Afternoon Coffee: European Union files antitrust suit against Amazon; Procurement Advisors rebrands as Procure Analytics; Ball Corporation reconfigures supply of aluminum cans

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The European Union filed antitrust charges against Amazon on Tuesday, while accusing the e-commerce behemoth of using its access to data to gain unfair advantages over merchants using its platform, according to the Associated Press.

The EU’s Executive Commission, the bloc’s antitrust enforcer, issued charges after a two-year investigation into the company. The EU also opened a second investigation into whether Amazon favors products and merchants that use its own logistics and delivery system, the article said.

This is the latest effort of Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, the EU commissioner in charge of competition, to curb the power of big technology companies. She also hit Google with antitrust fines totaling nearly $10 billion and opened twin antitrust investigations into Apple. The United States has also taken a tougher stance against big tech, suing Google for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising, the article reported.

Amazon rejected the EU’s accusations that the company distorts competition.

“We disagree with the preliminary assertions of the European Commission and will continue to make every effort to ensure it has an accurate understanding of the facts,” the company said in a statement.

It also added that it represents less than 1% of the global retail market and that there are bigger retailers in EU countries where it operates, according to the Associated Press.

Procurement Advisors rebrands to become Procure Analytics

Procurement Advisors — a group purchasing organization focused on maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) supplies — announced Tuesday that it is rebranding in response to new investments and an expansion of its analytical offerings. The company is officially changing its name to Procure Analytics (PA) to reflect the change.

In a press release announcing the rebrand, PA said it has seen 139% year-over-year membership growth, marking more than 750 member companies, managing $1 billion of spend in 15,000+ locations across North America with a 99% retention rate. The PA platform combines members’ buying power to negotiate pricing, terms and services through its preferred supplier contracts. Members then receive fee-free implementation and ongoing services that aim to deliver continuous savings.

In addition to the rebranding announcement, PA made the following operational changes:

  • Procure Analytics’ member portal is now active.
  • Billy Medof, formerly President of Georgia-Pacific, has joined the PA team as COO, and more than a dozen data analysts and account managers have been added to the staff.

“This year’s growth in new PA members demonstrates the power of our high-service model that blends actionable reporting with an engaged team,” Suja Katarya, CEO of Procure Analytics said in the press release. “We are proud to mark this milestone with a rebrand that affirms our commitment to setting the standard for our industry.”

Ball Corporation reconfigures supply base of aluminum for can manufacturing

Ball Corp. — the glass jar company and a giant in the aluminum can production industry — said it will begin importing aluminum cans from Southeast Asia, South Korea, Africa and Central America as it tries to keep up with manufacturing capacity in North America, according to Supply Chain Dive.

Current production capacity within North America, including third-party partners, is maxed out. (Ball also plans to build a can-making plant next year.)

Ball’s COO of global beverage packaging Daniel Fisher said the company will focus on using data to fine-tune existing operations while squeezing every can possible out of its supply chain. Demand for aluminum cans has been extremely high this year as consumers spend more time at home during the COVID-19 disruption, the article said. It has led to companies not being able to meet the demand in their supply.

"I think we've gone to much deeper statistical models on how to run our [maintenance and repair]," Fisher told Supply Chain Dive. "So, we're actually hoping to pick up a day or two in terms of less downtime heading into next year. ... We're just going to continue to run all out."

Our sister site, MetalMiner, breaks down the price of aluminum to let you know when to buy.

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