May 7, 2021

New UK inquiry into the supply chain for electric vehicles

supplychain
Procurement
EV
Technology
Tilly Kenyon
2 min
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) announces that it is to look at the supply chain for battery electric vehicles
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) announces that it is to look at the supply chain for battery electric vehicles...

A new inquiry into the supply chain for electric vehicle (EV) batteries has been launched in the UK, as car manufacturers are planning ahead for EV production.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) will examine issues including government encouragement to battery manufacturers to site high-volume battery manufacturing plants (‘gigafactories’) in the UK, ethical material sourcing, and investment in training, as part of the latest stage of its Technological Innovation and Climate Change inquiry.

With the Government’s plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, it has been estimated that at least eight gigafactories will need to be operational by 2040 to meet the anticipated demand for electric vehicles. Construction of the UK’s first gigafactory has been announced and will be sited in Blyth, Northumberland.

Transition to net-zero

According to the committee around six million skilled people will be affected by the transition to net-zero and will need to be retrained in low-carbon industries. The Government has announced its Green Jobs Taskforce to support this transition. Failure to establish this supply chain, or a delay in growing it, could undermine any advantage the UK would have in this sector, the committee said. 

The committee also wants to know if the £1bn of funding already announced to support EVs and their supply chains is sufficient, and how it should be split between supply chains and gigafactories. The inquiry will also look at the production of lithium-ion batteries, which are currently the main battery technology used in electric vehicles. 

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, launching the EAC’s call for evidence, said: “The Government has pledged to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. But the road to meet this commitment could be rocky, with challenges in manufacturing capacity, a skilled workforce and extraction of critical components. We will be holding an evidence session in June to explore how the supply chain can be developed to support the transition to electric vehicles. We encourage anyone concerned about this issue to consider making a contribution.”

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Jun 7, 2021

Coupa Launches US$50 Million Ventures Fund

Coupa
BSM
Procurement
SourceDay
3 min
Business spend management (BSM) is coming back ─ and with its return, Coupa intends to invest in the future of its supply chain operation

Operational resilience and agility. Following the events of the last twelve months, companies have focused on these strategic areas like never before. Some, as we’ve noted, have started to wonder whether this trend will continue post-pandemic—or will we go back to the same old supply chain? Not if Coupa Software has its way. 

 

Last week, the company launched Coupa Ventures, a global fund that will invest US$50mn in early- and growth-stage companies that target business spend inefficiencies. “Coupa Ventures enables us to invest in a future where businesses and their suppliers can harness the power of their spend to constantly adapt, transform, and innovate”, said Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa’s Chairman and CEO. 

 

What’s Business Spend Management (BSM)? 

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t sound particularly sexy—it sounds like a subsection of the finance department. But business spend management, together with ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management) and HCM (human capital management) make up the core operating process of any company out there. When companies spend money, sign contracts, analyse supplier costs, take inventory or budget for the future, that’s BSM. Overall, business spend management is made up of three main areas: procuring materials, managing invoice, and handling expenses. Essentially, it’s the engine of the entire operation. 

 

Why Change It Up? 

According to Coupa, the next wave of BSM is now. It wasn’t always this way: in March of 2016, advisory giant Gartner claimed that BSM was dead. At that time, the firm was partly right. Companies couldn’t handle trillions of bits of data by themselves—and they were sinking as the waves of big data swept over their heads. 

 

But recent developments have meant that BSM isn’t fated to die just yet. “The key to optimisation is data—and not just any data”, Coupa stated. The company has supported community intelligence, in which machine learning uses anonymised data from hundreds or thousands of client companies to suggest better spend tactics. This way, companies can get better insight into their suppliers, track supply chain disruptions, and investigate procurement alternatives. 

 

This network effect is part of what makes Coupa Ventures so exciting. Said Eric Christopher, co-founder and CEO of Zylo, “We’re excited to join an expansive ecosystem of customers, suppliers, and partners”. 

 

 

First Companies in the Ventures Portfolio 

 

  • Zylo, a leading SaaS management platform that helps companies manage cloud-based applications, offers visibility into what software is being used, how much is present, and how a company can optimise its software investments. 

 

  • SourceDay, a leading supply chain performance solution, bridges the gap between a company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) and its supply chain network. 

 

 

At SourceDay, Coupa’s investment is heralded as a chance for the company to really take off. “The investment from Coupa Ventures will...enable our joint customers to save money and leverage supplier performance as a competitive edge”, said Tom Kieley, SourceDay CEO. “We’re honoured to expand our relationship with the Coupa ecosystem”. 

 

Looking ahead, Coupa will capitalise on community intelligence to help its partners make smarter spending decisions. “[Organisations will] place bets on which investments will quickly pay off to accelerate their growth and resilience in the post-pandemic economy”, said J.J. Freitag, senior vice president of Corporate Development at Coupa. “[And] we’re looking to back the best ideas across Europe and beyond to help businesses build back even stronger”. 

 

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