General News Content

Base Oils Up for the First Time Since 2010


Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Verity Michie, market analyst at Mintec.

Using a vehicle day in, day out can sometimes be taken for granted, but do we actually understand the ins and outs of them? When thinking about the cost of running a vehicle, we tend to think of fuel, tyres and servicing, but we are less likely to think of metal processing fluids and lubricating greases; nevertheless, they are important. These fluids and greases are made from base oils, which are derived as by-products of refining crude oil. Did you know that something as crucial as engine oil for your car is made from around 80%–85% of base oil?

Afternoon Coffee: US Economy Shows Several Signs of Continued Growth, A Neural Network for Rap

A column in the New York Times earlier this week laid out an uplifting picture of the U.S. economy. A high schooler created a machine learning system that can autogenerate new rap songs. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

Digital Strategy and Talent Gaps: Insights from Deloitte’s 2017 CPO Survey

digital business transformation

Preparing for disruptive technologies and closing the talent gap are on many CPOs’ minds, as findings from Deloitte’s 2017 CPO Survey show. Among procurement executives, 75% of respondents in this year’s CPO Survey said that procurement’s role in delivering digital strategy will increase in the future. Talent shortages are also a big concern, with 60% of respondents saying that they do not think their teams have the skills necessary for their procurement strategy.

Afternoon Coffee: Wal-Mart Tears Down Wall Between In-Store and Online Buyers, EU Ratifies Canada Trade Deal

Wal-Mart will combine the teams it uses to buy for its physical stores and its online store, which until now have operated independently. The European Parliment ratified the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Wednesday in a move that stands to buck protectionist policies advocated by President Donald Trump. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

The Millennial CPO: How Will the New Generation Transform the Supply Chain Profession?

In one of my conversations with a “30 Under 30” winner who’s about to hit 10 years in the procurement profession, I realized the in hindsight highly obvious fact that millennials are growing up. They already make up a third of the workforce. The older among them are stepping into managerial positions. They’re hiring and mentoring younger employees. They’re giving talks at conferences and industry events. And a decade from now, they could even be CPOs.

Afternoon Coffee: Aetna-Humana Merger Called Off, Kellogg Revamps Distribution Model

Health insurers Aetna and Humana have called off their $34 billion merger, after a federal judge ruled against the deal in January. And Kellogg Co. is changing its distribution model for snack products. Instead of delivering products directly to stores, the company behind Cheez-Its and Corn Flakes will switch to a warehouse model. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

US Propylene Prices Up Over 100%


Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Rajiv Joarder, knowledge team leader at Mintec.

U.S. propylene prices are making headlines yet again, with the steepest price incease in recent years seen this January 2017. At the start of Q4 2016, we reported on propylene prices rising due to factory closures in the U.S. Five months later, prices have risen for similar reasons. But only now are we heading into the peak season for global plastic demand, while the supply situation looks like it could be even bleaker in the near future, due to upcoming factory maintainance period in the E.U. Could this be the storm buyers fear?

Afternoon Coffee: Trudeau and Trump Meet, E2open Merges with Steelwedge

We’ve been writing a lot about how the Trump administration is creating a difficult procurement situation with Mexico, but America’s neighbor to the north is in a precarious position, as well. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is meeting with President Trump in Washington Monday in what should be the first indication of the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Plus, Supply chain information network provider E2open announced Monday it would merge with Steelwedge, a company providing sales and operation (S&OP) planning software. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

Afternoon Coffee: Companies Moving Operations to Mexico Anyway, Whole Foods Sales Fall

Heed threats about moving to Mexico? Please. Companies such as Caterpillar, Nucor and Rexnord are sticking to their plans of moving operations south of the border. The Wall Street Journal reports that the moves to redraw supply chains can save the companies millions of dollars, especially now, with the peso in free fall. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in supply chain and procurement news.

The Week in Metals: What is “Buy American”?

The Army Corps of Engineers granted an easement to allow construction of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline to restart this week. The 1,172-mile project would connect oil production areas in North Dakota to a crude oil terminal near Patoka, Ill. Most of it is done, but owner Energy Transfer Partners will now have to complete the last eight miles of the protested pipeline, with American-made steel a requirement. The Week in Metals brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news from our sister site MetalMiner.

Afternoon Coffee: Surplus Grain to Affect Agricultural Supply Chain, India’s Defense Spending

A surplus of grain worldwide has led to falling prices and growing debt for farmers, and reverberations may be felt in agricultural goods supply chains. And Boeing is setting up a new unit for defense operations in India as part of efforts to win a sizeable share of the billions that the country is spending on defense weapons. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in supply chain and procurement news.

Afternoon Coffee: Blockchain in Dubai, GEP’s Procurement Outlook 2017

Procurement solutions provider GEP released its Procurement Outlook 2017, an annual report on business and economic trends and how they affect sourcing and procurement organizations. And General Motors Co.'s North American margins are threatened by the Trump administration's proposed 20% tax on imports from Mexico. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.