General News Content

Afternoon Coffee: Google to Invest $550M in, Nestlé and XPO to Build ‘Digital Warehouse’

Google plans to invest $550 million in, a move that will support Google’s expansion in Asian markets and make it more competitive against rivals like Amazon and Alibaba. And Nestlé and XPO Logistics will partner on building a $74.5-million futuristic warehouse in Leicestershire, complete with flying drones and robotic arms. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Afternoon Coffee: China Announces Retaliatory Tariffs, Iowa’s Soybean Farmers May Lose Up to $624M

Another day, another step closer to a U.S.-China trade war. The Wall Street Journal reports that China has announced retaliatory tariffs “by targeting high-value American exports—including farm products, cars and crude oil.” On Friday, the Trump administration had announced that it would impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese products. In a tit-for-tat move, China will impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion in U.S. goods. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

SRM Provider Kodiak Rating to Develop Blockchain to Improve Supply Chain Transparency


The Stockholm-based supplier relationship management provider Kodiak Rating announced that it will apply blockchain technology to improve supply chain transparency and traceability and to better manage supplier risk. Research and development will be supported by a 800,000 SEK grant (approximately $92,000) that was recently awarded to Kodiak Rating by Vinnova, a federal agency under Sweden’s Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation.

Afternoon Coffee: U.S.-China Trade War Escalates; Adents, Microsoft Introduce Blockchain-Based Supply Chain Solution

The Trump administration announced today that it will impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products, the New York Times reports, and Beijing plans to hit back with tariffs of its own. Microsoft partnered with Adents on a blockchain-based supply chain solution, Adents NovaTrack, that will offer end-to-end visibility and traceability. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Commodities Roundup: Base Metals Prices Rise in May, Rio Tinto-Minmetals Joint Venture

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week, we discuss rising base metals prices, the Rio Tinto - Minmetals joint venture and more.

Another Unexpected Turn of Events for Cotton

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Verity Michie, market analyst at Mintec.

The U.S. cotton crop has been the root of much surprise throughout the current 2017-18 season, with prices rising over 35% in the past eight months. We covered the first increase at the beginning of the year, where prices unexpectedly shot up, following a rise in demand. We concluded that prices may stay at high levels; however, in mid-May, there was another unexpected acceleration.

Afternoon Coffee: Aquiire Receives E-Procurement Patent, Redwood Software Announces RPA as a Service

Aquiire, an e-procurement and supplier relationship management solution provider, announced in a press release this morning that it has received a patent for “methods and systems for integrating procurement systems with electronic catalogs.” And in a press release from yesterday, Redwood Software announced that it has developed the industry’s first robotic processing automation solution as a service. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest news in supply chain and procurement.

Afternoon Coffee: Tech Companies Eye Taiwan Amid U.S.-China Tensions, IEA Warns of Oil Supply Gap

Taiwan stands to benefit from flaring tensions between the U.S. and China, as U.S. technology companies consider the country as an alternative hub for production and research. The International Energy Agency said Wednesday that sanctions and economic upheaval could create a 30% oil supply gap. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

Why E-Commerce Trends Necessitate the Adoption of Automation and Analytics Tools in the Retail Industry

In November 2017, the popular online retailer ASOS introduced a new “try before you buy” service. The scheme, as the name suggests, allows customers to order multiple items — say, the same shirt in different sizes, or different items altogether — and try them on. Then customers can return the items they do not want, and ASOS charges only for the items they keep. This flexibility may be helping e-commerce businesses win market share, but for many retailers, the inevitable flood of returns make for a growing risk, a report from Brightpearl finds.

Afternoon Coffee: Mars Moves to Improve Vanilla Supply Chain, OPEC Eyes Production Increase

Mars has dispatched a team to help restore vanilla production in Madagascar, the world’s largest exporter of the ingredient. Rallying oil prices will likely persuade OPEC members to agree to a production increase, ending the supply curbs that began 18 months ago. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

Cognitive Sourcing Provider LevaData Completes $12 Million Series B


LevaData announced Tuesday it had completed a $12 million Series B financing round, led by Tola Capital. The sourcing technology provider plans to use the funding to deepen the capability of its platform, further innovations in engineering and data science, and expand into new industry verticals, according to a press release. Since 2014, LevaData has raised close to $20 million in venture capital, including $5 million in August of last year from its Series A round, also led by Tola Capital. 

Afternoon Coffee: BLS Releases Contingent Workforce Supplement, Foxconn Investigating Labor Conditions at Amazon-Contracted Plant

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released Thursday its long-awaited 2017 Contingent Workforce Supplement, which has not been published since 2005. Foxconn is investigating a plant in China that makes Amazon Echo dots and Kindle e-readers for accusations of harsh working conditions. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.