Category Archives: In The Press

Spotlight on Logistics and Transportation – The Unseen Supply Chain

Logistics and transportation services can sometimes be overlooked in the supply chain and seen as something that ‘just happens’. However the reality is that they play a vital role in the successful working of all businesses.

Logistics and transportation news

A greater focus from organisations can be critical for ensuring continuity of supply and saving time and money from disruption. However, organisations also have to contend with outside influences, as these news stories indicate.

Channel Disruption Headaches

Logistics organisations in both the UK and France are counting the increasing cost of Operation Stack after another weekend of disruption. Although cross-Channel services returned to normal yesterday, some lorries were forced to wait up to two and a half hours to cross the Channel on Saturday.

A combination of migrant activity and industrial action in Calais was to blame for the delays this weekend, making it a total of 21 days in the past 3 months that Operation stack has had to be enacted. And logistics companies are beginning to feel the pinch, with costs estimated at £750,000 per day.

James Hookham, Deputy Chief Executive of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said, “Given the value of goods lost and the subsequent cost to business, these figures show that Operation Stack is not just an issue for Kent and the south east of England but a serious national strategic problem.”

The knock-on effect of disruption to the UK economy for tourism, holidaymakers and businesses in Kent is estimated at approximately £250m per day. In order to try to mitigate further disruptions, a multi-agency meeting was held last week to discuss the issue and make recommendations to the UK Government.

US Port Report

From disruption European ports to a report on disruptions at major US ports. Earlier in the year, Procurious reported on the strikes at ports on the West Coast of America, which forced the shutdown of 29 ports and caused a flotilla of vessels to be anchored off the Californian coast.

Now, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has released a report on the future of all American ports. The report outlines the requirement for investment in the port system to ensure an “efficient and reliable international ocean transportation system and the relevant supply chain”.

With US ports becoming busier and hubs for movement of increasing volumes of international freight, the report offers an overview of the causes of potential issues, as well as solutions that could be implemented.

It is hoped that the measures will help to ease congestion and get the ports operating as smoothly as possible. Download the full report here.

Concerns over New Transportation Bill

Still in the USA and there are increasing concerns over proposed changes to the trucking industry outlined as part of a new transportation bill from the US Senate.

Amongst the proposed changes are a lower age limit for interstate drivers (from 21 to 18) and a measure preventing the public from seeing federal safety rankings for trucking companies. This comes at a time when an investigation by FOX News has shown that one company, Davis Transfer, has had vehicles involved in three fatal accidents since 2014.

There are concerns that these proposed measures would adversely impact health and safety in the trucking industry with potentially more relaxed monitoring of driver logs.

Mazda and CEVA Partnership

Finally to Australia, where Mazda Australia has awarded two new contracts to CEVA Logistics, making them their sole national provider of transportation services.

CEVA, one of the world’s leading supply chain organisations, already hold contracts for transportation to dealerships from docks and storage and processing of vehicles in New South Wales and Queensland, will add the states of Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia to their books.

Casey Fisher, MD of CEVA in Australia and New Zealand, said her organisation was delighted with the growing relationship, seeing it as “confirmation that our past performance and future plans are meeting their needs.”

Have you got any logistics or transportation headlines we have missed? Tell us about your success stories by getting involved on the Procurious website.

To round off, here are some of the other major headlines in the procurement and supply chain profession this week.

UPS said to be in talks to buy Coyote Logistics for $1.8 billion

  • United Parcel Service Inc. is in talks to buy Coyote Logistics LLC for about $1.8 billion, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
  • A deal for the Chicago-based provider of transport-management services could be reached as soon as this month, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. No agreement has been reached and discussions could still fall apart. Coyote is backed by New York-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which first invested in the company in 2007.
  • A deal between Coyote and UPS would be the third-largest logistics deal this year, as the industry goes through a wave of consolidation amid rising consumer demand. In April, FedEx Corp. agreed to buy Dutch parcel-delivery company TNT Express NV for $4.8 billion. Later that month, XPO Logistics Inc. agreed to acquire European counterpart Norbert Dentressangle SA in a deal valued at $3.53 billion including debt.
  • Representatives for Warburg Pincus and Coyote declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Atlanta-based UPS.

Read more on Internet Retailer

Supply chain professionals still not fully represented at board level

  • Almost 60 per cent of logistics professionals in FMCG feel underrepresented at senior board level. A poll by The Grocer of over 150 industry professionals at the Scala Annual Logistics Debate 2015 revealed the majority feel their function in logistics is not accurately represented within the rest of their company.
  • “Influence at this level is now needed more than ever as companies have the opportunity to make, or not make, critical decisions about how they operate their supply chains,” said Scala senior consultant Simon Eagle. “The companies that are successfully innovating in collaboration and demand driven are those in which logistics have significant ‘share of voice’ and this requires board level representation.”
  • However it would seem that the voice of those in supply chain and logistics is more audible than in recent years.“If you’d have posed that question three or four years ago, you would have had an even higher percentage,” said independent logistics consultant Paul Nixon.“I think the function is better represented today and people perceive it to be better represented. As the likes of e-commerce and business to consumer fulfilment continues to grow for many retail businesses the supply-chain and logistics efficiency and effectiveness will continue to grow in importance and representation.”

Read more at The Grocer

World Bank approves new procurement framework

  • The bank said the framework, which comes into effect in 2016, would allow it to “better respond to the needs of client countries, while preserving robust procurement standards throughout bank-supported projects”. The framework replaces the previous one-size-fits-all” procurement policy with one that is tailored to the needs of individual projects.
  • The changes will:

    • Allow contract award decisions to be based on criteria other than cost, such as quality and sustainability, for the first time.
    • Increase support to help countries develop their own procurement systems.
    • Allow the use of procurement systems from development partners or national agencies in certain circumstances.
    • Speed up the process as reviews of contracts will be limited to those with the highest risk and biggest value.

  • The bank said it would “allocate resources to provide hands-on help to fragile countries, small states or others in the greatest need to assist them in procurements financed by the bank”. The bank’s procurement system covers a portfolio worth around $42 billion (£26.9 billion), comprising more than 1,800 projects in 172 countries.
  • Hartwig Schafer, vice president for operations policy and country services at the World Bank, said: “A portfolio this size needs a modern and nimble procurement approach that gives our clients the best value for each dollar that we invest.”

Read more at Supply Management

Gibbs S3 officially certified as an EMB (Ethnic Minority Controlled Business)

  • Gibbs S3 has become the only corporate-level business to be officially certified as an EMB (Ethnic Minority Controlled Business) by MSDUK, the country’s leading non-profit membership organisation driving inclusive procurement.

  • The certification comes as Gibbs S3 celebrates record growth in its 10th year of business, with revenue growing 38 per cent to reach £41.58m, and on track to hit £46m this year. The company has also previously been certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) by WEConnect, the leading global supplier diversity initiative connecting women-owned businesses with multinational corporations.

  • Minority-owned businesses have established a clear track record in providing stronger value to their customers. Companies with established supplier diversity programmes that include SMEs and EMBs generate 133 per cent better return on their buying operations, according to research from leading strategic consultant The Hackett Group. Companies working with smaller and more diverse suppliers were also found to spend 20 per cent less on their buying operations and secure significantly greater value.

The Rise And Rise of Amazon Continues – Now Bigger Than Walmart

It looks like Amazon’s ballsy initiatives have paid off after all… as the online retailer announces earnings surge.

Amazon's earnings skyrocket making it bigger than Walmart

Amazon has announced a whopping 20 per cent uplift in second quarter sales.

News outlets are reporting that the jump means Amazon was valued as high as $267bn (£172bn), that eclipses Walmart’s market value by $32bn (£21bn) – making it the most valuable retailer in the United States.

It’s been a busy twelve months for the online retailer as Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com reveals:

“We unveiled Amazon Business, opened Amazon Mexico, launched Prime free same-day, rolled out our ninth Prime Now city, broke our Black Friday record with the first-ever Prime Day, received 11 Emmy nominations for Transparent, debuted six new kids pilots, brought Echo to general availability, introduced the Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service, opened FBA Small and Light, continued to double down on our fastest growing geography — India, launched 350 significant AWS features and services so far this year (ahead of last year’s pace), introduced AWS Educate, and entered into agreements for new solar and wind farms — enough to exceed our 2016 goal of 40 per cent renewable energy.”

In the past few days Amazon also announced it had sold more units on Prime Day than the biggest Black Friday ever. It saw more new members try Prime worldwide than any single day in Amazon history, with customers placing orders of 34.4 million items across Prime-eligible countries. Prime Day was also a great savings day – members globally saved millions on deals. Customers ordered hundreds of thousands of Amazon devices – making it the largest device sales day ever worldwide.

Prime Day could become an annual event

Despite commentators on social media critically panning the initiative, Amazon Prime Day was heralded as a “a huge success” by Greg Greeley, Vice President, Amazon Prime. “Customers worldwide ordered an astonishing 398 items per second and saved millions on Prime Day deals. Worldwide order growth increased 266 per cent over the same day last year and 18 per cent more than Black Friday 2014 – all in an event exclusively available to Prime members. Going into this, we weren’t sure whether Prime Day would be a one-time thing or if it would become an annual event… We’ll definitely be doing this again.”

“Prime Day was a record-breaker globally – it surpassed all of our expectations,” said Alexandre Gagnon, Country Manager for Amazon.ca. “This week has been the busiest ever for Prime signups and we saw more members shopping on Amazon.ca on Prime Day than on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. We can’t wait to do it again next year.”

Amazon Prime has an estimated 44 million U.S. customers, according to a study by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, a Chicago investment-research firm. That’s up from about 41 million at the end of 2014.

But it’s not all about Prime. Taking from the call to investors, the Wall Street Journal observes: “Amazon showed big growth in its cloud computing division, and rising operating costs suggest that the company is still investing in building its supply chain. Amazon is building sprawling warehouses in places like Kenosha, and pushing its bid to get anything to pretty much anyone in the U.S. in two days or less.”

You can view the full earnings call over at the Amazon Investor Centre.

3D Printing – The End of Outsourcing?

From golf clubs to firearms, pharmaceuticals to trainers, 3D Printing is disrupting the manufacturing process of an increasing number of products. But what are the long-term implications for the supply chain as a whole?

3D Printing - The End of Outsourcing?

It’s a common misconception that 3D printing is something new. Although the processes and thinking for it have been around for a number of years, it’s taken a while for the technology to catch up and allow wider functionality and usage.

As a procurement and supply chain professional, this opens up a world of possibilities – a world of potential cost savings as a result of lower manufacturing costs and a centralised supply chain. Of course this isn’t going to happen overnight, but organisations can start to think differently.

The End Outsourced Manufacturing?

Manufacturing in particular has the potential to see a big change. The advances in 3D Printing can allow certain products to be made in house, instead of being outsourced to ‘low cost’ countries. While good news for organisations bringing more jobs back home, it doesn’t provide a rosy outlook for countries like Mexico and China, traditionally strongholds for low-cost manufacturing.

By bringing manufacturing closer to home, it also gives organisations an opportunity to reduce risk in their logistics, reduce lead-times and make savings on transportation costs. Plus, there’s the lower carbon footprint of global activities as an added bonus. This is all illustrated in this neat infographic.

3d printing supply chain infographic

In the pharmaceutical industry, manufacturers are using 3D Printing to improve medicines delivery systems for patients. Printers are being used to produce pyramid-shaped pills, which provide a more rapid drug release than cylindrical pills, and layered tablets that dissolve quicker and more efficiently.

While these processes are still in their infancy, manufacturers are hopeful that technology and science will work hand in hand, lowering production costs, enabling local production and, in the long run, reducing the end cost for patients.

Changes in the Supply Chain

Beyond enabling organisations to bring manufacturing back to a local setting, lowering logistics and transportation risks and costs and even maybe reducing globalisation as a whole, there are other impacts in the supply chain to think about.

Organisations will be able to produce prototypes of designs much faster than before and facilitate testing by being able to print on site. Organisations will also be able to print packaging materials, more tailored to certain products, as well as tools, jigs and other aids for manufacturing.

Finally, the requirement to hold inventory can be reduced by having designs for applicable products and other parts held on a hard drive, ready to be printed on demand, rather than physically stored in a warehouse.

Beware the Magic Bullet

A word of warning, though. As great as all this sounds, there are still risks and issues that need to be considered with 3D Printing.

Protection of copyright and security of patents is a big deal when all the designs are held on a hard drive that could be hacked from outside the organisation. Some organisations have taken steps to protect their intellectual property, but can you be 100 per cent sure you’re safe from cyber attack?

On the environmental side, although footprints are lowered for transportation, the need for printers to run continuously to be cost-effective means increased energy usage and costs. This would lead also to increased carbon footprints for local factories.

Finally, with greater efficiencies in the supply chain, reduced transportation requirements and potentially fewer warehouses, where does that leave the supply chain manager? If parts are going to be printed on site as required, there isn’t going to be the need for someone to manage an end-to-end process.

Best learn how to use the printers then!

Do you work in an industry that’s seen an increase in 3D Printing? Do you work with printers – have we missed any big benefits? Let us know and get involved in the discussion! 

Meanwhile, we’ve been very good to you again this week and rounded up all the stories you need to be reading in procurement and supply chain.

Tapping into the ‘big data’ that can help Greek supply chains to be more agile

  • Supply chain platform provider GT Nexus has begun tapping into the big data that has accumulated in its system to help shippers, carriers and forwarders provide “assurance of supply”.
  • In an interview prompted by the possibility of a Greek exit from the Eurozone, GT Nexus’s EMEA director of marketing, Boris Felgendreher, said the Greek crisis bore all the hallmarks of major disruption – the sort that shows the limitations of supply chain planning.
  • “This sort of situation puts a premium on being agile, in respect of companies being able to move from one sourcing location to another, and that is always difficult. This particular disruption has an added element in that it is financial,” said Felgendreher, alluding to the fears of a ‘Grexit’ and the problems Greek companies have with making and receiving payments.
  • And although Greece itself has accepted the terms of its bailout, a number of Eurozone countries have still to ratify the deal, meaning the threat of a Greek exit persists. However, Mr Felgendreher explained that a recent development by GT Nexus could offer firms a way to circumvent these issues through a “fusion of the physical and financial supply chains”, following an agreement between the platform developer and trade finance solutions provider SeaburyTFX.

Read more at The Loadstar

UK food supply chain on the brink

  • Much of the UK’s food supply market is on the brink of collapse as the UK’s largest supermarkets continue to slash prices, according to business recovery specialists Begbies Traynor.
  • The recovery firm said that delaying payments to suppliers means that the food retail industry has never been tougher for the UK’s smallest food suppliers, independent grocers and farmers.
  • According to Begbies Traynor’s Red Flag Alert research for Q2 2015, which monitors the financial health of UK companies, the UK’s food retailers continue to experience rising ‘Significant’ financial distress, increasing 38 per cent to 5,258 struggling businesses over the past year (Q2 2014: 3,804), 97 per cent of which (5092) are SMEs. However in reality the UK’s food supply chain that keeps these stores stocked is by far the biggest loser.
  • During Q2 2015, the UK Food and Beverage Manufacturers, which include many of the food suppliers and farmers that supply the major UK headquartered supermarkets, witnessed the highest year on year increase in ‘Significant’ distress of all sectors monitored by the Red Flag research, rising 54 per cent, with 1,622 companies now struggling to make ends meet; up from 1,052 at the same stage last year.

Read more at Fresh business thinking

Mercedes revamps supply chain, logistics to trim costs

  • Mercedes-Benz aims to reduce logistics costs by about 20 per cent per vehicle as the company invests hundreds of millions of euros in a sweeping global reorganisation of its supply chain network.
  • The automaker has increased production outside of its German home over the past decade but many of the components used in its cars are still sourced from Europe. The shift has increasingly stretched its supply chain because of the distances parts have to travel, placing a bigger strain on a system that is already trying to cope with record demand.
  • Logistics is a “very significant” cost position, according to Mercedes production and supply chain boss Markus Schaefer, who said supply chain costs can exceed manufacturing costs in some of the division’s lower-wage plants.
  • “With more than 30 vehicle derivatives each built from several thousand parts, the complexity is immense,” Schaefer told reporters in Speyer, Germany, where the carmaker last week opened a 90 million-euro consolidation center. Here components from European suppliers will be consolidated and repacked more efficiently for shipping abroad to Mercedes plants in China, the U.S., and South Africa.
  • Mercedes may establish similar centers in growth regions like China and North America, the company said in a statement.

Read more at Automotive News

McDonalds vow to end deforestation in its global supply chain

  • McDonald’s, the world’s largest chain of hamburger restaurants, has recently announced a huge global commitment on deforestation across the company’s expansive global supply chain.
  • The commitment builds upon McDonald’s Framework and longstanding leadership in the area of sustainable sourcing. The pledge encompasses all of the company’s products and focuses on beef, fibre-based packaging, coffee, palm oil, and poultry for which the company will begin developing specific time-bound sourcing targets in 2015.
  • McDonald’s will continue working collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders, including suppliers, governments and NGO partners, to develop long-term solutions designed to combat deforestation around the world.
  • Francesca DeBiase, Senior Vice President of McDonald’s Worldwide Supply Chain and Sustainability, said: “This commitment to end deforestation demonstrates another major step for McDonald’s as we work to increasingly embed sustainability throughout our global business. Making this pledge is the right thing to do for our company, the planet and the communities in which our supply chain operates. We’re excited to continue collaborating with our supplier partners to achieve our goals.”

Read more at Supply Chain Digital

Could North Sea Cod Be Back On The Menu?

A recent assessment of fish stocks indicate that cod might soon lose its ‘fish to avoid’ status as the fish’s population is growing at a near-sustainable rate.

Cod levels in the North Sea have returned to healthy status

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has delivered an overview of the status of a host of fish and shellfish stocks across the Northeast Atlantic.

The Marine Conversation Society introduced tight controls on cod and plaice in 2006 owing to dwindling supplies, but those limits look set to soon be lifted thanks to the healthy numbers revealed in the new report.

The general picture indicates that the level of exploitation brought about by decades of overfishing has now been reduced. This has been determined in accordance with the advice provided by ICES and in line with management objectives for sustainable fisheries.

​​​​​​​​​​​The Chair of ICES Advisory Committee, Eskild Kirkegaard, said: “Over the last ten to fifteen years, we have seen a general decline in fishing mortality in the Northeast Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. The stocks have reacted positively to the reduced exploitation and we’re observing growing trends in stock sizes for most of the commercially important stocks.”

For the majority of stocks, it has been observed that fishing mortality has decreased to a level consistent with Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) – meaning levels that are not only sustainable but will also deliver high long term yields. The information encompasses around 150 stocks, of which cod and plaice were among their number.

In technical terms North Sea cod has seen a downturn in fishing mortality and an upturn in Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) – which [crucially] means cod stocks are increasing, whereas North Sea plaice is now considered to have reached record high levels.

According to various sources the Marine Conservation Society have welcomed the news and are currently looking at improving cod’s rating in the coming weeks. It was originally feared that the diminished supplies, coupled with the increase in demand, would result in significant price-hikes come fish Friday. With the healthier picture coming out of the North Sea, it now looks like the UK (at least) will escape such a fate. However it’s a different story for the Mediterranean where latest estimates claim 91 per cent of the region’s stock is overfished.

20 Most Promising Procurement Solution Providers in 2015

Which companies have been recognised among CIO Review’s Twenty Most Promising Procurement Solution Providers?

Who's made it into the Top 20?

CIO Review has published their list of the ‘Twenty Most Promising Procurement Solution Providers in 2015’.

The list of best in class providers features supply chain qualification leader, BROWZ along with other industry favourites; Ariba, SciQuest and Zycus to name a few.  A complete listing of recognised providers can be found in this month’s edition of CIO Review.

CIO Review is a US technology magazine that informs readers on the enterprise solutions that will define the businesses of the future.

According to the publisher: “We present you with the 20 most promising procurement solution providers of 2015, featuring the best solution and service providers offering tools and services on the procurement landscape. The companies featured in this issue, have exhibited extensive business process knowledge combined with innovative strategies. A distinguished panel comprising of CEOs, CIOs, and analysts including the CIO Review editorial board have selected the top companies that are at the forefront of tackling challenges in the procurement landscape.”

Elaine Beitler, BROWZ, CEO, says “As a former CIO, I valued this magazine as a resource for information on new innovative technology solutions that could be applied strategically to advance the business. I’m proud of this accomplishment and congratulate all of those being recognized in this impressive list of companies.”

In addition to being named one of the ‘Twenty Most Promising Procurement Solution Providers in 2015,’ BROWZ is highlighted in a four page article of the magazine. In the article, Beitler discusses the challenges organizations face today when hiring and qualifying contractors and suppliers.

“Contractor screening is only one part of the equation,” says Beitler. “We’ve created a global compliance network that connects buyers and suppliers of goods and services. We work to ensure buyers have the solutions in place, to not only screen, but manage the ongoing compliance of their supply chain. Most organizations don’t have the resources or tools necessary to do an adequate job, especially once a bid has been awarded. We’re working with the world’s largest companies – ensuring they have safe, qualified and socially responsible supply chains. This is only possible when you have an end to end solution to address the risk that exists at all levels of the supply chain.”

Is a lack of collaboration to blame for procurement perception gap?

Is a lack of collaboration between procurement and critical business functions to blame for squandering budgets of UK businesses?

Are procurement rule breakers squandering UK business budgets?

Procurement’s true value is held back by restrictive corporate cost saving edicts according to new research published today.

The ‘Procurement Perceptions’ study was carried out by Redshift on behalf of Wax Digital. It took into account the views of 200 procurement, finance, IT and sales & marketing department decision makers in medium to large UK organisations.

The main brunt of the report aims to address the scale of rule breakers using risky suppliers and spending without necessarily seeking permission from decision-makers.

Daniel Ball, Director, Wax Digital, says: “Business functions are not working effectively and closely with procurement experts to source the right suppliers, strategically manage their spending and ensure they are following compliant purchasing processes. This suggests a high level of maverick spending behaviour which can lead to poor value for money, cash flow issues and contract risk.

Daniel continues: “Procurement wants to control and influence departments’ supplier choices and spending, however, many of these other departments are pushing back, seeking more supplier and spending freedom and believing that procurement just gets in the way.”

The comments are backed-up by figures that reveal 24 per cent of procurement respondents said that supplier selection was a joint decision with the department in question. This is in stark contrast to the 8 per cent in IT, 6 per cent and 2 per cent in sales and marketing.

Procurement perception gaps

The study found that part of the problem lies in the perception of procurement amongst other departments. Procurement is typically viewed as being more administrative than strategic, while in reality the balance lies somewhere in the middle. In Wax Digital’s research Just 15 per cent of other department respondents saw procurement as mainly or wholly strategic but 46 per cent saw procurement as mainly or wholly administrative.

Other findings include: 54 per cent of procurement respondents say departments follow a formal tender process, compared to 24 per cent in sales and marketing.

36 per cent of procurement say they shortlist suppliers on behalf of these departments against their business requirements, but only 12 per cent in IT agree.

In conclusion Daniel offers a few recommendations: “This research indicates that there is still some distance to go by procurement, or a need for improved communication, before other critical departments understand the benefits of procurement, stop breaking the rules and close the perception gap.”

Businesses See Risky Supply Chains As Top Challenge

New survey says risky supply chains are a challenge for 77 per cent of businesses across North America and Europe.

Xchanging report says 77% of businesses see risky supply chains as challenge

Xchanging have recently issued the results of the second portion of its Procurement Study.

The survey polled 830 procurement decision makers regarding what they view as the top threats in the Procurement space.

Procurious covered the previous research here.

Xchanging’s research reveals the greatest external challenge for businesses’ operations is supply chain risk, with more than three quarters (77 per cent) of respondents claiming this is a challenge, and 17 per cent an ‘extreme challenge’.

Around two thirds of respondents claim to be challenged by regulation and audit (71 per cent); lack of supplier innovation (63 per cent); and fluctuations in currency (58 per cent) in their business operations.

Owing to the high number of respondents challenged by supply chain risk, Xchanging dug further into the specific supply chain threats faced by European and North American businesses.

Greek debt crisis and oil prices are both causes of concern

More than a quarter of respondents (28 per cent) see currency and exchange rate fluctuations as a significant external threat. This jumps to 35 per cent in respondents from mainland Europe, with the Euro still under pressure against the Pound and other major currencies, and nervousness in the region over Greece’s debt negotiations. 

Similarly more than a quarter of respondents (26 per cent) also cite oil prices as a major external threat to their businesses. Notably global oil prices having fallen sharply in recent months (by more than 40 per cent since last summer), leading to significant revenue shortfalls in many energy exporting nations and concerns about oversupply in some markets.

Coupa Software has acquired Australia’s InvoiceSmash

To the cloud! Coupa acquires InvoiceSmash to drive B2B commerce transformation.

Coupa has acquired InvoiceSmash

Cloud-based spend management provider Coupa last week acquired InvoiceSmash, an Australian company that manages the accounts payable and invoicing process.

The motivation for the acquisition is thought to be the fact that the data extraction capability of InvoiceSmash will facilitate further automation of Coupa’s invoicing and accounts payable offerings.

At the announcement of the acquisition it was claimed that the move was: “Designed to help enterprises of all sizes digitize and automate the often painful accounts payable and invoicing process, the InvoiceSmash innovations will be embedded into Coupa’s organic cloud-based platform to instantly convert emailed invoice attachments into the field formats required by Accounts Payable.”

Rob Bernshteyn, CEO of Coupa, said: “Our acquisition of InvoiceSmash is a huge step forward for the industry. The InvoiceSmash technology will help businesses large and small transact faster and easier than ever before with significantly less manual intervention,” said Bernshteyn.

“The InvoiceSmash technology will be a hugely value-added extension to our organic suite of capabilities and will drive immediate value, supporting the very essence of Coupa’s Savings-as-a-Service approach.”

How does InvoiceSmash work?

According to company’s website (which is now jointly branded with the Coupa logo), InvoiceSmash works in the following way:

  1. Get it to InvoiceSmash – Send invoices to InvoiceSmash via your unique email address or upload it. InvoiceSmash extracts the data and prepares it for posting to your accounting system.
  1. Your Approval – During approval you set the purchase just the way you want it. Contact, General Ledger, Job, Item and Inventory coding is fast and easy. Contact / inventory creation is just one click. Hands free auto-submission is also possible for repetitive invoices!
  1. It Remembers! – After the invoice is posted to your accounting system, InvoiceSmash remembers your choices and will apply them to future invoices. Submitted invoices are archived in the cloud. No more data entry!

The InvoiceSmash system is said to be an intelligent learning solution that can detect changes in supplier invoice formats. New invoice layouts are memorised by the system, so that if they appear again they can be quickly processed.

At the time of writing, the terms of the acquisition had not been announced. Coupa did state however, that it expected to make the InvoiceSmash capabilities available to a select customer group by the end of 2015.

Is Your Organisation’s Sustainability Program As Good As This?

The Fruits Of Nespresso’s Sustainability Program Revealed.

Nespresso's Sustainability Program

On the one-year anniversary of The Positive Cup, Nespresso’s 2020 sustainability strategy, Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso, has announced that significant progress had been made towards improving the lives of thousands of coffee farmers.

The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program was developed with the NGO the Rainforest Alliance to secure the supply of highest quality coffees, protect the environment and improve farmer welfare. Over 63000 farmers are now taking part in the program in 11 countries, benefiting from technical assistance, trainings, price premiums and investments in infrastructures.

Over the past two years Nespresso has been working with its partner TechnoServe to help rebuild the coffee sector in South Sudan, resulting in the country’s first-ever coffee exports in 2013, and its first non-oil export to Europe. Nespresso aims to produce a new rare coffee from South Sudan, while providing alternative sources of sustainable income to local farmers.

The fruits of the Nespresso AAA Program are already being felt, as Joseph Malish Thomas, a South Sudanese farmer, attests: “I have seen that there is great change within the community. We want to produce the right quality. People now have hope. We will be able to pay school fees for children and in the end develop the country.”

Nespresso aims to source 100 per cent of its coffee from its AAA Sustainable Quality Program by 2020. This depends heavily on the extension of the program into Kenya and Ethiopia, to support a more skilled, self-sufficient and sustainable farming community. In the last 12 months Nespresso and TechnoServe have provided training and technical assistance to over 10000 farmers, and will reach 50000 farmers by 2020.

Nespresso has also progressed with its agroforestry plan. The reintroduction of trees in coffee producing regions helps protect natural ecosystems, thereby strengthening coffee farms’ resilience to climate change and ensuring sustainable coffee production for the future. Around 130000 trees were planted in 2014 in Guatemala and Colombia as part of pilot programs. In the first half of 2015, approximately 200000 trees have been planted in Ethiopia and Guatemala, and another 300000 will be planted by the end of 2015 in Mexico and Colombia.

“The Rainforest Alliance has been working with Nespresso and the AAA Program since it was first created in 2003.  Together we have seen great achievements that have delivered tangible improvement to lives of coffee farmers, families and communities, as well as environmental and biodiversity benefits,” said Tensie Whelan, President of the Rainforest Alliance. “The progress being delivered by Nespresso, the Rainforest Alliance and Pur Projet through the agroforestry plan is building on that success, helping farmers to improve their resilience to the real and present threat that is climate change.  Working together we are showing that care for the environment and for coffee farmers is a fundamental part of supplying the highest quality coffee to Nespresso’s consumers around the world.”

ISM Reports US Manufacturing Has Risen To Five-Month High

The Institute of Supply Management sheds some light on the current state of manufacturing in the United States.

ISM Reports US Manufacturing Has Risen To Five-Month High

The Manufacturing ISM Report On Business is based on data compiled from purchasing and supply executives nationwide

In general respondents were upbeat about the economy. Some of the key insights from its June report include:

  • “Avian flu is having a huge effect on egg pricing and items manufactured with eggs.” (Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products)
  • “Automotive industry remains strong and is expected to stay that way through 2015.” (Fabricated Metal Products)
  • “Business continues to hold in the U.S., [but is] soft in Europe and in decline in Asia.” (Transportation Equipment)
  • “Manufacturing business has improved slightly.” (Chemical Products)
  • “Slight improvement in defense spending on future business.” (Computer & Electronic Products)
  • “Most prices are stable and business is stable.” (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)
  • “Downturn in oil and gas markets impacting demand.” (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)
  • “Stable. Extra capacity available if more orders come in.” (Textile Mills)
  • “A bit slow. Sales down from last year.” (Machinery)
  • “Business continues to be strong, with housing starts being up in our markets driving cabinet sales.” (Furniture and Related Products)

Barclays economists distributed the following note to clients following the release: “Looking ahead, the recent pickup in the forward-looking survey components suggests a modest improvement in output and employment for domestic manufacturing… We do not expect a robust rebound given the lingering effects of a stronger dollar and lower oil prices; however, we view a modest H2 manufacturing rebound as increasingly likely.”