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In a much-anticipated keynote speech at Retail’s BIG Show, Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations, spoke to a packed room about the “Three Pillars to a Prosperous Society” and the role businesses need to play in fostering growth and opportunity in developing economies. It is the existence of these pillars, according to Annan, that creates the stability required to attract the level of capital sufficient to generate meaningful economic development.
Ultimately, Annan said, the problems of developing economies won’t be solved at the international level. The solutions will come from actions taken at the national and local levels with support and pressure from the business community (big and small) playing an important role. The increasingly global nature of business presents companies with the opportunity to play a bigger role in the development of these three pillars, according to Annan. Where the pillars are not yet in place, Annan says, businesses can and should take steps to help put them in place.
Annan pointed to a few ways businesses can do this. First, retailers need to integrate smaller-scale farmers and individual businessmen and women into their supply chains. This increases living standards and contributes to economic and social stability, a key factor in attracting capital investment. Second, companies in the developing world need to make a concerted effort to source their materials locally whenever possible. Firms need to do their research and resist the urge to import all their source material. Third, Annan suggested that retailers in developing markets invest in their local partners when possible, either directly or through public-private partnerships, in order to give them the processes and technologies required to improve their products.
With the world population set to expand to nine billion by 2050, millions of jobs will need to be created to support growth and to keep social unrest to a minimum. As Annan suggests, retail’s most important role could be helping to generate a significant portion of these. With the right policies in place, retail will continue to play an integral role in the global economy.
Ethiopia is now going to get its biggest and most modern retail and wholesale shop to date, which is expected to ease ever-increasing inflation.
The Ethiopian Trading Enterprise (ETE),which trades under the name Alle, is set to rollout its first cash-and-carry store in Addis Ababa by April 2014, with plans to expand nationwide.
The state enterprise has an authorized capital of one billion birr, of which a quarter is paid-up. It was established by the Ethiopian Government to be a commercially viable and privately managed business. Alle is neither a merger of existing organizations nor does it plan to merge with or be taken over by another organization in the future.
Alle, which will become the first cash-and-carry chain in Ethiopia,will supply a wide range of quality food and near food products at competitive prices and ensure that products are sold to consumers in a traceable and accountable manner and it will work on expanding stores and distribution centers geographically to ensure proximity and accessibility to consumers.
Alle is currently engaged with various organizations to find the most suitable IT provider for the supply of an Enterprise Resource Planning System (‘ERP’). ERP is business management software—usually a suite of integrated applications—that a company uses to manage business processes. ERP also provides an integrated real-time view of core business processes, using common databases maintained by a database management system. ERP systems track business resources—cash, raw materials, production capacity—and the status of business commitments: orders, purchase orders, and payroll.
Alle, as a business-to-business enterprise, aims to complement the current trade market environment by serving the needs of all key participants including kiosks, cafes, bars, hotels and restaurants. Alle’s competitive pricing is aimed at providing savings to such key trade market participants and at increasing affordability of goods to consumers.
Alle is also constructing three big warehouses at Merkato, Bole, and Akaki Kaliti that will be used as the first stores.
These stores, when operations begin, are expected to ease the general public’s problems with consumer goods scarcity. Moreover,it is hoped that the stores really will be reasonable in price, with all products available at any given time