Mike O'Brien

mobrien@accessintel.com / MikeOBmcm

Mike O’Brien has worked in journalism, marketing and public relations for … well, quite a while. At Multichannel Merchant he focuses on the world of direct-to-customer operations and fulfillment, editing MCM’s weekly O+F Advisor newsletter, and programs the annual Ecommerce Operations Summit conference. Previously Mike was a senior account executive for Marx Communications, a boutique public relations firm working with marketing and advertising technology companies. Other past work includes stints as a media relations consultant for a concert promoter, a marketing communications specialist for a pharma software firm, a research analyst covering corporate e-learning and a daily newspaper reporter on every beat imaginable – except sports.

GlobalTranz Acquires Cerasis, 11th Acquisition in Three Years

| Mike O'Brien

3PL GlobalTranz Enterprises has acquired Cerasis, a provider of managed transportation and third-party multimodal logistics services, marking its 11th acquisition since January 2017. Cerasis has a managed transportation client base that uses its 3PL/4PL service offerings and technology solutions, including TMS.

XPO Explores Sale or Spinoff of Up to 4 Business Units, Just Not LTL

| Mike O'Brien

Saying the market hasn’t been rewarding the company as it should, the board of XPO Logistics said the company was exploring strategic options including the sale or spinoff of up to four business units, which would not include its less-than-truckload shipping business. It has retained Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan as financial advisors.

Post Peak, Amazon Removes Ban on FedEx Ground, Home for 3P Sellers

| Mike O'Brien

A month after prohibiting third-party sellers from using FedEx Ground and FedEx Home for Prime orders due to alleged on-time performance issues, Amazon is now saying they’re back on the nice list. Amazon said the performance issues have been resolved to its satisfaction, allowing 3P sellers to use the services again.

Walmart Expands Use of Scanning Robots, Launches MFC for Grocery

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart is expanding its fleet of shelf-scanning robots, adding 650 this year for a total of 1,000 as it looks to address nettlesome grocery out-of-stock issues and battle competitors with the technology like Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop, Giant Eagle and Schnuck’s. It has also launched a micro fulfillment center at a New Hampshire store.

New Industry Group Seeks to Tackle Growing Issue of Product Returns

| Mike O'Brien

To combat the growing problem of returns, which continue to eat away at profit margins, the Retail Value Chain Federation and returns prevention software provider Newmine have created the Product Returns Council to work on solutions. Both will take part in a returns workshop at Ecommerce Operations Summit, April 14-16 in Orlando.

SEKO Acquires Freight Forwarder Air-City to Expand Its Services in China

| Mike O'Brien

SEKO Logistics has acquired New York-based freight forwarder and cross-border ecommerce firm Air-City, Inc. for an undisclosed sum as it looks to expand its shipping capabilities into China and add resources and infrastructure in the critical New York area. A year ago, SEKO acquired GoodShip International Inc. in Chicago.

California Judge Exempts Truckers from AB5 Contractor Law

| Mike O'Brien

A state court judge in California ruled in favor of truckers seeking an exemption from AB5, which broadly restricted use of contractors by requiring reclassification as employees. On Dec. 31, a federal judge issued a similar ruling temporarily exempting truck drivers from the Jan. 1 implementation of AB5; it was extended on Jan. 13.