Friday, March 25, 2011

Postmaster General Continues Efficiency Improvements

/PRNewswire -- Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe today announced a newly redesigned Postal Service, one that is better positioned for growth, reflects further alignment within the organization to achieve core business strategies and, when fully implemented, will help realize approximately $750 million of annual cost savings.

"I am confident that we have developed a strong plan that takes a key step toward a leaner and less bureaucratic structure. One that is fair to our employees and one that will meet the future needs of our customers and the mailing industry," Donahoe said.

About 7,500 positions will be eliminated across the organization through the redesign that also includes the closing of seven district offices and offers limited financial incentives to those who meet specific qualifications.

The seven district offices that are closing are Columbus, Southeast Michigan, Northern Illinois, South East New England, South Georgia, Big Sky and Albuquerque. District offices house only administrative functions and do not affect customer service, mail delivery, Post Office operations or ZIP codes. The functions of these seven districts will be assumed by district offices within close proximity.

A Voluntary Early Retirement and financial incentive programs will be offered to eligible employees. Employees must be 50 years old, with at least 20 years of service; or any age with at least 25 years of service to qualify for the incentive. Employees who accept the VER offer or already meet existing retirement qualifications will receive $20,000 paid over two fiscal years to separate from the Postal Service.

"It's critical that we adjust our workforce to match America's changing communications trends as mail volumes continue to decline," Donahoe said. "At every step and with every change, our focus remains on our customers and continuing to provide outstanding customer service."

Today's announcement focused on the administrative and executive corps. Additional staff reductions will occur as the Postal Service makes necessary changes to its network and retail operations. The full scope and financial impact of these personnel actions should be realized in one calendar year – March 2012.

While cost savings will be realized, the main objective of the restructuring is to enhance and strengthen customer service and relationships. The realignment flattens the organization, enabling flexibility to more quickly adapt to changing market forces and continuing mail volume decline.

The Postal Service is streamlining operations and improving efficiencies across the organization in order to protect its ability to provide affordable, universal mail service. By modifying networks, consolidating functions and restructuring administrative and processing operations, the Postal Service is adapting to meet the evolving needs, demands and activities of its customers.

"Mail remains valuable. It is at the heart of a $900 billion industry that continues to drive commerce and the American economy," Donahoe said. "We will continue to work with Congress and our employees to achieve the long-term, structural and legislative changes we know we need to remain a viable organization."

A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 150 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With 32,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government,, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $67 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world's mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 29th in the 2010 Fortune 500. Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business magazines ranked the Postal Service as a leader in workforce diversity. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency six consecutive years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Walmart Realignment Puts Atlanta in the Spotlight

/PRNewswire/ -- Walmart announced today that the new eastern business unit will be headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. Walmart's eastern business unit is comprised of nearly 1,600 stores in 20 states spanning from Florida to Maine with approximately 560,000 associates. The eastern business unit will be led by Atlanta veteran Rosalind Brewer, president of Walmart East and executive vice president of Walmart U.S.

"With the busiest airport in the world and a central location, Georgia is the ideal destination for our eastern business unit," said Rosalind Brewer, president of Walmart East and executive vice president of Walmart U.S. "Atlanta has a strong history of corporate and divisional headquarters and we're delighted to join this group and spotlight the city within our global organization."

In her new role, Brewer is responsible for establishing the strategic direction for the eastern business unit, including growth opportunities in store innovation, people development, supply chain and real estate. Rosalind joined Walmart in 2006 as regional vice president, responsible for operations in Georgia, and was quickly promoted to president of the southeast operating division. She later led the south business unit of Walmart U.S. as executive vice president and president before being appointed to her current role. Prior to joining Walmart, she worked for Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Molson Coors Brewing Company. She serves on the board of trustees for Spelman College and the Westminster Schools in Atlanta. And, in 2010, she was named one of FORTUNE magazine's "50 Most Powerful Women."

Walmart's eastern business unit headquartered in Atlanta will manage stores in the following states:

* Florida
* Georgia
* Alabama
* South Carolina
* North Carolina
* Virginia
* West Virginia
* Ohio
* Michigan
* Maryland
* Delaware
* New Jersey
* Pennsylvania
* New York
* Vermont
* New Hampshire
* Massachusetts
* Connecticut
* Rhode Island
* Maine

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TOTO Launches Wholly Owned Subsidiary in Brazil

/PRNewswire/ -- TOTO, the largest plumbing manufacturer in the world with $5.1 billion dollars in annual sales, today announced the launch of its newest subsidiary, TOTO do Brasil Distribucao e Comercio Ltda, which will be overseen by its operations in the Americas, TOTO USA, Inc. TOTO's expansion into the Brazilian market is a part of the company's "Vision Plan 2017." TOTO, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in six years, has set the growth of its international operations as a primary focus for its goal to reach $7.3 billion in annual sales by its centenary. With the launch of TOTO Brazil, the company plants its flag in the South America and will increase its market share aggressively as it has done successfully in North America by creating a fast-growing demand for its products.

"Brazil is one of the world's most exciting markets today, with a population approaching 200 million people," said David Krakoff, Senior Vice-President, Sales Division, TOTO USA. Krakoff, who has been tapped to serve as President of TOTO Brazil, continued, "We recognize the tremendous growth potential and opportunity that Brazil presents, and we are pleased to bring its consumers the very best luxury plumbing products available. As TOTO has done in every market that we have entered, we will quickly establish ourselves as the leader in the premium plumbing products sector with a prestigious line that combines high design, technological innovation, unparalleled performance, and sustainability to transform the bathroom from a simple, utilitarian room to a vibrant, comfortable, luxurious area of the home or commercial installation."

The TOTO Global Group, which began in 1917 with the founding of TOTO, Ltd., in Kitakyushu, Japan, has produced more than 60 million plumbing fixtures to date. Today, this international company maintains 23,500 employees in 69 offices around the world and owns manufacturing facilities in Japan, Mexico, the United States, China, and Europe, with an affiliated network of more than 80 production facilities worldwide. With over 1,500 engineers on staff and three centers devoted solely to research and development, TOTO is the acknowledged global leader in product innovation, high design, and precision engineering.

Headquartered in Sao Paulo, TOTO's newest business venture is just the first step in a significant investment in the Brazilian economy, a strategy that TOTO employs throughout the world. "Investing in the local economy sets TOTO apart from other manufacturers that simply import their products," said Krakoff. "In North America, for example, TOTO is owner/operator of three major manufacturing plants and two large assembly and logistics/warehousing facilities, providing employment for more than 1,100 people." To gain market share rapidly throughout Brazil, TOTO will introduce its products to consumers by presenting them in the leading bath boutiques and showrooms, such as Sao Paulo's Armazem Design Banho e Cozinha, QuartzoBras, Vallve, and Metalbagno. TOTO will also work closely with architects, designers, contractors, developers and others who wish to distinguish their projects by offering the very best in technology, luxury, performance, and sustainability. The company's premiere in the local market will be its major presence at Brazil's leading kitchen and bath industry trade show, the Kitchen & Bath Expo, held in Sao Paulo from March 22-25, 2011.

Brazilians will be delighted to find that TOTO is introducing a line of products that will meet the aesthetic preferences specified by its design leaders and consumers. These products will utilize TOTO's cutting-edge technology and world-class precision engineering. Connecting people with water in ways that enrich the flow of their daily lives through elegant products that save water and energy with every use without sacrificing an ounce of performance is the company's stated mission. As a result, Brazilian consumers will experience the highest levels of luxury and performance in a full line of products, which includes toilets, sinks, residential faucets, showers, accessories, as well as TOTO's signature lines—Washlet and NEOREST.

Owners of Brazil's commercial establishments may look to their global peers who have selected TOTO products for their prestigious installations. On every continent in which the company does business, TOTO's technology-rich products are found in high-end hotels, luxury condominiums and apartment buildings; international and domestic airports; famous arenas, stadiums, and convention centers; hospitals, nursing homes, and trauma and rehabilitation centers; premier office buildings and world-famous museums; prestigious schools and universities; and chic restaurants and retail centers.

"We trust that TOTO will add a new dimension to the luxury plumbing sector and significantly influence bath design in the local market," concluded Krakoff. "We are confident that we have the global market experience and expertise to make this new subsidiary very profitable for TOTO and its Brazilian partners."

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Aflac Japan Corporate Offices Fully Operational, Employees Sustained No Injuries, Expected Impact on Japan Sales Minimal; Aflac Incorporated Affirms 2011 Operating EPS Target

/PRNewswire/ -- Aflac Incorporated today announced that its operations in Japan are up and running and ready to assist policyholders following the recent earthquake in the Tohoku area, which includes the cities of Sendai and Minami Sanriku. Aflac Japan's main offices, including the corporate offices in Tokyo and operational centers in both Tokyo and Osaka, are undamaged and fully functional.

Aflac Japan's employees are safe, and the company continues to reach out to their independent sales force to assess their needs. The Aflac leadership teams from both the U.S. and Japan remain in close contact.

While the hardest-hit areas were Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, less than 5% of Aflac Japan's new sales and in-force premiums are derived from these prefectures. Only two of Aflac Japan's 82 sales offices have been negatively impacted; these two offices, located in a single building in Sendai, have minimal damage, but will be closed temporarily due to power outages.

About this natural disaster, Aflac Japan President and Chief Operating Officer Tohru Tonoike commented: "First and foremost, our thoughts go out to all those affected here in Japan. We are very grateful none of our employees were injured. We are working with our sales force to ensure that we provide them with assistance and help them take care of our customers. We remain ready to respond to the needs of our policyholders by paying claims swiftly, and will prioritize our response to those in the affected areas. We successfully executed our disaster preparedness plan and as a result, our operations stand ready to serve our policyholders and claimants."

Aflac Incorporated Chairman and CEO Daniel P. Amos added: "In addition to sending our thoughts and prayers to each and every Japanese citizen, we want all of our Aflac Japan employees, sales agents and policyholders to know that your Aflac family here in the U.S. sends our support in every way possible. On Friday, we made an initial donation of 100 million yen to the International Red Cross to help with the start of the relief effort. Additionally, funds have been established by both our U.S. and Japanese employees and sales forces for our friends in Japan, including fellow employees and sales associates that have been most impacted by the disaster. Most importantly, we want our policyholders to know that we are here to deliver on our promise – we will be there when they need us most. Having operated in Japan for almost four decades, we know Japanese citizens are incredibly resilient and we want to help in any way possible as they work through this difficult time.

"As we look to the remainder of 2011, we expect Aflac Japan sales will only be minimally impacted by these events. Our earnings guidance for the year remains unchanged: we will likely be at the low end of the 8% to 12% range for operating earnings per diluted share growth in 2011, excluding the impact of currency."


The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a "safe harbor" to encourage companies to provide prospective information, so long as those informational statements are identified as forward-looking and are accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements. We desire to take advantage of these provisions. This document contains cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected herein, and in any other statements made by Company officials in communications with the financial community and contained in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Forward-looking statements are not based on historical information and relate to future operations, strategies, financial results or other developments. Furthermore, forward-looking information is subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties. In particular, statements containing words such as "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "goal," "objective," "may," "should," "estimate," "intends," "projects," "will," "assumes," "potential," "target" or similar words as well as specific projections of future results, generally qualify as forward-looking. Aflac undertakes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements. We caution readers that the following factors, in addition to other factors mentioned from time to time, could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements: difficult conditions in global capital markets and the economy; governmental actions for the purpose of stabilizing the financial markets; defaults and downgrades in certain securities in our investment portfolio; impairment of financial institutions; credit and other risks associated with Aflac's investment in perpetual securities; differing judgments applied to investment valuations; subjective determinations of amount of impairments taken on our investments; limited availability of acceptable yen-denominated investments; concentration of our investments in any particular sector; concentration of business in Japan; ongoing changes in our industry; exposure to significant financial and capital markets risk; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; significant changes in investment yield rates; deviations in actual experience from pricing and reserving assumptions; subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends to Aflac Incorporated (the Parent Company); changes in law or regulation by governmental authorities; ability to attract and retain qualified sales associates and employees; decreases in our financial strength or debt ratings; ability to continue to develop and implement improvements in information technology systems; changes in U.S. and/or Japanese accounting standards; failure to comply with restrictions on patient privacy and information security; level and outcome of litigation; ability to effectively manage key executive succession; catastrophic events; and failure of internal controls or corporate governance policies and procedures. 

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Franchise Event Southeast Expo in Atlanta is this weekend March 12th & 13th 2011

/PRNewswire/ -- The Franchise Event Southeast Expo is designed to connect you with top franchise, licensing and business opportunities from all over the United States in one location in Atlanta.


When: Saturday March 12th 2011 Noon – 6:00 PM & Sunday March 13th 2011 Noon – 5:00 PM

Where: North Atlanta Trade Center - 1700 Jeurgens Court Norcross, GA 30093

Cost: $10 at the door – If you order online now at: and use Promo Code: "CHA" you will get half price tickets plus we will donate half to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta .

Meet face to face and speak directly to industry professionals to learn about their exciting offerings and see if it is a fit for you and your goals as an entrepreneur such as:

All at Home, Avion Energy, Barton's Laundry, Beef Jerky Outlet, Beef O' Brady's Brewster's Chicken, Buff & Coat Hardwood Floor Renewal, Carla's Sandwiches & Burgers, CMT Mentors, Cresco Montessori Schools, DePalma's Italian Cafe, Dickey's BBQ, EMT USA (Non Emergency Medical Transport), Fantastic Sam's, Franchise Gator, Frannet of Atlanta, Gentle Rain Marketing, Great American Cookie Co, Griffin Waste Management, Home Video Studio, Ikor (Senior & Disabled Patient Advocacy), Italian Joe's, Jantize America, Lenny's Subs, Maggie Moo's, Marble Slab, Novus Glass, Papa-N-Son's, Pretzel Maker, Quickie Coupons, Scoop Wizards, Shoebox NY, Send Out Cards, Southern Automatic, Sportclips, The Athletes Foot, Tranquility Coffee &Tea House, WIN Home Inspection, World Market Express Convenience Stores, Wow Cafe & Wingery and more…

You can also attend one or all of our four great seminars included this Saturday & Sunday:

* How to Avoid Franchise Failure
* The 7 Stages of Small Business Success "From Startup to Seven Figures in Three years or Less"
* How to Market your Franchise
* Creative Funding - With and Without Loan Payments

So if you ever wanted to be your own boss, you are already a seasoned franchise owner or anywhere in-between... plan now to spend March 12th and 13th 2011 with us at The Franchise Event Southeast Expo.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Lockheed Martin Urges IAM Employees to Vote in Favor of New Contract

/PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has urged employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) to vote in favor of a new three-year contract Sunday.

Company and union negotiators failed to reach tentative agreements in three separate sets of contract negotiations that concluded March 3 in Point Clear, Ala. The proposed agreements would cover the nearly 6,000 IAM represented employees at Marietta, Ga.; Palmdale and Sunnyvale, Calif.; and several field locations.

"We are disappointed that the union bargaining committees rejected what we feel is an industry leading offer that would provide substantial wage and benefit improvements over the life of the contract and maintain Lockheed Martin's ability to deliver affordable solutions to our customers in an increasingly challenging budget environment," said Greg Karol, corporate vice president of labor relations. "This is a fair and equitable offer and we strongly encourage the union membership to review the proposed agreement and vote in favor of ratifying the new contract."

The Company's Best and Final Offer includes a competitive wage package that provides guaranteed pay increases over the next three years through a combination of three general wage increases totaling 8.5 percent over three years, a $2,500 ratification bonus and continuation of the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) formula and supplements.

Current employees to retain industry-leading pension with substantial increase:

Current represented employees, hired before March 6, 2011, will maintain their defined benefit pension plan with an increase of $11 to $88 per-month, per-year of service, representing a 14% increase in their pension. Current employees will also continue to accrue service under this plan as they have under prior agreements.

Employees hired on or after March 7, 2011, receive new retirement plan:

New hires and rehires as of March 7, 2011 will be able to save for retirement with a new plan: the Hourly Capital Accumulation Plan (HCAP) with a guaranteed quarterly company contribution of $350 for their retirement. Employees eligible for HCAP are immediately vested in the plan, which has multiple investment options and is portable if employees leave the Company.

Lockheed Martin must remain competitive in increasingly challenging marketplace:

The transition to an Hourly Capital Accumulation Plan for new hires is an important step Lockheed Martin is taking to remain competitive in our industry. The vast majority of companies, including many of Lockheed Martin's competitors, do not offer defined benefit pension plans. The Corporation is taking action to position itself for the future with similar changes for newly hired and rehired employees while maintaining and improving the defined benefit pension for current employees.

Represented employees urged to exercise right to vote on new contract:

The proposals now go to the union memberships for consideration and are scheduled for votes on Sunday, March 6, 2011. Employees are urged to carefully review this information to have a full understanding of the facts of this offer before voting on Sunday.

"Lockheed Martin has had a long-standing partnership with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers," Karol said. "We value all the success we've had together and will continue working to strengthen that relationship while ensuring Lockheed Martin remains competitive. That means more jobs well into the future. We urge all IAM employees covered under these agreements to exercise their rights to vote on Sunday."

Find information about the proposed agreement at

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 132,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion.

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