Afternoon Coffee: For ‘Buy American’ campaign, Biden targets federal procurement; SAP Concur adds 2 partner solutions; Tradeshift data shows supply chain recovery, but sluggish UK

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President Joe Biden is set to sign an executive order on Monday imposing tougher restrictions on government procurement practices in an effort to increase purchases of American products, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The move is one step toward fulfilling the Buy American campaign to focus on strengthening domestic manufacturing. The policies include tightening government procurement rules to accomplish three goals: making it more difficult for federal agencies to purchase imported products, revising the definition of American-made products and raising local-content rules.

The executive order includes provisions to give small and mid-size businesses better access to information to bid for government contracts, the article said. One of Biden’s senior officials said a goal of the Buy American policy is to strengthen the US supply chain after the Covid-19 disruption revealed weaknesses in the system.

“We remain very committed to working with partners and allies to modernize international trade rules to make sure that we can use our taxpayer dollars to stir investments in our own countries and strengthen supply chains,” the official told the WSJ.

Another goal is to avoid reliance on other countries that don’t share the same interests, the official said.

SAP Concur expands two of its solutions

SAP Concur announced on Monday that two of its solutions have extensions, delivered through the SAP Concur partner ecosystem — Concur Tax Assurance by VATBox and Concur Detect by Oversight. The expansions will help finance teams deal with different pressures.

In a press release announcing the extensions, SAP Concur said that the VATBox partnership helps organizations comply with global tax regulations by confirming data integrity and offering collection and enhancement tools to increase reclaim potential. The dynamic financial platform uses AI algorithms embedded with tax knowledge that digitizes compliance process and maximizes recovery.

Meanwhile, the Concur Detect by Oversight solution brings Oversight’s spend management and risk mitigation expertise with SAP Concur data and technology. It aims to simplify an organization’s expense audit and compliance program with embedded intelligence and automation.

SAP said Concur Detect "analyzes expenses both before and after payment to mitigate immediate risks, spot suspicious spend patterns across time and prioritize risk to drive greater audit efficiency."

SAP cited other reasons for this technology. "Manual processes and the lack of business context needed to make decisions about financial transactions make approving expense reports with accuracy an almost impossible task," the press release said.

Tradeshift's Index of Global Trade Health shows supply chain recovery, but balky UK

New data from Tradeshift in its Index of Global Trade Health points to recovery in global supply chain activity despite the Covid-19 disruption. The data showed that quarterly growth rates in Q4 exceeded pre-pandemic levels by 14%, according to a press release.

Tradeshift analyzed digitized invoicing and ordering data that suggests a particularly strong end to the year in the US and other regions. Although much of the data was positive, it was also found that UK recovery is losing ground as transaction volumes in the region grew just 7% quarter over quarter but remained below pre-pandemic levels.

“Modern supply chains are built like high-performance vehicles,” Christian Lanng, CEO of Tradeshift, said in the press release. “Asking them to navigate the kind of unpredictable environment we saw in 2020 is the equivalent of driving a Formula One car over a series of speed bumps. Conditions are certainly improving, but supply chains are bearing the scars from such a prolonged period of volatility.”

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