Afternoon Coffee: Stocks rally as Fed chair hints at interest rate cut; McDonald’s supply chain lauded; Fluxym grows

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Stocks rallied as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified to Congress on Wednesday about challenges that the U.S. economy faces, increasing the expectation that the central bank will cut interest rates later this month, according to NPR. In the prepared testimony for the House Financial Services Committee, Powell said “it appears that uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook. … Inflation pressures remain muted.” Powell said the U.S. economy is continuing to grow, though at a slower pace. According to NPR, he cautioned that business investment has slowed.

McDonald’s supply-chain revamp boosts bottom line

For the first time in five years, McDonald’s announced a gain in market share a few weeks ago, much of which can be attributed to the fast-food chain’s work in updating its supply chain, Forbes said. The company sold 40 million more Quarter Pounders in Q1 than it did during the same period last year. The company’s success can be accredited to its use of fresh beef and its commitment to sourcing 100% cage-free eggs and sustainable coffee by 2025, Forbes said.

Systems integrator Fluxym grows

Fluxym, a systems integrator and reseller of source-to-pay solutions like Ivalua and Basware, announced that it grew 30% globally and had 200% growth in North America.

"We are very proud of this momentum,” Fluxym CEO Philippe de La Villardière said in a press release. “This sustainable growth is the result of our deep expertise and the close relationship we hold with our partners."

Based in France and with offices worldwide, the company plans more expansion in North America and globally. It said it is adding client services in Honduras and possibly other parts of Central America. Fluxym said its investments with solution provider Automation Anywhere and in robotic process automation (RPA) for source-to-pay are seen as a source for growth.

General Dynamics gets $2 billion deal to protect State Department supply chain

According to Next Gov, General Dynamics’ Information Technology (GDIT) division has secured a $2 billion, five-year contract to defend the State Department’s global supply

chain against “physical and technological threats.” The contract expands on a supply chain security partnership the company signed in 2012. GDIT will offer a fully integrated supply chain security solution to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Countermeasure Directorate to stay at the forefront of security developments in order to protect U.S. personnel, facilities and information.

Bumble Bee Foods, SAP see results with blockchain

According to Forbes, Bumble Bee Foods, a provider of shelf-stable seafood, has responded to consumers’ need for increased food-sourcing transparency by partnering with SAP and stamping blockchain-derived QR codes on produce, allowing consumers to scan packaging in-store to assure the produce reaches expected standards. Tony Costa, senior vice president and CIO, said Bumble Bee has received “overwhelming positive feedback from the industry and retailers.” According to Forbes, blockchain is a powerful tool within supply chain because its use of encryption and distributed computing technology comes close to being tamper-proof. Due to its success, Bumble Bee Foods plans to expand this project to its frozen goods business, Anova.

Apple launches app development program in China

As sales slow in China, Apple Inc. has initiated a program in Shanghai to promote its services business in critical overseas markets, Reuters reports. Over 2.5 million developers from the China region will attend lectures, workshops and networking sessions to learn about app development, as the business generates revenue from success in apps, media and other software. In an effort to raise sales, Apple has also lowered the prices of its products in China. This all occurs during a pressing time when Apple is caught in a trade war between Washington and Beijing, and Apple may be moving some production out of China, Reuters said.

USDA to amend bio-based products designating guidelines

A final rule published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)

Office of Procurement and Property Management said it will amend the guidelines for designating bio-based products for federal procurement. This has been done to include 30 sections designating the product categories within which bio-based products would get procurement preference by federal agencies and their contractors.

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