If you’re looking for great music acts in the great outdoors, look no further than Ottawa this summer. Or closer to home the Chatham Concert Band’s Wednesday night free performances in Tecumseh Park in historic downtown Chatham.When the weather heats up, Canada’s scenic capital becomes home to several world-class music festivals. From jazz stars to pop and country headliners, to Indie and folk, there’s a music scene that is sure to suit you.And the best part most of the festivals are within a 20-minute walk from any downtown area hotel.Each summer, one of Ottawa’s largest music festivals – known locally as Jazz Fest – attracts some of the world’s best in the world of jazz. Over 10 days at the end of June – starting Saturday and running through July 1 – concerts are held on several outdoor stages near Ottawa City Hall and more intimate shows take place at indoor locations.The Tim Horton Ottawa Dragon Festival is taking place this weekend as well as the Bud Light Escapade Music Festival.For a truly memorable and epic Canada Day, join the country’s biggest birthday celebration in Canada’s capital. Each year on July 1, tens of thousands of people gather in downtown Ottawa to take in the many free Canada Day concerts on Parliament Hill and in other nearby parks. The RBC Bluesfest is slated for July 4-14 and the Ottawa Chamberfest will take place July 25 to Aug. 8.—Get a $20 Best Western gift card after your first stay this summer. Best Western Hotels and Resorts is an award-winning global family of hotels located in over 100 countries and territories.—The Highland Games are taking place Saturday at Lakeside Park in Kingsville . Dust off your kilt and join in the fun. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and features pipe band competitions with bands from Ontario, Michigan and Ohio, highland dance, sheep herding demonstrations, beer garden and entertainment by the Mudmen.—Headed to the Bruce Peninsula this summer? If so check out Bruce Anchor Cruises which operate glass bottom boat cruises and motel and cottages located on the very tip of the Bruce Peninsula. The company operates within Fathom Five National Marine Park which occupies some of the most pristine waters in the Great Lakes. Fathom Five is home to numerous historic light stations, over 20 known shipwrecks and Flowerpot Island.—Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Nickelback and Lynyrd Skynyrd and more will be featured at Roxodus July 11-14 at Edenvale Airport, 30 minutes west of Barrie.—The Sarnia Rib and Craft Beer Fest is taking place Saturday in downtown Sarnia.—Readers are invited to submit their questions or suggestions on travel close to home or far away to travel writer Bob Boughner at [email protected]
6 March 2012South Africa’s Kevin Anderson captured the second ATP Tour title of his career on Sunday when he defeated Australia’s Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 7-6 to win the Delray Beach International Championships. Previously, Anderson lifted the South African Open title in Johannesburg in 2011.“It feels fantastic. It’s my first one in the United States, which is great,” Anderson told the ATP Tour’s website.“I feel apart from South Africa, this is my new home. My wife Kelsey was here for the weekend.”Former winnersFormer winners of the title include, among others, Lleyton Hewitt, Stefan Koubek Tommy Haas, Mardy Fish, and Juan Martin del Potro.The victory lifted Anderson up to 30th in the world rankings and came not long after he had slipped a little to 37th a month ago after being sidelined by an injury.The tall South African was seeded seventh for the tournament in Delray Beach and had to overcome some tough matches to make it through to the final. It all began relatively easily with a 6-4, 6-1 over Austin Krajicek, but in the second round Anderson faced Xavier Malisse, the champion in 2005 and 2007. The match went to three sets, with Anderson claiming a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory.Wonderful contestIn the quarterfinals, Anderson faced fourth seed Andy Roddick. In a wonderful contest, the South African star fought back from a set down and saved three match points on his way to a superb 2-6, 7-6 (11-9), 6-4 win.Anderson’s reward was a semi-final showdown with top seed and world number 11 John Isner. Like the showdown with Roddick, the match pitted two big servers against one another.Tie-breakerIt proved to be a very tight contest, but Anderson broke Isner once in the first set and the big American served a double fault in the second set tie-breaker, which was enough for Anderson to triumph 7-5, 7-6 as Isner dropped a tie-breaker for only the second time in 11 tie-breakers this year.Anderson faced Marinko Matosevic in the final after the Australian became only the second player in the 20-year history of the event to make it through qualifying to the title-decider. The Croatian-born player had scored some impressive wins himself on his way to the last two.He solved the problem of the big-serving Ivo Karlovic in the first round, winning 6-3, 6-4, and then defeated sixth-seed Alexander Bogomolov 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.Winning streakIn the quarterfinals he saw off 2010 champion Ernests Gulbis 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 to set up a semi-final match against Israel’s Dudi Sela. After a very hardfought contest, Matosevic emerged a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 victor to take his winning streak to 12 matches.After his victory in the final, which lasted just short of two hours, Anderson said his mental approach had played a big role in his success. He told the ATP Tour: “I think at the end, I felt I was mentally composed throughout [the tournament]. I didn’t let any patches of bad tennis affect my mindset [this week].”‘I think we have done well’On court, after receiving the winner’s trophy, Anderson paid tribute to his coach, Louis Vosloo, saying: “Thanks for all the patience. Each day I try to work as hard as I can. I know I can be pretty difficult sometimes, but I think we have done well, so let this be the second [title] of many.”He also thanked his parents for the opportunity that they had given him to play tennis and thanked his wife of three months Kelsey, whom he met when both were students at the University of Illinois.“Thanks for coming out, I love you, and I’m so glad you were here to share this with me,” Anderson said to her.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
BJ’s Wholesale Club represents a novel way of doing business for a large warehouse type store. Headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts, and endowed with a large presence on the East Coast, BJ’s is a curious mix of a bare-bones warehouse outlet and the contents of a local grocery store fused to create a unique concept that has inspired a legion of devotees.BJ’s Wholesale Club represents a novel way of doing business for a large warehouse type store. Headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts, and endowed with a large presence on the East Coast, BJ’s is a curious mix of a bare-bones warehouse outlet and the contents of a local grocery store fused to create a unique concept that has inspired a legion of devotees.From its humble beginnings in 1984, BJ’s has grown into an impressive retail force, operating 192 clubs in fifteen Eastern states. If the word “club” evokes images of a sort of paid exclusivity, that’s because it’s exactly what BJ’s does—it charges $50 for an annual membership, which essentially buys the consumer the privilege of walking through the door.- Sponsor – BJ’s Wholesale Club is different from other warehouse clubs. While all of them operate on a similar model and share similar features—the spartan concrete floors, minimal décor, and an abbreviated customer service staff—that’s where the similarities end. BJ’s is simply different because of its mission—BJ’s target customer is the individual family.Because of the emphasis on families, you’ll find things at BJ’s that you simply won’t find at other warehouse-type stores, like supermarket-sized single products in multipacks that many families request, in addition to the massive bulk sizes popularized by wholesale chains. BJ’s also does things unheard of in this market sector, like accepting all manufacturers’ coupons and offering the option of payment with every major credit card, once again restating their commitment to the consumer.BJ’s willingness to delve into the supermarket side of the product line while operating under the warehouse model translates to the largest selection of products in the warehouse store industry—over 7,000 items in an average store. Of course, BJ’s also has the obligatory selection of member services, such as optometry, travel, and wireless phone services.Emphasizing its consumer-centric focus, BJ’s also goes out of its way to be an excellent community citizen. Cornel Catuna, BJ’s executive vice president of club operations, explains that BJ’s ideology is to go into a community, oftentimes one that other retailers have failed to penetrate, and personally meet with the key players in the community, from the mayor to the chiefs of fire and police, and forge a close bond and partnership. BJ’s real estate and construction professionals—those responsible for actually scouting and building the stores—are expected to embrace a community’s standards. It’s this “we’re your neighbors” philosophy that has allowed BJ’s to enter and even thrive in communities that have previously rejected other retailers.Even more interesting is that BJ’s is a chain that has managed to not only provide excellent service, exemplary community relations, and a massive selection of products, it has also managed to achieve some of the lowest shrink numbers in the industry. Loss Prevention at a GlanceBJ’s loss prevention efforts are headed by Charles Delgado, its vice president of asset protection. Delgado is the type of person eminently suited for a role as an LP executive. He combines the qualities and know-how of a good detective, yet has the sensibilities of a sales operation manager; a crucial combination unless you want to have every single product on lock down.Delgado brings a wealth of investigations experience to BJ’s. He served in the United States Navy shortly after high school and then proceeded into a sixteen-year career with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, where he was an expert in fugitive apprehensions and gang intelligence, developing a skill set that would eventually give him an uncanny insight into organized retail crime (ORC). After working a loss prevention stint at Target, he was asked by BJ’s to come aboard and form an investigations program to combat the new emergence of ORC. He remains there four-and-a-half years later.Delgado most certainly has his work cut out for him at BJ’s. As he explains, “If BJ’s didn’t have an investigations model, the stores would potentially be a soft target. The clubs are an area of opportunity.” The massive size of the stores, between 85,000 and 120,000 square feet, coupled with the relatively small staff for a store of this size and the sheer number of products makes a combination that could potentially be disastrous. Says Delgado, “Due to our big-box environment, BJ’s has the square footage and size to maintain at least three times the inventory than that of a normal retail environment. Therefore, we are at a greater risk in terms of the impact and damage that an ORC group can inflict in a short period of time.” As a matter of fact, it’s precisely within this environment that BJ’s has been able to achieve shrink numbers that are among the lowest in its industry segment.To understand why the stores could potentially be an LP nightmare, one needs to look no further than the business model. You start with a massive warehouse with concrete floors and metal shelving in keeping with the low-overhead, no-frills model. You then staff the store—one that contains as many products in a single location as four Walmart stores combined—with a bare-bones staff of the minimum number of people to get the job done. To top it off, you sell, among other things, extremely high-value products like televisions and electronics in a cash-and-carry format, and you can see why BJ’s is a loss prevention challenge. There isn’t a small army of sales associates wandering the floor, keeping an eye out for trouble; there are just a few. There aren’t 2,500 SKUs like your average store; there are over 7,000. And yet, Delgado and his team have posted some of the lowest shrink numbers in the industry.According to Delgado, their loss prevention efforts begin with the hiring and training of the LP team. BJ’s boasts a formidable training program for its asset protection teams, and Delgado watches over the stores with an avid sense of pride and dedication. He’s leveraged his law enforcement background to augment the training and education of persons who previously didn’t know the process of preserving a crime scene and collecting evidence to combat the growing scourge of ORC. “Random groups of people can hit clubs from New Jersey to Florida in a matter of days,” says Delgado of the necessity of an investigations model required to fight ORC.A Lean LP ModelThe no-frills mentality doesn’t stop at the sales floor at BJ’s. It continues up into the management structure. BJ’s simply doesn’t have the luxury of a top-heavy LP department. According to Delgado, “The BJ’s asset protection team is a super-lean group of LP professionals who are armed with formidable educational, real-life and business experiences. Contrary to many LP departments that maintain large investigation teams, BJ’s lean AP team doesn’t have that luxury. Instead we diligently seek out opportunities to work smarter.”Additionally, BJ’s takes this lean concept and gives it a novel twist with the addition of cross-training. Many of BJ’s loss prevention personnel have gone on to be promoted in other areas of the company and have taken that LP experience with them so that it pervades the everyday operation of the stores. Catuna explains that BJ’s asset protection department is actually part of its sales operations department, and that each AP manager in every store is actually part of the store’s management team. It’s this interesting approach that gives BJ’s an edge in loss prevention.At BJ’s loss prevention professionals are not only homogenous with the sales staff, they sometimes even operate the stores. Catuna quips, “How many other stores can have their AP people run the sales floor? AP has become part of our DNA.”LP is so woven into the management structure that Catuna estimates that 20 to 25 percent of mid-level managers at BJ’s have worked in an AP manager capacity at a BJ’s club at some point in their careers. Further to that, these former AP managers promote to other parts of the company in non-AP roles. The previous vice president of asset protection, for example, is now running the logistics division, and that person takes all of their AP experience and brings it to bear on their new duties. It’s an incredibly novel and effective way to do business and, quite simply, it works.Catuna explains that this cross-training, this mixed LP-and-sales operations attitude was “part of our culture from the beginning,” and LP personnel, in contrast to other stores, aren’t looked upon as outsiders. He believes that no other retailer has done this as effectively as BJ’s or posted shrink numbers as low as theirs in any similar type of stores.Catuna is zealous about his shrink numbers. “We wake up every day trying to fulfill our promise to our members. We can’t offer good prices if shrink is out of control.” According to Catuna, shrink at BJ’s has always been low due to their unique model, but not as low as it has been within the last two or three years, which is phenomenal considering the rapid emergence of ORC during this time.Christine Neppl is BJ’s executive vice president of merchandising logistics, and previous to that, has served in BJ’s finance division for twenty-five years. She knows shrink—”We need less of it,” she states pragmatically, while at the same time noting that a certain amount of it in such a high-velocity, low-margin environment is a reality of doing business. She seems very pleased with the shrink numbers that BJ’s is posting, which is rare for someone in finance, which demonstrates how good the operation really is.She voices the same sorts of issues as anyone in sales would, noting that typically, LP is viewed as the “sales prevention department” and that most LP managers want merchandise in lockup rather than on the sales floor, where sales managers want it. BJ’s has struck an excellent balance in this regard, with only the most expensive technology and small footprint items actually being secured. Says Delgado, “As an LP executive, I filter every decision I make to ensure that I maintain a focus on what is in the best interest of the clubs in driving sales, reducing shrink, and providing a safe, secure working and shopping experience.”Additionally, according to Neppl, BJ’s has worked closely with manufacturers to ensure high-dollar value and high-theft items come protected from the factory, and BJ’s constantly maintains an accurate perpetual inventory of all high-value items.Success StoriesBJ’s isn’t immune to thefts or ORC and has had its share of crime. BJ’s investigations team is aggressive, however, and won’t rest until the thieves are caught. When asked about one of his more successful cases, Delgado goes on to recount one of the most recent successes.“One case in particular stands out,” explains Delgado. “BJ’s Club operators in the South Florida market were experiencing a high-level of electronics theft by an aggressive ORC group. The group would stage a vehicle in a fire lane and then push flat-bed carts loaded with various high-dollar electronics through the fire exit. This fluid group moved quickly from location to location, but through the diligence of our manager of special investigations, field AP teams, the club operators, and local law enforcement, the suspects’ vehicle was positively identified and a GPS tracking unit was placed on the vehicle. Once the device was installed, BJ’s AP team created a five- to seven-mile geo fence around all of the BJ’s locations in South Florida. Once the vehicle penetrated the geo fence, we informed law enforcement, and they were able to track the vehicle back to the ORC group’s safe house, which was heavily secured with perimeter cameras, alarms, and glass breaks. A SWAT team was utilized to breach the safe house, and a large amount of merchandise from multiple retailers was recovered by law enforcement, resulting in several arrests.”BJ’s has also experienced high-tech crimes. A recent case came to light where a group of two men where travelling from Georgia to the Carolinas with a trailer in tow. Inside the trailer they had a series of sophisticated printing equipment and had managed to make exact copies of BJ’s sales receipts, which they would actually generate in the parking lot of the store they would hit. They’d simply walk inside, grab a piece of merchandise, and return it to the customer service center, phony receipt in hand, for a cash refund. It didn’t take Delgado’s team long to realize what was happening and immediately begin keeping an eye out for the suspects, who were caught and arrested shortly thereafter in Florida.Technology Plus Face TimeDelgado’s in-store LP measures are up to the highest standards due to the nature of their business. Besides hiring the right people and training them formidably, BJ’s employs the best technology available from EAS systems to IP video. High-theft items like televisions, hard drives, and other high-value items are counted daily to ensure BJ’s knows where it stands at any given moment. Delgado is also quick to point out that BJ’s logistics process—a “best-in-class” system, as he puts it—ensures very tight controls using a cross-dock process where everything is tracked right from distribution centers.Additionally, Delgado believes that in-store face time is critical. “Every single executive at BJ’s spends time in the clubs, and I’m certainly no exception,” he says. “All LP professionals must understand that we don’t have cash registers in our offices. It is vitally important that we spend time in the clubs and with our field teams to truly appreciate the hard work that goes into every sale. I visit clubs on a weekly basis, speaking to cart attendants, cashiers and managers, and members in an effort to educate myself in how they view the business and asset protection. I believe you have to make a solid effort to make yourself available to the front-line teams in the clubs, and at no point can you confuse effort with accomplishment.”So where does BJ’s go from here? Onwards and upwards. From Neppl to Catuna to Delgado, the consensus is that there’s still room for improvement in the shrink number, and BJ’s won’t rest until their shrink is lower yet…and maybe not even then. In a business model where profit is sometimes measured in pennies per item, it’s simply impossible to not be aggressive about reducing shrink and preserving what little profit there is left.It’s also easy to see why BJ’s is so successful with their loss prevention program. As Catuna states, “AP is sales ops, and sales ops is AP.” It’s this attitude, this culture of vigilance, where an AP manager might be charged with running the sales floor from time to time that pervades the organization, making sure everyone keeps loss prevention at the forefront. BJ’s sees no reason to deviate from this model, and for good reason—it works. And judging by their sales and shrink numbers, BJ’s will continue bringing value to the families it serves for years to come.ADAM PAUL is a business writer based in Los Angeles, California, and a new contributor to LP Magazine. He can be reached at [email protected] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
By Mike Pearce, Ph.D. HPC Developer EvangelistData analytics is one of the fastest growing areas in technology. Experts predict that global big data and business analytics revenue will grow by more than 50 percent over the next five years. At Intel, we know how important it is to keep up with the pace of industry and technology trends. We strive to continually innovate and improve the capabilities of our flagship Xeon processors; at the same time, through close partnerships, we team with a robust ecosystem of software providers across the world to expand platform features and optimize their applications to deliver cutting-edge business analytics services.Below, we’ll dive into four use cases showcasing how data analytics providers use the new Xeon E7 v4 processors to handle complex analyses, make a big difference in enterprise analytics speed, and improve the bottom line.Brunel University optimizes for CaterpillarCaterpillar transports enormous amounts of goods every day. Brunel University research used GEMSTONE Ant Colony Optimization running on Intel Xeon E7 v4 processors to determine the most cost-effective method of getting things from point A to point B.Brunel tested the Intel E5-2670 v2 and the Intel E7-8890 v4, and in the process, throughput time improved 3.66 times with E7 v4. Brunel has shown a sustainable processor solution that delivers distributed memory management and the option to scale as much as they need. View the GEMSTONE project details.Software AG’s performance boostIntel Xeon E7 v4 processors improved the performance of Software AG’s analytics platform, enabling more robust, real-time analytics for customers with their Terracotta and Apama platforms.They tested their platform on E7-4870 and E7-8890 v4 processors, and saw 3.2X faster performance with E7 v4. In addition, the application — Terracotta BigMemory — also benefitted with memory scaling from 1TB to 6TB. This was possible due to the Xeon E7’s expanded memory footprint, which enables complex enterprise analytics with lower latency, giving Software AG improved performance and translating to competitive advantages for their customers. View the Software AG analytics upgrade. SAS: Lightspeed business analyticsBusinesses rely on SAS applications for predictive and descriptive data modeling, data mining, and analytics. All of this requires some serious horsepower, which Xeon E7 v4 provides in spades.Comparing Xeon E7-8890 v3 to E7-8890 v4, the additional cores, threads, and larger cache in the latest generation, along with Intel SSDs, drove 26 percent faster processing for SAS. Now, SAS customers have complex analyses in record time. View the SAS workload testing results. Actian Corporation hits terminal velocityActian Vector columnar RDBMS database uses vector-based processing to accelerate queries and data throughput.When testing the E7-8890 v3 compared to E7-8890 v4 a 20 percent performance advantage. Expanded CPU core density and a larger cache accelerated vector processing queries. In addition, Actian utilized AVX2, a platform software feature, which contributed to performance growth. The end result? Reduced development time for data scientists, real-time insights for business users, and dynamic price setting for executives. View the Actian Corporation database improvements.The Intel Xeon E7 v4 family empowers many different industries, bringing them all closer to their analytics goals. These four companies are just a few examples of what Xeon E7 can do.View more use cases and find out how Xeon can supercharge software for business analytics. You can also continue the conversation on Twitter, at @mikeapmap and @IntelITCenter.
Paul Merson has a very indifferent view towards his old club Arsenal, despite their 10-game winning runThe Gunners are in a rich vein of form right now after suffering back-to-back defeats at the start of the season.Under new manager Unai Emery, Arsenal are now just two points shy of Premier League leaders Manchester City and Liverpool in fourth place in the standings.Meanwhile, they have also won all their Europa League and Carabao Cup games to date.But Merson believes that a top-four finish remains the best Arsenal can hope to achieve this season as they still lack the consistency and talent to compete with the very best.“If they finish in the top four they’ve pulled up trees,” Merson told talkSPORT. “They’ve done well to win 10 games on the trot, don’t get me wrong.“But when they come up against Tottenham and Liverpool, and especially Liverpool at the Emirates, I would be shocked if Liverpool didn’t win by three clear goals.“They will rip Arsenal to shreds.Report: Origi cause Klopp injury concerns George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Divock Origi injury in today’s game against Newcastle is a cause for concern for Jurgen Klopp.Perhaps with one eye on Tuesday’s trip to Italy…“I’m scratching my head, because Arsenal have won 10 games in a row and in half of those games they could have been behind by so many in the first half.“But when they get going in the second half, when everything is rolling, then they’re the Harlem Globetrotters.“I mean look at Mesut Ozil, he was phenomenal [against Leicester]. If he played like that every week, he’d be the best player in the world.“So no, I can’t buy into it. I think they’ve been very, very fortunate.“They haven’t played anybody yet, and you can’t play like this against teams like Liverpool.”Merson is a former midfielder who played for Arsenal from 1985 to 1997 and made 327 appearances across all competitions in the process.The 50-year-old won the English first division title twice at North London and was a part of the squad which won the European Cup in the 1993/94 season.Arsenal will face Sporting Lisbon in the Portuguese capital this evening at 18:55 (CEST) in a Europa League Group E game.