Afternoon Coffee: Mastercard Track bolsters P2P muscle by adding payments features; Upwork, Workforce Logiq do a gig together

AdobeStock/Ivan Kruk

Spend Matters reported today that Mastercard Track has added payments tools to its offering, with a product called Business Payment Service, with which it intends to penetrate the procure-to-pay space even further.

“Automation of accounts payable and facilitating payments are hot topics in P2P, and Spend Matters’ analysts have been covering the issues with our PRO subscription series defining AP automation and an in-depth look at Mastercard Track, introducing its capabilities and analyzing its potential to disrupt the market,” as Spend Matters Editor JP Morris puts it in the article.

Upwork and Workforce Logiq to Provide Online Freelancing to Businesses

Upwork, the largest global freelancing platform in terms of spend, and Workforce Logiq, a leading workforce management solution company, have announced an exclusive partnership that will create a new channel for enterprises to access online freelance talent. This is the first partnership between Upwork and an established provider of MSP and other workforce solutions/services (such as contractor sourcing, compliance and payrolling services). Workforce Logiq handles about $3 billion of client hiring spend annually, according to the announcement, while public records show that Upwork handles roughly $2 billion.

The announcement portrays the companies as embarking on a win/win partnership that “makes it easy for Workforce Logiq clients to discover, source, and deploy freelance talent through its Managed Service Provider (MSP) program,” while providing Upwork’s online freelancers new work opportunities. Clients will have the best of both worlds, capitalizing on the “flexibility, reach, and competitive pricing of a freelance talent solution,” while enjoying “the power, control and management of an MSP – including an integrated Independent Contractor compliance workflow and Employer of Record payroll option to avoid worker misclassification risk.”

Upwork online freelancers can be sourced and engaged “through Workforce Logiq’s existing supplier workflows in its MSP offering,” the announcement adds. And integration provides “clients with seamless access to a new recruiting channel that is backed by the company’s expert advisors and proven technology.” We are expecting further details about integration and processes, which will be covered, along with other facets, in a future Spend Matters brief.

As noted above, this is a first of its kind partnership for Upwork and Workforce Logiq, and it may be the first formal announcement of an integration partnership between an online freelancer marketplace and an established MSP/contractor solution provider. But the partnership fits into the context of a contingent workforce ecosystem where, over the past 10+ years, established supply chain models and innovative digital platform models have been co-existing more or less separately. However, in the past several years, signs of convergence have been appearing. Consequently, the development of the partnership will be closely watched by members of the contingent workforce ecosystem and the investment community.

For more on this subject, see our multi-part series, “The Digital Evolution of the Contingent Workforce Supply Chain.”

In other Friday procurement and supply chain news:

Honda selects Kinaxis for auto supply chain planning

Kinaxis today announced that it had been chosen by Honda to streamline its supply chain planning and response processes for its automobile business in Japan. The Japanese automaker will use Kinaxis RapidResponse to provide visibility into its supply chain planning, including S&OP, capacity planning and inventory management.

After split from Gap, Old Navy sets up new goals

Old Navy has just announced some major #squadgoals. It will open 800 new locations as part of its upcoming split from parent company the Gap, and wants to double its stores to 2,000 in North America.

USA Today reported that company officials discussed the plans Thursday during a Gap Investor Day event in New York. Old Navy CEO Sonia Syngal said the company intends to double its store fleet “predominantly in under-served small markets,” as quoted by the still-colorful paper. The first Old Navy store opened in 1994 in Colma, California, and as of February, the 25-year-old company had about 1,140 stores.

Trucking industry is alarmed by new gig economy bill

Trucking companies fear the new California gig economy bill will lead to a hike in shipping costs besides upending operations in the state, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to Greg Feary, president and managing partner of transportation law firm Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, raising the bar for using contract drivers “takes some of the nimble reaction to the freight market away from the trucking industry, [especially] in California where you have large port operations with a lot of freight coming in, and large volumes around Christmas,” as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Upwork handles roughly $3 billion in client hiring spend. That number is actually $2 billion.

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