Mexico stun holders Germany 1-0 in World Cup opener

first_imgDefending champions Germany crashed to defeat in their first game at the World Cup on Sunday as an enterprising Mexico refused to be intimidated and came away 1-0 winners in a thrill-packed Group F opener.A shaky warm-up campaign had called into question the dominant form the Germans showed in qualifying, but experience and records were on their side, having won every opening game at major tournaments since Joachim Loew took over as coach in 2006.Juan Carlos Osorio’s side had other ideas, however, holding their own against the favourites’ fearsome but slowing midfield and finding space at the back and seeking to end 33 years without a win against Germany. After wasting a handful of first-half chances while living dangerously in their own half, Hirving Lozano’s 35th-minute strike on the break proved just reward.When German centre back Mats Hummels lost possession deep in the Mexican half, Javier Hernandez was released through the middle. He outpaced Jerome Boateng and with a less than perfect pass found Lozano, who controlled the ball, cut inside Mesut Ozil, held off a charging Toni Kroos and slotted past Manuel Neuer.At the other end, Guillermo Ochoa tipped a blistering Kroos free kick on to the bar minutes later, in what was to prove the Germans’ closest effort of a match in Moscow in which they had more than 60 percent possession but could not make it count.“Our motto was play with the love of winning and not the fear of losing,” said a delighted Osorio.“Mexico deserved the win,” Hummels conceded, noting how he and Boateng were left exposed at the back and saying the team had failed to learn from a recent friendly defeat to Austria.“If we go on like this, I’ll be worried,” he added. “But I expect us to improve.”Germany pressed in the second half but struggled to find the target. Osorio beefed up his defences to hang on, pulling off Lozano and then, with a quarter of an hour left, sending in 39-year-old Rafael Marquez at the back to become the third man ever to play in five World Cups.Loew threw on Marco Reus in place of Sami Khedira and, with 10 minutes to go, switched left-back Marvin Plattenhardt for a second striker, Mario Gomez, to reinforce Timo Werner, who had failed to make much of a mark in the German spearhead.Mexico had much of the 80,000 crowd in Luzhniki Stadium on its feet as the Germans left ever greater gaps at the back, and the wastefulness notably of Hernandez on the final pass may reassure future opponents that Mexico, while determined to end a Cinderella reputation, have not replaced Germany as favourites.Youngster Julian Brandt nearly saved Loew’s night after taking over from Werner in the final minutes when he blasted a shot past Ochoa’s right post, and even goalkeeper Neuer came up for a corner in injury time.But it was not to be.Mexico can dream of going better than a consistent record of reaching the last 16 of the last six World Cups and perhaps of improving on the quarter-final they last reached in 1986.“They are the best team in the world,” goalscorer Lozano said, describing his strike as “the best goal of my life”.The Germans now face Sweden and South Korea and should still qualify from Group F. But their reputation is not what it was.“We are now under pressure. We have to get six points from the next games,” Kroos said. “We did not do well. We had our chances but didn’t score.”last_img read more

Raikkonen edges Hamilton after Vettel hits wall in Singapore

first_img0Shares0000Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on the Marina Bay street circuit © AFP / Roslan RAHMANSINGAPORE, Singapore, Sep 14 – Kimi Raikkonen edged out Lewis Hamilton to the fastest lap in Friday’s second practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, but the Finn’s Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel had his session cut short after he smacked a wall.Raikkonen, who will leave Ferrari for Sauber at the end of the season, sped round in 1 minute 38.699 seconds, almost a second quicker than last year’s pole position time, and then warned he could go even faster. “For sure in the second session I could have driven a bit better,” the 38-year-old former world champion told reporters.“I went on the kerbs on the fastest lap so we lost quite a bit of time, but overall it was pretty easy going.”Championship leader Hamilton was just 0.011 seconds adrift of Raikkonen after bolting on the fastest hypersoft tyres for the night session on the spectacular Marina Bay street circuit.Mercedes, who usually struggle for pace in Singapore, had elected not to use the quickest compound in the first session, in which Hamilton finished sixth.“We were close to the Ferraris, but we will only find out tomorrow how quick they really are,” said four-time world champion Hamilton, who finished more than half a second ahead of the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.Vettel limped back to the pits only ninth fastest with fluid pouring from a hydraulic pipe after he bounced off the wall and damaged his right rear and front wheels with 40 minutes of the session remaining.It meant the German, who is 30 points behind Hamilton in the standings with seven races to go, was only able to complete 11 laps under lights in race-simulation conditions.– ‘Crazy hot’ –But Vettel denied the setback would hamper him in Sunday’s race.“No not at all,” he told reporters. “By now I think you have quite good experience reading into the others, what they did and reading into their runs with tyres which will obviously be key for Sunday, but we can recover most of it tomorrow.”Valtteri Bottas was fifth in the second Mercedes, less than a tenth of a second behind Ricciardo, with the Renault of Carlos Sainz sixth.Earlier Singapore specialist Ricciardo, who has finished second for the past three years in a row, had led a Red Bull one-two in first practice.But Verstappen said he did not think the Red Bulls had a quick enough package to challenge Ferrari and Mercedes for pole position in Saturday’s qualifying.“I think we can still improve with the car,” Verstappen said. “I don’t think we have the pace to fight for pole, but we’ll try to optimise the car a bit more.”Charles Leclerc marked his first session since being announced as Sebastian Vettel’s new teammate for 2019 with a blunder near the end of the session © AFP / Roslan RAHMANFerrari’s new signing Charles Leclerc had a moment to forget when he crashed his Sauber near the end of the first session.The 20-year-old from Monaco, who will replace Raikkonen at the Marinello team for 2019, misjudged his exit and clipped the wall hard at turn 13, destroyed his right front wheel and suspension.The Marina Bay track has 23 corners — more than any other on the current Formula One calendar — and is a severe test for both drivers and cars, with temperatures regularly topping 30 Celsius during the night race.“The track is incredible,” said Hamilton. “We’re a lot quicker than we were last year, but that also makes the lap so much harder with G forces and it is crazy hot. In the second session, I think I lost almost two kilos.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Rooney slams Mancini claim he got Kompany red

first_img0Shares0000MANCHESTER, England, January 9 – Wayne Rooney has slammed Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini’s claim he got Vincent Kompany sent-off in Manchester United’s 3-2 FA Cup derby win over the holders at Eastlands.Italian boss Mancini felt Rooney influenced referee Chris Foy into showing defender Kompany a red card for a two-footed challenge on Nani just 12 minutes into Sunday’s incident-packed third round clash.But the England striker, who scored goals either side of Kompany’s exit in a first half where Danny Welbeck also netted for United, defended himself on Twitter on Monday by saying: “Funny how people think i got kompany sent off. Im not ref. i didn’t give red card. But it was a clear red card. 2 footed tackle.” Mancini compared the actions of Rooney, seen speaking to Foy after Kompany’s tackle and before the sending-off, to his own in waving an imaginary red card during City’s win over Liverpool last week.“It was not a red card,” Mancini said after a defeat that saw City’s defence of the FA Cup they won last season end after just one match.“Rooney told him his decision.“When I did this against Liverpool, people told me not to do it.“I said I was sorry and made a mistake.”As City captain Kompany now faces a four-match suspension, the Premier League leaders are set to lodge an appeal against his red card before Monday’s deadline expires.If an appeal is rejected, City will be without Kompany for both legs of their League Cup semi-final with Liverpool and Premier League games against Wigan and Tottenham Hotspur.With Kolo Toure on African Nations Cup duty, that would leave Joleon Lescott and Stefan Savic as City’s first-choice central defensive duo.However, Mancini was confident City would get Kompany’s ban overturned, in which case the defender would be available for Wednesday’s visit of Liverpool.“We will appeal. I am sure we will win,” he said.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Energy assessment law needed to avoid another Trans Mountain impasse, PM says

first_img(THE CANADIAN PRESS) OTTAWA _ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is overhauling how Canada assesses big energy projects in a bid to ensure new projects can get built without the government having to buy them to make that happen.The Liberal’s Impact Assessment Act passed second reading in the Senate last week but is widely expected to be amended when it goes before a Senate committee in the new year.The bill is one of a long list of sore points between the Trudeau Liberals and Canada’s oil patch, with several oil industry representatives and the Alberta government arguing the bill will set up regulatory hurdles that will prevent any new energy projects from being built.- Advertisement -Trudeau says he’s open to amending the bill to give the private sector the kind of certainty it craves in order to invest in new projects in Canada because Ottawa should not have to pass a new law or buy a pipeline in order to get things built.However, he won’t say whether he is prepared to say no to expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline if the court-ordered redo of the environment and Indigenous consultations comes back warning that the project does more harm than good.Getting the Trans Mountain pipeline expanded is a major weak point for Trudeau’s re-election bid and his assertion that Canada can develop its resources responsibly without harming the environment.Advertisementlast_img read more

Going the extra mile

first_imgShattuck has served as superintendent for the past 13 years. In all, she has been with the district for 44 years. Just as the district’s board of education was about to begin a search for her replacement, members asked Shattuck, “Are you sure you want next year to be your final year?” she said. “They said, `We’d really be happy if you decided to stay.’ I said, `OK,”‘ Shattuck said. The new contract does not come with a pay raise. Shattuck’s salary remains at $206,000 a year. Shattuck said she had considered retirement because she could make as much money from her pension as she could working. But then she decided that she doesn’t want to quit working. NORWALK – Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District Superintendent Ginger Shattuck’s on-again, off-again retirement plans are off again. A year ago, Shattuck announced she would retire as of June of this year. Then she announced she planned to stay on until 2008. Now Shattuck has signed a new contract that will keep her in her job until June 30, 2010. Even so, Shattuck on Monday insisted she plans to be superintendent only until June 30, 2009. Seriously. “There’s more than money to this job,” she said. “I am really committed to this community. I like 99 percent of the job. I don’t have something I’m looking forward to doing, either professionally with consulting or personally.” By staying on, Shattuck said, she also can help the district deal with its declining enrollment, possibly by closing schools. The board already has voted to close Huerta Elementary School in the fall of 2008. “A new superintendent won’t have to deal with that kind of negative issue,” she said. “There’s no way to put a positive spin on closing schools.” Board member Pauline Deal said she’s happy Shattuck decided to stay for at least another year. “We’ve started so many things, it would be nice to see her stay and help us continue,” Deal said. Board member Richard LeGaspi said he, too, is pleased. “It’s good when you’re going through tough times to have an experienced superintendent,” LeGaspi said. (562)698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Enron jury gets week off before deciding

first_imgHOUSTON – Kenneth Lay, seated at the defense table in court, tried to smile, look friendly and make eye contact with jurors. Jeffrey Skilling sat much as he has for some four months, looking at jurors, hands folded on his lap, tight-lipped. “I’m sure on January 31, you thought this day would not arrive,” U.S. District Judge Sim Lake told the panel Monday, the 53rd day they showed up in his courtroom for the federal fraud and conspiracy trial of Lay, Enron Corp.’s founder, and Skilling, its former chief executive. “It has arrived,” the judge said. Testimony was complete. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsLake sent them home for a week, their longest hiatus since they arrived in January to begin hearing evidence in the premier criminal case to emerge from one of the biggest corporate scandals in U.S. history. They’ll return Monday to receive instructions from Lake and begin hearing up to 12 hours of arguments – six hours from each side – before beginning deliberations, likely midday May 17. “It was a long time coming,” Skilling, who faces 28 counts of fraud, conspiracy and insider trading, said outside the courthouse. “It has been exhausting.” “I feel comfortable,” his attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, said. “We do think the jury has heard enough to make a fair decision.” “We all feel good about where we are,” said Lay, who is charged with six counts of fraud and conspiracy. Lay’s defense team Monday welcomed the return of lead lawyer Michael Ramsey, who’s been absent for weeks while recovering from carotid artery surgery. He said he was looking forward to participating in the arguments next week and described the prosecution case against Lay as ending “on a kind of whimper.” Defense lawyers considered calling five more witnesses Monday but chose to rest their case after calling only two, bringing the defense total to 29, including Lay and Skilling. Prosecutors had considered up to 10 rebuttal witnesses but called only three before wrapping up. In its main case against the company, the government has called 22 witnesses, presenting testimony that contended that Lay and Skilling repeatedly lied about Enron’s strength when they knew accounting tricks were being used. The government, however, lacked hard evidence pointing to guilt. The defense also lacked tangible evidence, and relied heavily on the credibility of Lay and Skilling. Both insisted no fraud occurred at Enron, they did nothing wrong, and bad press and a skittish post-Sept. 11 market combined to siphon market confidence from the company as it tumbled into bankruptcy proceedings in December 2001. Skilling had been expected to be the temperamental defendant on the witness stand, in keeping with his reputation, but he was largely civil. Instead, it was Lay, during his six days of testimony, who locked horns with prosecutor John Hueston and even with his own lawyer, George Secrest, insisting he told the truth when he praised Enron’s strength to employees and investors throughout the fall of 2001. Skilling also said he was truthful when he touted publicly his company’s strength and defended financial structures and partnerships that prosecution witnesses described as fraudulent. But Skilling was unable to show that his accusers lied about incriminating conversations and meetings. Lay’s final witnesses Monday were Marge Nardarsky, a former Enron employee, and the Rev. Ed Young, pastor of Houston’s Second Baptist Church. Nardarsky, who worked for 26 years at Enron and whose last job was in marketing and public relations, and corporate brand management, testified that no one pressured her to approve a 2000 contract with a now-defunct online photo-sharing company run by a former Skilling girlfriend. Both Skilling and Lay invested in the company known as Photofete but failed to inform Enron’s directors in writing, as required by a company ethics code. She testified she believed failure to comply was a dismissable offense at Enron. Young said he had prayed with Lay, whom he met initially at Houston civic and social events, and knew him as a man who “keeps his word.” Lay prayed that “the truth comes out, and that’s my prayer,” Young added. But the pastor said he knew nothing about Enron.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Santa’s sleigh gets permission to fly over Donegal!

first_imgSanta Claus has been officially cleared to fly over Donegal and the rest of Ireland next week following an important government announcement.The motion of utmost importance was raised in Dail Eireann today, and many people are very relieved by the outcome.Santa Claus is scheduled to fly at a low altitude over the country next week and make many landings. Such a large-scale transport operation requires much pre-flight preparation each year. Cork Fine Gael TD Jim Daly put forward a major concern of parents and children – will Santa Claus have clearance to travel over Irish airspace this Christmas?“Under the Irish Aviation Authority Act, has the Government agreed a proposal this year to grant a permit for Santa Claus to travel the length and breadth of the country?” Deputy Daly asked.There were many smiles in the government as Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald confirmed that Santa will have free access to fly over Ireland and visit all the boys and girls next Saturday night.“There will be no difficulty with Santa Claus’s permit for travel this Christmas.  No objections have been put in by anybody”, the Tanaiste said. Santa’s magic goes above and beyond government policies, but Deputy Daly took the opportunity to have a dig at the Fianna Fáil Party’s ‘new politics’ and their tendency of ‘watering down’ Government proposals.We can breathe a sigh of relief now that it’s all official: Santa will be paying a special visit to homes across Donegal next week, provided all children (and adults) are on their best behaviour!Santa’s sleigh gets permission to fly over Donegal! was last modified: December 15th, 2016 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Tuning up LP for Greater Horsepower and Better Performance

first_imgIt’s always refreshing to see a company that’s been in operation for nearly a century adapt new technologies and move away from old ways of doing business. There is somewhat of a danger in being in continuous business for that long—the danger of complacency; the danger of thinking “We’ve always done it that way;” or even the danger of simply bucking change for the sake of taking a safe, risk-free position.Pep Boys is a company that has seen substantial change in the ninety-one years it’s been in business. This American auto parts icon hardly needs an introduction. Originally founded in 1921 as a single retail location in Philadelphia, Pep Boys is now a $2 billion powerhouse that operates over 700 stores throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, as well as running over 7,000 service bays.It’s a multi-faceted business operation that caters to all aspects of the consumer automotive industry, from parts and service to shade-tree, do-it-yourself mechanics. Pep Boys thoroughly embraces the unique American love affair with the automobile, and carries thousands of aftermarket parts for customizing your ride; a pastime that is perhaps more important to Americans than any other culture in the world. If it belongs on a car or truck, there is a good chance Pep Boys can sell it to you, fix it for you, or upgrade it.- Sponsor – A Multifaceted Loss Prevention LandscapeIt’s hard to encapsulate the loss prevention challenges endemic to Pep Boys without having a good feel for the landscape of this very diverse company. While Pep Boys has the usual retail challenges, it must also contend with some issues that are peculiar to the type of business it conducts, which is more or less unlike anything out there. The business model isn’t solely retail, it is also comprised of a service segment with lots of parts, tools, and other consumables to track, as well as a massive reverse logistics model to track core returns. On top of that, Pep Boys also has five distribution centers, where the chain’s gargantuan parts supplies are stored. Finally, there are over 19,000 associates who work in the stores as well as the distribution centers.In charge of the company’s loss prevention efforts and directly in charge of this formidable array of hydra-like problem areas is Bryan Hoppe, who was recently promoted to the position of vice president of store operations. Up until this promotion, Hoppe was the vice president of asset protection; a position he held for four years.Not only is Hoppe a career loss prevention and operations professional, he’s also a career auto parts expert. Hoppe got his start in the industry in 1995, when he began a stint with Western Auto Supply Company, where he was a store manager for two years. After that, he embarked on a ten-year career with auto parts giant Advance Auto Parts, where he started as a store manager. By the time he left Advance in 2008 to join Pep Boys, he was in charge of asset protection for the company.While career loss prevention executives aren’t particularly rare, it’s definitely rare to see an executive who has worked within the same industry segment for his whole career. Typically, loss prevention executives tend to cross-pollinate, moving from retail segment to retail segment, even though the actual product each company sells might be totally different. In this case Hoppe brings a remarkable amount of focused expertise from which Pep Boys can directly benefit.The Way Things WereWhen Hoppe came on board in 2008, he found Pep Boys to be pursuing an asset protection model that was, for the most part, outdated. “We were following an SOP-based model,” says Hoppe, “a model where we would conduct lots of investigations and audits.” As a matter of fact, Hoppe found that the LP staff in place included top-notch professionals who believed in what they were doing and gave asset protection their best efforts. Whereas a substandard AP model can oftentimes be blamed on substandard personnel, clearly, this wasn’t the case at Pep Boys. It was just a matter of the way they were looking at the problem.Hoppe has an interesting, but poignant anecdote to describe the problem: “When someone walks into a Home Depot and asks for a drill bit, what do they really want?” he muses. “They want a hole. That’s the problem. We were so focused on the drill bit that we lost sight of the hole.”Essentially, what the LP department of Pep Boys was trying to do was to kill the shrink problem with standard operating procedures, almost, in a sense, trying to legislate the shrink problem out of existence. Areas of shrink would be indentified, and then large, detailed, and expansive audits would be performed. The audits would in turn prompt the genesis of a new series of rules, procedures, and checklists that needed to be followed by the individual store—all the while completely missing what the root cause of the shrink problem was in the first place. “Our entire shrink plan was SOP based, with not a lot of root-cause analysis,” states Hoppe, “We were doing things that were industry best practices for years, but we wound up with hundreds of SOPs.”As with other companies, Pep Boys also had a strong investigative loss prevention model that focused heavily on investigations, both for internal and external theft. The investigations model is a vestige of early loss prevention efforts, a mindset of cops versus criminals, and curiously, it still pervades modern loss prevention even though it’s been proven multiple times in different market sectors that outright theft isn’t usually the major cause of shrink within an organization. “We were seeing shrink as a theft problem rather than a business problem,” says Hoppe.All of these audits and SOPs were eventually becoming burdensome to the stores and store managers, who simply couldn’t keep up with the rules and procedures being pushed down from above. “With all the stuff a store manager has to think about, you’re getting his attention for around 15 to 30 minutes per week,” states Hoppe, who soon realized he needed to remove burdens from stores, rather than add to them.Turning the RudderIt didn’t take Hoppe long to realize that the ship needed to change course. He took stock of his situation, and found himself surrounded by quality and seasoned loss prevention professionals, but ones who needed a new focus. According to Hoppe, “In my mind there are three different types of loss prevention organizations. The first is the police/audit type, where everything is a criminal investigation. The second is the consultant culture, where extensive rules are developed and an attempt is made to legislate shrink out of existence. The third is what I call ‘operationalizing the LP,’ and that’s what we went with.”Even though you might not find “operationalizing” in your dictionary, Hoppe’s concept of the idea definitely bears looking into. Essentially, Hoppe implemented a structure in which loss prevention professionals started to perceive themselves as business partners with operations. They began to take ownership of loss prevention problems rather than blaming it on another department or even some unseen thief. “Cradle to the grave, we now own the shrink problem,” states Hoppe. “We all share the responsibility to manage shrink.”An excellent example of this was Pep Boy’s move to have high-shrink products spider-wrapped at the distribution centers as well as reaching out to vendors to have them rethink their packaging rather than letting the stores deal with the problem. It was a classic loss prevention problem—certain products were packaged from a sales standpoint rather than from a security standpoint. In the old way of doing things, “We would build an extensive audit and then update the SOP,” says Hoppe. In the new way of doing things, “We had the distribution centers wrap the merchandise. They’re set up to do that, while the stores aren’t.” The solution not only solved that particular shrink problem, it shifted the burden of dealing with that problem away from the stores and onto the distribution center, which was better equipped to deal with it. “We needed to take the job of merchandise protection out of the stores,” states Hoppe.Ownership of shrink is also a big theme in Hoppe’s master plan. He describes former practices at Pep Boys like this: “In the past, we’d send an auditor to a store. Twenty-one days later, an investigator might come by. Seven days after that, perhaps an AP manager would pay the store a visit. Then there would be a question; who owns what?” This example illustrates the overlap in duties, as well as the complete lack of ownership of the actual responsibility for the problem.Like many loss prevention executives who have seen the light on outdated LP models, Hoppe started out in part by eliminating certain roles within the LP department. The investigator role and the auditor role were axed, with those personnel shifted over to the larger, more overarching asset protection role. Hoppe then modeled the organizational structure of these personnel after the operations division. For each operations position, a corresponding asset protection position was created, and thus the area and divisional levels of operations and LP became perfectly aligned. Currently, each AP manager is responsible for everything shrink and claims related within the stores under his control.New Ideas and New TechnologyHoppe’s new ideas came in the form of an “eye-level” shrink program, comprised of three separate components. First off was the requisite corporate culture change needed in order to convince non-asset protection employees that AP was important and reducing shrink was everyone’s responsibility. This was followed by innovation, which comprised of SOP refinements and the building of a better AP process. Finally, some investment was inevitably needed to equip Pep Boys with a much needed shot in the arm technology wise.Part of Pep Boys’ technology purchase was devoted to the widespread roll out of CCTV systems and DVRs, which the company had previously not devoted much attention to. This also helped the company curb in-store theft as well as the inevitable shrink and accidents that are associated with Pep’s service-bay operation.One of Pep Boys’ biggest process refinement and technology rollouts revolved around the reverse logistics model that necessarily pervades their operations. It’s a problem that’s peculiar to auto parts and similar stores, and it revolves around the concept of a core charge. The way it works is that the customer orders an auto part, and besides the cost of the part itself, the customer is charged what is known in the industry as a “core charge.” The customer then installs the part he or she purchased, and brings the old part back into Pep Boys, and is subsequently refunded the core charge fee. From there, Pep Boys sends the old part to be refurbished and then the refurbished part is sold again, starting the process over again.With this model, the customer had an overwhelming incentive to return the old part, because they inevitably wanted a refund of their core charge. Pep Boys associates, however, had no such incentive, and subsequently, many core return parts were thrown away, forgotten, or lost, resulting in a huge expense. Realize that without the rebuildable core, Pep Boys can’t resell that part, and the part therefore becomes a loss to the company. “Ninety-five percent of our reverse logistics never made it onto the pallet,” says Hoppe, speaking of the way it used to be. “It was process shrink, not theft.”Hoppe decided to curb this by giving each core part a bar-coded “license plate.” Now, when a core part is returned, it’s scanned into the system and tied to a manifest. Hoppe and his team can now tell whether that part made it onto the pallet, and subsequently made it to the distribution center. “Before, there was a lack of buy in at the store level. It resulted in a big, black hole at the end of the year,” says Hoppe. Associates were also polled, asking their opinions on the AP process in general. During this process, it was noted that the conventional LP awareness program using posters that were posted in each retail location were universally disliked and seldom if ever read. Hoppe and his team replaced these with a fun course and more personalized instruction at the behest of employees, which has thus far turned into a success. In addition, the program includes an online training technology that encourages associate participation and reinforces the messaging (see sidebar page 46).The Road Ahead Kevin CookWith current shrink numbers literally a shadow of what they used to be, one would think Hoppe would have every reason to sit on his laurels and simply keep going in the same direction, but he’s not. This may be part of the reason he was promoted to the coveted role of VP of store operations. While AP still falls under Hoppe’s jurisdiction, he could have easily filled his old spot with one of his protégés. However, he decided to take a different course of action, hiring LP industry veteran Kevin Cook to lead the charge.Cook is also a veteran of Advance Auto Parts and is extremely results driven. When asked why he would recruit someone outside the company rather than promote from within, Hoppe stated, “I knew he would come in and question everything I did. Kevin’s mandate is to improve on what we have right now, not what we had four years ago.”It’s an interesting philosophy to be sure, and it’s a bold one as well, since all of Hoppe’s decisions will be scrutinized for efficacy at his own behest. Putting a fresh set of eyes on what Pep Boys has been doing for the last four years under Hoppe’s watch is also incredibly humble, to say the least. That’s mainly because Hoppe is trying to build a leaner, meaner Pep Boys rather than trying to validate his accomplishments. “He’s going to revisit everything I’ve done,” states Hoppe.  Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Lawmakers Question IRS’s New Sole-Source Identity Verification Contract with Equifax

first_imgLogin to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative. The House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee held an October 4 hearing on the IRS’s efforts and challenges toward modernizing its information technology (IT) infrastructure. Witnesses from the IRS, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified before the subcommittee.Antiquated TechnologyThe IRS is currently operating on out-of-date, antiquated hardware and software, IRS officials Jeffrey J. Tribiano, deputy commissioner for operations support, and Silvana Gina Garza, chief information officer, both testified. “Approximately 64 percent of IRS hardware is aged and out of warranty, and 32 percent of software is two or more releases behind the industry standard, with 15 percent more than four releases behind,” they noted in their shared written testimony.Depleted Budget ResponsibleAccording to Tribiano and Garza, the IRS’s depleted budget over the years is largely to blame. However, President Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget requests $2.07 billion for information services; $216.1 million above current FY 2017 levels. Additionally, Trump’s budget proposes reinstating the IRS’s streamlined critical pay authority. The loss of critical pay authority hurt the IRS’s ability to recruit and retain experienced IT managers, the officials noted while encouraging Congress to approve the proposals.Subcommittee Chairman Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., stated that the IRS’s management decisions must be included in the discussion. “As we examine tax administration reforms, we welcome a discussion on changes to the IRS IT budget. However, changes to the budget must be coupled with better management and governance of the resources the IRS already has,” Buchanan said.Equifax ContractAdministrative decisions, such as the IRS’s September 29 contract with Equifax following that company’s massive data breach, was of particular concern among lawmakers. “More than 20 days had passed since we learned of the greatest data breach in history, and you just signed a contract to pay Equifax to have access to IRS data for identity verification purposes,” Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., said. The IRS officials testifying did not have any information to provide on why the contract was executed.Senate ConcernsMeanwhile, across the Capitol, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., also expressed their concern as to the IRS’s contract with Equifax. In an October 4 bipartisan letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, the SFC leaders requested information about why the IRS moved forward with the contract.“Last month, the Committee wrote to Equifax regarding the data breach that is now estimated to have exposed the personally identifiable information of at least 145-million Americans,” Hatch and Wyden wrote. “We were taken aback when it came to our attention that last week the IRS awarded Equifax a sole source contract worth over $7 million for “verifying taxpayer identity and…assisting in ongoing identity verification and validations needs of the Service,”” the taxwriters added. Hatch and Wyden requested a response by the IRS and a copy of the IRS/Equifax contract by October 11.By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Stafflast_img read more