RAK Department of Finance to digitalise acquisitions
Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Department of Finance has shortlisted Europe-based RheinBrücke’s product MeRLIN (Material eResource Linked Information Network) to digitalise its public procurement systems in order to improve quality, accountability, and transparency across all operations.
The partnership is in line with the UAE government’s ongoing efforts to improve efficiencies in both the public and private sectors through digitalization.
His Excellency Mohammed Hassan Alnoman, Chairman of RheinBrücke Middle East, and His Excellency Yousuf Ali Mohammed, Director General of Department of Finance, RAK signed the agreement in the presence of senior representatives of the two entities.
The Department of Finance, RAK will use MeRLIN, a strategic sourcing solution that provides integrated sourcing process automation, under the terms of the project charter. MeRLIN is also mandated to support the department with supplier relationship management and planning, as well as provide advanced analytics support in its digital transformation journey.
Digitalising the infastructure
His Excellency Yousuf Ali Mohammed, said: “As part of our efforts to enhance our digital infrastructure and capabilities across all operations, this project will enable us to introduce the most advanced practices that comply with the highest standards in the country’s government sector. We are committed to continuously enhancing the financial planning process, budgeting and public procurement to achieve greater financial control, transparency and efficiency.”
Digitalisation and a shift in consumer preferences during the pandemic has disrupted the industry across the Middle East. According to the , the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region is expected to spend US$20 billion on digital transformation initiatives this year and up to US$40 billion by 2022.
The strategic collaboration between the RAK Department of Finance and RheinBrücke to digitally transform the procurement experience has started with a proof of concept (POC).
The current phase of the MeRLIN solution focuses on five processes relevant to the government procurement cycle including vendor management and registration, tendering, auction management, supplier invoice management, and spend management, as per the report.
How Covid-19 Shook Up the Who's Who of American Retail
According to the new Digital Commerce 360 Top 500 analysis report, the massive shift in ecommerce habits due to COVID-19 resulted in a windfall for the US’s largest retailers, including Amazon, Walmart and Target.
The study found that the top 500 companies generated a combined total of $849.5 billion in online sales in 2020, representing a 45.3 per cent increase YoY, the largest jump since Digital Commerce 360 began tracking the statistic in 2006 and more than double the median growth of 18.0% seen over the last decade.
Although retailers of all sizes saw an uptick from online sales, in large part, throughout the pandemic, customers looked to familiar big name brands to fulfil much of their essential needs. Demand for items began to spike as manufacturing in Asia was forced to shut down, causing supply chain shortages. As large retailers tend to hold more inventory, this became a crucial differentiator for customers, says Digital Commerce 360.
Combined, Walmart Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Target Corp. added $265 billion in US revenue to the $791.70 billion U.S. ecommerce market in 2020, accounting for a third of the market.
Considering the need for people to stay busy during lockdowns as well as the requirements of homeschooling, it’s not surprising Joann, a crafting company, showed the fastest online growth of Digital Commerce 360’s top 500.
- In 2019, the bottom 100 of the top 500 registered the fastest growth while the top 100 showing the slowest growth rate. In 2020, however, the analysis showed the opposite, the top 100 largest companies grew at a rate greater than that of the whole, and the top 10 on the list enjoyed a growth rate even faster than the top 100.
- In 2020, collectively the top 10 grew web sales 52.5%, almost five percentage points faster than the top 100 and accounted for 62.8% of Top 500 sales, up from 59.9% in 2019.
- Who made the top 10 was shaken up some. For example, Walmart made it into the second spot, both Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. crept into the top 10 for the first time, landing at No. 8 and No. 10 respectively
Segments of retail that enjoyed fueled courtesy of COVID included toys and hobbies, jumping an average of 24 spots in the rankings and food and beverage merchants moved up an average 23 ranks. In contrast, apparel retailers dropped an average 15 positions in the Top 500, whereas jewellery retailers fell an average of 10 spots.
Although Digital Commerce 360 attributes some of the growth to stock positions and the ability of large retailers to manage supply chain issues, even the largest internet retailer experienced disruption. In March of 2020, during the first save of the US pandemic, even the Amazonian giant found themselves running into meeting customer commitments and delivering orders on time. Order cancellations and extended lead times became commonplace. For a time, Amazon stopped fulfilling orders for items considered “non-essential”.
Despite the issues, Amazon maintained its spot as the top online retailer in North America by a large margin, representing 35.7% of all Top 500 sales. Although it should be noted that the share is down from the 36.7% it saw in 2019.
At the outset of the pandemic Etsy, a solely ecommerce company focused on handmade, vintage items and craft supplies, was expected to perform poorly. However, as supply chain shortages for face masks caused a sudden need for cloth masks, many began to turn to Etsy, tripling its stock value by June.