Afternoon Coffee: U.S. factory output falls; LevaData, IBM announce DirectSpend IQ; Science Exchange gets new funding

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U.S. factory output was down this September by the most in five months, driven by the GM strike, poor global demand and the trade war, reports Bloomberg. Manufacturing production declined 0.5% last month, weaker than the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists, Federal Reserve data showed Thursday. Factory output excluding motor vehicles and parts declined 0.2% after a 0.7% gain, according to the article.

R&D Network Innovator Gets A Funding Boost

Science Exchange, a leading SaaS-enabled marketplace, sourcing and management solution for outsourced research and development (R&D), has raised an additional $20 million in equity and debt financing, according to a recent announcement. This brings total external funding of Science Exchange to $92.5 million since its founding in 2011. The new funding, the company reported, will be used to further develop its platform and “expand its footprint in the biotech and pharmaceutical space, where it has over 100 enterprise customers.”

Science Exchange “provides scientists at enterprise R&D companies with immediate access to over 3,000 scientific service providers including top CROs, CMOs, and academic laboratories,” the press release stated. The company’s platform was created to remove barriers in the outsourcing process, providing individual scientists and R&D organizations “instant access to a network of pre-qualified service providers, as well as contracting, project management and reporting tools.”

The company states that the “Science Exchange platform increases scientists' access to innovation and improves productivity, freeing them up from the administrative tasks and delays associated with sourcing, establishing and managing service provider contracts.” It also says that its “enterprise program enables organizations to consolidate R&D outsourcing spend into a single strategic relationship, driving efficiency and cost savings.”

Spend Matters began following Science Exchange in 2018. In January 2019, the company and its partnership with Jaggaer were cited in “5 Areas for Services Procurement Professionals to Watch in 2019.” Later in the year, Science Exchange was also awarded a highly coveted berth in Spend Matters’ 2019 50-to-Watch list.

LevaData, IBM partner up to launch new sourcing & analytics solution

The two companies today announced a partnership in launching a new offering called DirectSpend IQ, which “brings together IBM's expert managed services with LevaData’s Cognitive Sourcing Platform to deliver insights and recommendations for direct procurement cost savings opportunities and process transformation,” according to the press release.

“Applied AI, analytics and process automation have become essential to innovative supply chain transformation,” said IBM Chief Procurement Officer Bob Murphy, as quoted in the release. “As enterprises continue to invest in cognitive technologies to improve their agility and competitiveness, LevaData and IBM are committed to a solution that is able to adapt and learn.”

The release comes ahead of LevaData’s Cognitive Sourcing Summit, taking place next week on October 24 in San Jose, California. Spend Matters Analyst Nick Heinzmann will have boots on the ground at the summit — be sure to say hello!

Accenture buys UK-based firm Happen

Accenture has acquired the London-headquartered, privately owned innovation firm Happen, according to a release. Happen uses proprietary methods, frameworks and digital tools to help clients generate new ideas, products and services that drive business growth, according to the announcement. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Supply chain security to be investigated by 5G industry

The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) is spearheading an investigation into how to step up security for the U.S. 5G supply chain, according to Light Reading. An ATIS representative confirmed to the publication that the organization had formally launched an "initiative" to look at the supply chain for 5G products, but did not give more details, according to the article.

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