference venue.”In addition to the Paddle Cruiser, the Featherbed Company operates the John Benn and Three Legs cruise boats – as well as catamaran sailing – on the Knysna lagoon, and offers visits to the Featherbed Nature Reserve at the river mouth.SouthAfrica.info reporter
Appriss Retail recently released an analysis of the cost and ramifications of US consumer merchandise returns on retailers, jobs, and state economies. The “2018 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry” report, which analyzes results from the National Retail Federation’s 2018 Organized Retail Crime survey, states that overall value of returned merchandise in the United States during the past year was almost $369 billion. This cost does not include the overhead a retailer incurs when receiving, sorting, and repackaging useable goods for resale. In addition, $18 billion to $24 billion of that sum were fraudulent returns.Return rates vary greatly by retail vertical; for example, drug stores/pharmacies showed a 2.14 percent blended return rate while auto parts retailers had a rate of 22.58 percent. Most verticals are within two or three percentage points of the National Retail Federation’s published median of a 10 percent return rate. The report contains the blended return rate for 10 retail verticals.“Today’s consumers expect to be able to change their minds after a purchase,” said Krishnan Sastry, president of Appriss Retail. “How a retailer responds to that shopper in the store has a lasting impact on its relationship with the consumer. Since a return is a lost sale it may not always be viewed as the customer service moment that it can be, especially for items purchased online and returned in the store. We hope that the report opens the door to further discussions about how retailers can improve their customer experience while reducing the associated losses.”- Sponsor – Other highlights from the report include:38 percent of retailers report an increase in online purchases returned to brick-and-mortar stores.In 2018, return fraud and abuse cost American workers between 607,400 and 789,600 jobs. In addition, return fraud and abuse cost states between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion in lost sales tax. (A state-by-state breakdown is included in the report.)For every $100.00 in returns, retailers lost $5.00 to return fraud throughout the year. At the holidays, that amount was estimated to increase to $6.50.The full report is available for download here. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market marshall kirkpatrick Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Location#web Imagine you were a robot who only knew how to describe the world in four ways: self, other, time, and object. Now imagine you were struck by a bolt of lightning and found your robot brain aware of a whole new column in the spreadsheet…Place. You’d feel like a whole new robot and you’d probably sing a very happy robot song.That’s what the social web is going through right now, with the rise of location data and services as a viable pivot point for developers to work their magic with. Next week 2nd place check-in app Gowalla says it will launch at least the beginning of something a small but fascinating group of robot magicians has long waited for: a write-capable API.What Kind of Apps Might We See?Imagine a mobile app that let you check-in at all the famous art museums of the world, post photos of yourself outside them and see which museums your friends have been to. Or the best places in the world to eat grilled cheese sandwiches, if that’s your thing.Niche topical apps like that could become easier than ever to create and tie-together with larger more established location based social network providers with the availability of multiple write APIs. You could have your cheese sandwich check-ins show up in your Gowalla and Foursquare social networks, if you want, or you could view and use an app built on top of those APIs that only published and displayed check-ins at cheese sandwich related places. It’s really all about cheese sandwiches.Leading check-in app Foursquare has an API, or Application Programming Interface, that developers can already build software on top of that reads Foursquare data and can publish check-ins to Foursquare as well. But competitor Gowalla has had a read-only API, meaning 3rd party apps could display user location data but couldn’t publish back to Gowalla.Gowalla developer Adam Keys told the company’s developer email list today that unlike previous promises a write-API was coming “next week,” this time he means it. “The good news is that I think I’ve got the foundation in place,” he wrote. “I’m hoping to write up the docs and get *something* out next week, even if it’s not complete API access.”The Gowalla apps include one thing that Foursquare does not – the ability to upload photos of places along with your check-in. Might that be a part of the new Gowalla API? We certainly hope so.What Does This Mean?It means there’s more than one game in town. There’s a very big difference between one hot check-in app you can publish to and two. As ReadWriteWeb’s resident hacker and geofreak Tyler Gillies told me this afternoon, “I think this will really change the game as far as people’s ability to create applicatons that allow you to check into a venue on multiple services.”The value of a multi-platform check-in app is that you don’t have to choose, you can participate in and see your friends’ activity across services you yourself don’t spend a lot of time on.At the same time, it means you get to choose. If everyone in the world was on AT&T and they couldn’t call out to Verizon, you’d never leave one service because it would mean you’d lose contact with your friends. Enter interoperability and you’ve got customer choice, vendor competition and a new wave of innovation.At least that could be how it turns out with regard to the addition of interoperable Place streams across multiple vendors.Foursquare today lets a user opt-in to have news and reviews from favorite organizations like the Huffington Post, the Wall St. Journal and the Independent Film Channel pushed automatically to their phones when they check-in near a place that those organizations have annotated. That’s hot and it’s just the beginning of the kind of features these kinds of location apps will be able to offer in the future. Like a robot that’s been struck by lightning.A service provider or developer can offer software users a lot if they know what the user likes, who the user is friends with and how recent all that data is. Add knowing where people, places and things are and you’ve got a big jump in potential recombination of factors. Not just for location apps themselves either, but in all kinds of apps that use the location data such apps make it easy and compelling to publish.Maybe even with pictures.