Afternoon Coffee: Walmart Bribery Probe Expands, Offshoring (to robots), The Cost of Flying Fat

"A Wal-Mart spokesman declined to comment."
Wal-Mart Bribery Probe Expands Past Mexico To Brazil, China and India -- An internal probe of Wal-Mart's actions in developing markets has extended beyond the company's Mexican subsidiary to Brazil, China and India. The expansion comes only a year after Wal-Mart revealed Justice Department and SEC investigations of whether it bribed officials to spur the growth of its Mexican subsidiary.

Forget American labor...
Robots in demand in China as labour costs climb -- In China, there's no better time to be a robot. Pictures from last week's International Industry Fair in Shanghai show them duelling with lightsabers, playing ping pong and dancing in lion costumes. One shows a female robot in a white wool coat shaking hands with a visitor. According to the Frankfurt-based International Federation of Robotics, China could become the world's biggest consumer of industrial robots by 2014, with demand reaching 32,000 units. Gudrun Litzenberger, the organisation's general secretary, has described China as the fastest-growing robot market in the world.

The great weight (and cost) debate.
How should airlines treat larger passengers? -- Perhaps this is only fair. We all subsidise the costs of providing on-board defibrillators for patients who suffer cardiac events on planes. We all subsidise the added medical costs of obese people. Why not airline tickets, too? But I suspect that some Americans would not be overly happy about paying more to fly so that obese people could get free second seats. American popular culture is still very accepting of mockery (and worse) of fat people, and such policies could fuel resentment.

Peter Smith on Procurement Transformation.
What do you think "Procurement Transformation" means? -- For a number of reasons, I've been thinking recently about "Procurement Transformation". It is an expression we're seeing used more and more – it's not new, but it seems to be gathering pace and attention. If you Google it, for instance, you get 3,570,000 results! Most of those seem to be from management consulting firms, although I confess I haven't looked at the entire selection.

- Sheena Moore

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