Afternoon Coffee: FEMA Contractors Come Under Scrutiny, Blockchain Goes Mainstream Adobe Stock

FEMA’s contractor selection process has come under scrutiny as details emerge about how the agency responded to Hurricane Maria’s damage to Puerto Rico, the New York Times reports. In one alarming case, a contractor won a $156 million job to deliver 30 million meals to Puerto Ricans but managed to deliver only 50,000.

Blockchain Rising

While Spend Matters has been covering blockchain and its potential use in supply chains since 2015, distributed ledger technology is finally getting its due with big business. As the Wall Street Journal writes, companies from Walmart to British Airways to IBM are all experimenting with blockchain in supply chain scenarios, as businesses that move products and people realize the technology’s promises of security, ease of use and, above all, accuracy.

Want to understand how blockchain works and how it can be used in procurement? Check out our brief on the topic.

Foxconn Layoffs

The rise of automation in manufacturing is sparing no one at Foxconn. As Nikkei Asian Review reports, the company’s panel arm Innolux plans to cut more than 10,000 jobs this year, increasing investment in robotics and pushing the amount of production that is automated to 75% by the end of 2018.

Canadian Imports

And finally, a trade update: Canada’s trade deficit jumped in December as imports grew faster than exports, according to Reuters. Imports unexpectedly rose by 1.5% to a record C$49.70 billion while exports strengthened by just 0.6%.

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