In an Amazon-driven ecommerce world, it's hard to fathom just how time-consuming it can be for retailers like Lay-Z-Boy to ship their inventory across the country.

Even though one-click ordering and GPS tracking are commonplace for consumers, the trucking and logistics industry that brings merchandise from around the world to store shelves relies largely on phone calls, personal relationships and Excel.

A slew of tech-fueled companies from NEXT Trucking to ZUUM are trying to modernize the $1.2 trillion transportation industry, made up largely of small fleets that serve manufacturers to large multinational enterprises.

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In these pandemic times, people are more isolated than they've been in our lifetimes and more dependent on technology for everything from work to entertainment to food. So you'd think that L.A. company Shipsi Inc., which is dedicated to connecting businesses across 700 cities to its last-mile delivery networks of one million drivers, would be experiencing a boom.

Spoiler alert: It's not.

In fact, the roughly 40-person company founded in 2017 has laid off half its staff as a "cautionary measure" after non-essential company closures, with Shipsi's remaining 20 or so employees now taking everything from partial to full furloughs to limit the bleeding. The company has also refined its technology to help make operations more automated and cut back on customers that require significant support or resources.

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Amazon fired two highly visible employee activists who regularly criticize the company's position on climate change and conditions inside its fulfillment centers. The employees were terminated for "repeatedly violating internal policies," an Amazon spokesperson said.

User experience designers Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, two leaders of the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice group, were let go Friday. They helped form the organization inside Amazon over a year ago.

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