Afternoon Coffee: ISM PMI Rises; Vroozi Tabs New CEO; Basware Adds New Machine Learning-Enabled Capability

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ISM released its PMI for March, which hit 55.3%, a 1.1% increase over February’s level at 54.2%. This is the 119th consecutive month of overall economic growth, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries tracked by the report, 16 of them reported growth in March. New orders, production and employment are all growing, according to the report, while supplier deliveries are slowing at a slower rate.

Amazon opens compact distribution center in NYC

New York may be affectionately known as the Big Apple, but Amazon and trying to go small in the major city.

In the wake of canceled plans for Amazon’s “HQ2” in NYC, the retail giant has just opened a brand new 855,000 square foot distribution center there to get closer to a densely populated market. The center’s size is in fact 20% smaller than Amazon’s usual centers. As real estate gets more expensive and harder to come by in populated areas, companies are having to come up with new ideas to make the most out of limited space.

Amazon have incorporated robotics in a big way in their center, as well as building up rather than out to utilize a smaller lot.

Basware intros new ML-enabled capability

Basware, a provider of networked source-to-pay solutions, e-invoicing and financing services, recently announced the addition of “a machine learning-enabled, predictive capability to its procurement technology: the Approval Confidence Index (ACI),” according to a release.

“The ACI is a score assigned to every item on a requisition that provides feedback to both the requisitioner and the approver about the probability, or confidence, of that requisition item being approved,” the release stated.

Vroozi gets a new boss

P2P suite provider Vroozi just announced Joseph Fox as the company’s new CEO.

Fox previously served as BirchStreet’s chief strategy officer, and as SAP Ariba’s VP of business development and strategy before that.

Under his leadership, Vroozi hopes to expand their “modern and mobile buying platform through new cloud innovation for business buyers, suppliers and supply chain parties,” according to the release.

Trucking association asks carriers to pay drivers for dwell time

More than 100 different motor carriers have received letters from The Virginia Port Truckers Association asking them to pay drivers for dwell time. They believe that independent contractors should be paid $60 per hour when detention times exceed the hour mark. Some expect dwell time to increase this summer during the busy freight season.

The letter read: "The loss of potential wages due to congestion leaves truckers struggling to feed their families and pay their bills. This is unsustainable."

Drone-delivered coffee a reality in Iceland

Drone delivery is still in its infancy in 2019, with a number of teething problems still to iron out, as well as complicated flight laws to navigate. However, the lucky residents of Iceland’s capital Reykjavik now have the chance to order drone-delivered coffee straight to their door.

Food delivery company Aha is one of the first in the world to operate a drone commercial transport operation, and it may not be long before more follow.

Kellogg’s sells snack brands to Ferrero

And in local (at least to Spend Matters’ Chicago HQ) news, U.S. cereal giant Kellogg’s announced its divestment of snack brands to Nutella maker Ferrero for $1.3 billion.

The purchased business will be run out of Chicago, including two manufacturing plants that are part of the deal, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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