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Articles by Irwin Speizer

Going to Ground

December 6, 2004
The success of FedEx Ground has intrigued analysts and workplace trend watchers. They see the use of contract drivers by FedEx Ground, a division of FedEx Corp., as a way for the company to cut costs and use that competitive edge to win market share from rival UPS. Critics, meanwhile, wonder if the contractor model is a formula for long-term success or simply a cost cutting gimmick that provides a short-term advantage that can spur immediate and rapid growth but can’t sustain it. The independent-contractor method also raises questions about the role of corporations in protecting workers by contributing to health insurance, pensions, unemployment insurance and all the other elements of the safety net on which many American workers rely.
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Diversity on the Menu

November 1, 2004
Ten years ago, Denny’s was known as one of the most racist companies in America. Under Chief Diversity Officer Rachelle Hood, all that has changed. The company now has minority franchisees, female and minority board members and a diverse senior management team. There’s training and scholarships and a much-improved image among African-Americans. But the company can’t quantify the financial benefits of the transformation. "If you think diversity is going to sell one more pancake, you’re crazy," CEO and president Nelson Marchioli says.
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Shopper's Special

September 3, 2004
Analysts who study Trader Joe's, a quirky specialty grocery chain, attribute its success to its ability to make money by saving money. It uses private labels instead of brand names, deals directly with producers to cut out middlemen, rents cheap real estate for its stores and keeps the square footage small. Another secret to Trader Joe's success is its helpful employees. They know how to move groceries, which boosts store margins.
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Hilton Tries to Clone the Model Employee

August 2, 2004
Hilton has been trying to achieve good customer service through the use of assessment, training and rewards programs. The result: the chain is perched atop the American Customer Satisfaction Index for lodging, generates a high amount of revenue per available room, and has received several positive recommendations by stock analysts.
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