Afternoon Coffee: What procurement practitioners are saying in latest ISM PMI report; Amazon testing hand-ID for Whole Foods

By now you’ve read the news that the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported the latest PMI reading for August of 49.1, a decrease of slightly more than 2% over last month’s reading, but most notably the first time in nearly three years that the reading indicated contraction (under 50). But aside from the cacophony of market analysts weighing in with their hot takes, let’s briefly focus on what some procurement and supply chain practitioners are telling ISM.

"Incoming sales seem to be slowing down and this is usually our busiest season,” said a respondent in the furniture industry. “[We have] concerns about the economy and tariffs.”

"Current business is OK, nothing to brag about,” said a member of the plastics & rubber products industry. Business overall remains “under projections and slightly below last year, [but] margins are hanging in there."

One respondent in the chemical products industry continues looking ahead. "While business is strong, there is an undercurrent of fear and alarm regarding the trade wars and a potential recession," they told ISM.

Report on communication technologies submitted

The National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee has presented its formal report to the Department of Homeland Security, after a year-long inquiry into how to secure information and communications technology (ICT).

The report to the President on Advancing Resiliency and Fostering Innovation in the ICT Ecosystem is a companion study to the committee's "Cybersecurity Moonshot" effort to secure the nation's critical infrastructure and national security in the face of advancing cyber threats.

U.S. exit from global postal union could see parcel rates soaring

USPS is all set to exit the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on Oct. 17, excluding a last-minute intervention. The move will bring 144 years of U.S. involvement in the international body to an end. Members of the 192-member United Nations body will gather later in September in Switzerland in only the third “extraordinary Congress” in UPU history. The U.S. State Department, lead negotiator for the U.S., has given a proposal that would allow the country to “self-declare” international postage pricing and to decide on subsidy levels, if any. Unless the UP agrees to this, the U.S will leave the union in 2020.

Hybrid trucks being introduced by UPS

TechCrunch reports that 15 vehicles will be joining the U.K. fleet of UPS. These offer extended driving range versus traditional EVs. They are also capable of operating in fully electric mode when required to do so, as in emission-free zones and dense city cores.

Amazon tests payment system that uses hands as ID

E-commerce giant Amazon's team of engineers have been testing how to use an individual human hand to ring up a store purchase, with the goal of rolling them out at its Whole Foods supermarket chain in the coming months, according to the New York Post.

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