Afternoon Coffee: Pre-Mexican Tariffs Border Rush; The Day the iMusic Died; Contingent Workforce & Services Hot List

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The Trump administration has vowed to slap a 5% tariff on goods from Mexico starting June 10 as an oblique bargaining chip on the immigration front, and it’s already creating supply chain headaches.

“Logistics and trucking companies say big shippers already are trying to figure out how to rush goods from Mexico into the U.S., an acceleration that could strain a congested border region marked by tight trucking and warehouse capacity,” according to today’s Wall Street Journal Logistics report.

McCormick may source vanilla from Indonesia

After saffron, vanilla is the most expensive spice in the world. Its wholesale price has risen almost 500% in less than five years, partly because of growing global demand for healthy, natural ingredients, but also because of issues like cyclones or droughts disrupting cultivation in the African nation of Madagascar. The latter grows about 80% of the world’s vanilla.

Now, American food giant McCormick, in order to circumvent the problem, is looking to Indonesia as a possible solution to the industry’s supply problem.

Spend Matters’ Contingent Workforce & Services Hot List out today

Spend Matters CW/S Research Director Andrew Karpie brings readers the lowdown on what’s hot (and what’s not) in the June 2019 edition of the CW/S Insider’s Hot List (paywall).

Among the nuggets of note: online work/services platforms are capitalizing like crazy, on-demand staffing in the hospitality/events segment is heating up, and the worker classification world war rages on.

Many ways in which AI can transform the supply chain

According to a recent joint survey by JDA Software and KPMG on supply-chain technology, in order to attain end-to-end visibility, AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning (ML) and cognitive analytics will be critical.

“The self-learning supply chain marks the next major frontier of supply chain innovation,” Dr. Michael Feindt, a physicist and expert mathematician, is quoted as saying. “It's a futuristic vision of a world in which supply chain systems, infused with AI and machine learning, can analyze existing strategies and data to learn what factors lead to failures. Because of recent advancements in technology, the autonomous supply chain is no longer ‘blue-sky thinking.’”

Survey shows 80% of major tuna brands clueless about who caught the fish

A survey by a human rights group has shown that around 80% of the world’s biggest canned tuna brands were unaware of the origin of the fish, according to Reuters. This could potentially put workers in this industry at risk of exploitation, it added.

“Of 35 tuna companies and supermarkets surveyed by the UK-based Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), only 20% detailed their supply chains in the Pacific region, which provides 60% of the world’s tuna, according to the World Bank,” Reuters cited. American chains Walmart and Costco were among 15 companies that failed to respond to the survey conducted by BHRRC.

Apple Inc. announces the end of iTunes

“The company is launching a trio of new apps for the Mac – Music, TV, and Podcasts – to replace iTunes,” reports Bloomberg.

End of an era. Sad.

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