Health initiative says employers can help solve obesity crisis
Recent reports have suggested that a fifth of the world’s population will be obese by 2025; health initiative BHWA advises employers that they have the power to influence the obesity crisis and it’s in their best interests to act.
Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London, who led the research, highlighted that better food policies and improved healthcare training can help us to avoid an “epidemic of severe obesity.” The potential impact such an epidemic would make to any workforce, Better Health at Work Alliance (BHWA) cautions that employers should use their influence to improve the health of their staff.
Better Health at Work Alliance is an advice body recently launched with the support of industry to make finding health at work guidance straightforward for employers.
BHWA has reccommended organisations should be looking at include access to healthy food options, promote a more active workplace, provide information on leading a healthy life and incentivise staff to follow it. Another key measure would be to make adjustments to the work space that encourage behavioural changes such as standing desks, walking clubs or bike racks.
Charlotte Cross, Director of BHWA, said: “Obesity is relevant to all employers and can impact the bottom line of any organisation through obvious health ramifications and associated productivity and performance issues. As the obesity problem grows, employers will inevitably face more of these challenges.
“While simple measures can and should play an important part in any employers approach, the diversity of our expert membership shows us that employers have access to a significant range of evidence based solutions from workplace health specialists ready and willing to help, and the power to make an impact is in their hands. We urge all organisations to get involved and sway this issue which has huge ramifications for the UK working population”
Raising the link to dementia, one of the lesser known health ramifications of obesity and another serious issue for employers, John Picken, Managing Director of CANTAB Corporate Health, a BHWA founder member said: “Worldwide clinical research has shown that obesity in mid-life plays a considerable role in cognitive impairment including preclinical dementia symptoms and dementia. Giving employees the chance to measure their cognitive health as well as their physical health will help them manage this life-threatening but potentially reversible health risk.”
Mark Braithwaite, Managing Director of Gipping Occupational health, another Founder of the alliance also said: “When dealing with obesity, or any other health taboo, it is key to ensure consistency of response throughout the organisation so that no individual feels inappropriately ‘singled out’.
For more information on the Better Health at Work Alliance please visit: http://bhwa.org.uk
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.