Why Amazon Web Services Is Making The Leap Into Supply Chain Management

 Photo: Getty Images

For entrepreneurs still feeling the sting of global supply chain turbulence, there is a new tool coming to market. Amazon Web Services is delving into supply chain management with a new cloud-based application to help businesses manage their inventory and coordinate their networks of manufacturers, suppliers, distribution facilities, and transportation providers.

The machine learning-powered software, which is now available in preview, offers a real-time visual map of a company’s entire supply chain network and aggregates data from other enterprise applications and suppliers into a single system. Based on that information, the application offers automated alerts and recommendations about inventory rebalancing, lead times, and potential risks, such as backlogs or stocks that are running low.

AWS CEO Adam Selipsky announced AWS Supply Chain during the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last week. “The past two years have highlighted the importance of supply chain resilience. From baby formula shortages to ships circling ports unable to unload, the disruptions have been widespread and deeply felt,” said Selipsky during his keynote speech. “AWS Supply Chain helps you mitigate risks and lower costs.”

While congestion in the global supply chain has improved from the worst levels seen during the height of the pandemic, managing logistics remains a pressing problem facing entrepreneurs. In November, the global supply chain pressure index increased for the second straight month. The New York Federal Reserve, which calculates the measure, said that China was the biggest contributing factor.

The manufacturing superpower, which produces nearly 30 percent of products worldwide, spent much of the past month under strict Covid-19 lockdowns, and that nationwide halt has slowed the global supply chain’s march back to normal. Small-business owners have felt the impact. Nearly a third of business owners report that supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business, according to the most recent monthly report from the National Federation of Independent Business.

Of those surveyed, only one out of 10 said that their business had not been impacted by recent supply chain disruptions. Fixing that pain point has become a major opportunity for the B2B market, and AWS is not the first company to make a leap into the sector. Logistics and supply chain management grew into a $20.24 billion industry this year, according to the research and consulting firm Gartner–making it the fastest-growing market within enterprise software applications.

Even Selipsky’s rollout at the AWS re:Invent conference came less than a month after Microsoft unveiled its own supply chain management platform in mid-November. Still, Amazon, which ships 1.6 million packages a day, could be uniquely situated to solve the supply chain crunch for other businesses, because the homegrown tool harnesses Amazon’s own expertise and data.

“It combines nearly three decades of Amazon.com’s innovation and learning and experience with its own supply chain as we’ve modeled and built it over the years,” said Tariq Choudry, manager of new products and strategy for AWS. He spoke during a breakout session at the conference that discussed applying machine learning to the supply chain and detailed more of the functionality of AWS Supply Chain.

Be warned: Business owners should prepare to keep dealing with logistical problems in the new year, because the AWS CEO made it clear that its foray into supply chain management is a long-term play. “This is just the beginning,” said Selipsky in his keynote speech. “We’re going to continue to invest here.”

Source: Why Amazon Web Services Is Making the Leap Into Supply Chain Management | Inc.com


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What is Supply Chain Management? Aberdeen Group (Market Research)
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German Industry Braces For Tougher 2022 Due To War, Lockdowns

German industry is bracing for a tougher 2022 as lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine compound ongoing supply chain problems, leading two associations to downgrade their forecasts for the year.

The VDMA engineering association cut its machinery production growth outlook for a second time on Monday. It now expects production of industrial machinery carrying the “Made in Germany” label to grow 1% this year, having already slashed its forecast to 4% from 7% two months ago.

Last year, production grew by 6.4%. The BDI industry association said it now expects exports to grow by only 2.5% this year, after predicting a rise of 4% in January. read more

The lowered forecasts come despite many companies having strong backlogs of orders, as they are struggling to fill them: A survey by the Ifo institute said 77.2% of companies complained about bottlenecks and problems procuring intermediate products and raw materials.

One in two companies affected by material shortages said the China lockdowns made the situation even worse than before, the IFO survey published on Monday showed. VDMA President Karl Haeusgen said in a statement that before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 80% of companies described their business prospects in Russia as good or satisfactory. Now, 75% expect it to deteriorate in the next six months or want to abandon it altogether.

“This shows the extent to which the war has changed everything,” Haeusgen said. BDI predicts production will grow by nearly 2% – less than expected before the war began – with the caveat that this forecast depends on supply chain problems easing and Russian gas continuing to flow in.

Exports may also be a concern. Last year, machinery made up a substantial part of the 26.6 billion euros ($28.5 billion) in goods that Germany exported to Russia.

Source: German industry braces for tougher 2022 due to war, lockdowns | Reuters

Critics by Carlos Caceres, Mai Chi Dao, and Aiko Mineshima
IMF European Department 

Germany’s economy contracted by just under 5 percent in 2020, outperforming most European peers. New waves of infections and associated lockdowns during late-2020 to early 2021 hampered the rebound from the first wave. But forward-looking indicators suggest further growth in exports and a brightening outlook for the services sector, in line with re-opening plans and anticipated pent-up demand.

For the year as a whole, growth of about 3.6 percent is expected. The recovery pae

th, however, is beset with risks, particularly regarding the progress of the pandemic and supply shortages in key industries. Retaining supportive fiscal policy until there is clear evidence of a sustained recovery while also using the fiscal space to lift potential growth over the medium term will be crucial. 

The government has extended various COVID-19 measures from 2020, such as grants to firms and an expansion of the short-time work subsidy, while also introducing several new measures to support households and businesses. Maintaining adequate support while the economy is still weak is important to minimize scarring effects. As the recovery firms up, more targeted policies and a focus on facilitating resource re-allocation becomes important.

Over the medium term, it is important that Germany’s fiscal space is used to boost growth potential by investing in physical and human capital, accelerating digitalization, incentivizing innovation, bolstering labor supply, and increasing disposable income for low-income households. Making progress towards these goals would also help with external rebalancing.

A green transition is key to Germany’s recovery program, yet there are opportunities to improve the cost-effectiveness of its climate mitigation measures. Following a constitutional court ruling in May, Germany tightened its greenhouse gas emissions targets aiming for a 65 percent reduction by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2045. Germany could bolster its mitigation program with a better-specified schedule of carbon prices over a longer time horizon, complemented with sector-specific feebates (revenue-neutral tax/subsidy schemes).

Continued government support for green infrastructure and technologies is also essential for the transition and to spur the economic recovery. To mitigate the potential adverse impact of higher carbon prices on households, further relief targeted at lower-income earners can be considered.

Germany’s expanded short-time work subsidy or Kurzarbeit remains important until the recovery takes hold, while groups not covered by Kurzarbeit need to protected by different means. The unprecedented take-up of Kurzarbeit helped keep unemployment in check and supported aggregate demand. However, as the recovery takes hold, normalizing Kurzarbeit parameters becomes essential so as not to inhibit labor reallocation toward growing firms and industries. Job search assistance and appropriate training programs can facilitate workers’ transition into post-pandemic jobs.

For groups not covered by Kurzarbeit, maintaining expanded access to the current basic income program would be beneficial until the job market recovers sustainably. To arrest widening inequality, the government could consider reducing social security contributions on lower incomes, which would also spur hiring and labor supply.

Safeguarding financial stability during the nascent recovery is essential. So far bankruptcies and financial losses have been limited, while bank capital has actually increased since the onset of the pandemic. But bankruptcies may rise as support measures are phased out, warranting continued targeted liquidity and solvency support for viable firms.

Meanwhile, specifying an appropriately gradual timetable for banks to rebuild capital buffers is important to mitigate the risk of curtailed lending when it is most needed. Banks also need to improve their cost structures to address chronic low profitability. Progress has been made in narrowing data gaps that have hampered the full assessment of macro-financial risks. But the buildup of financial vulnerabilities in real estate markets calls for close monitoring and for expanding the macroprudential toolkit to include income-based instruments.

Further reading:

UK inflation expectations stick at high levels – Citi/YouGov, article with imageWorld
WorldNATO’s support for Ukraine is unbreakable, Spain’s PM Sanchez says,
European MarketsRussian rouble rallies past 62 vs dollar, reversing last week’s heavy losses
European MarketsWorld stocks turn positive in May on Fed bets
European MarketsDollar resumes slide as stock markets tentatively pick up
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IRS Under Fire After Destroying 30 Million Tax Documents

The Internal Revenue Service, struggling to deal with a massive backlog of paper filings, decided to “destroy an estimated 30 million paper-filed information return documents in March 2021,” the agency’s watchdog reported last week.

The IRS said in a statement Thursday that taxpayers “have not been and will not be subject to penalties resulting from this action.” It said that it processed 3.2 billion information returns in 2020 and that the destroyed documents are not tax returns but documents submitted to the IRS by third-party payors.

It added that 99% of the information returns were already processed and the remaining 1% of those documents “were destroyed due to a software limitation and to make room for new documents relevant to the pending 2021 filing season.”

The agency also said that “this situation reflects the significant issues posed by antiquated IRS technology.” The destruction of documents has sparked a backlash from tax preparers, with some reportedly concerned that the decision could hamper the agency’s ability to verify returns and trigger additional error notices.

“IRS management’s decision to destroy information return documents due to the processing backlog raised numerous questions regarding IRS’ decision making and risk assessment process,” Edward Karl, vice president of taxation at the American Institute of CPAs, said in a statement. “The IRS’ recent statement provided some of the answers, but American taxpayers deserve to know why this decision was made and how it might impact them.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, on Friday called for President Biden to replace IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, describing the document destruction as the latest black eye for the agency.

“The IRS is vital to public confidence in our nation and its Trump-appointed leader has failed,” Pascrell said in a statement. “The manner by which we are learning about the destruction of unprocessed paperwork is just the latest example of the lackadaisical attitude from Mr. Rettig.

This latest revelation adds to the public’s plummeting confidence in our unfair two-tier tax system. That confidence cannot recover if all the American people see at the IRS is incompetence and catastrophe.”

While the report doesn’t specify which information returns the agency chucked, the news has triggered angry responses from tax professionals, particularly after another difficult filing season.

“I was horrified when I read the report describing the destruction of paper-filed information returns,” said Phyllis Jo Kubey, a New York-based enrolled agent and president of the New York State Society of Enrolled Agents.

Missing information returns can cause a “mismatch” at the IRS, delaying refunds because the agency can’t verify details on a taxpayer’s returns, she explained.

While the eventual consequences of the decision are unknown, tax professionals have long complained about the stream of automated IRS notices, with limited options to reach the agency.

“If they’re not putting those into the system, there’s going to be discrepancies, which means potential notices that are sent out,” said Dan Herron, a San Luis Obispo, California-based certified financial planner and CPA with Elemental Wealth Advisors.

Although the IRS halted more than a dozen types of automated notices in February, Herron says the constant correspondence is still creating headaches for taxpayers and advisors.

“There were no negative taxpayer consequences as a result of this action,” the IRS said in a statement on Thursday. “Taxpayers or payers have not been and will not be subject to penalties resulting from this action.”

Brian Streig, a CPA with Calhoun, Thomson and Matza LLP in Austin, Texas, said the news was a “break of our trust,” pointing to the burden on the business community.

“Small businesses stress out every year in January trying to accurately prepare these informational returns and get them filed on time,” he said. “To see the IRS just destroy these is almost like the IRS admitting they don’t really care.”


Source: IRS Under Fire After Destroying 30 Million Tax Documents


More contents:


IRS Temporarily Halts These 10 Scary Taxpayer Letters

Internal Revenue Service computers keep spitting out perplexing letters and notices to taxpayers, and today the agency announced that it’s going to stop the machines, at least temporarily, in an effort to help taxpayers and tax pros. The 2022 tax season kicked off on January 24 for filing 2021 tax year returns, but millions of taxpayers are still waiting for the IRS to process last year’s returns.

Example: You filed your 2020 tax return last April. The IRS cashed your check. Why are you getting an alarming CP-80 Unfiled Tax Return notice that says: “We haven’t received your tax return. What must you do immediately? If you’re required to file, please file today. If you’ve already filed, please send a newly-signed copy.”

Savvy tax pros know that the IRS is woefully backlogged, and the best response is to wait it out. A California tax preparer who filed on paper with a check attached last April emailed me that he got a CP-80 notice last month. The IRS cashed the check, but hasn’t gotten to his return—10 months later.

His plan: “IRS thinks I have overpaid; I can wait 6 months to see if they catch up on paper.” In the meantime, the IRS has updated its web site, Understanding Your CP80 Notice, to tell folks who are getting CP-80 Notices who have already filed their 2020 returns: “DO NOT refile.”

That’s all the IRS needs—more paper! As of the February 7 update to the IRS Operations page, the IRS has made some progress on whittling down the number of amended tax returns for tax year 2020 in processing (2.3 million as of January 8), but it hadn’t updated the number of outstanding individual returns for 2020 (6 million as of December 31).

“The IRS is opening mail within normal timeframes and all paper and electronic individual refund returns received prior (emphasis added) to April 2021 have been processed if the return had no errors or did not require further review.”

That backlog is causing problems down the line. Hence, the decision — after outcry from tax professionals and members of Congress — to stop sending some taxpayer notices and letters for now.

The IRS announcement notes that these automatic notices have been temporarily stopped until the backlog is worked through, and that the agency will continue to assess the inventory of prior year returns to determine the appropriate time to resume the notices. Some taxpayers might still get these notices and letters in the next few weeks. “Generally, there is no need to call or respond.” But watch out: If you believe a notice is accurate and you have a balance due, the IRS says that interest and penalties can continue to accrue.

Here’s the rundown of suspended notices and letters:

CP-80 Unfiled Tax Return(s) 1st Notice: This notice is generally sent when the IRS credited payments and/or other credits to a taxpayer’s account for the tax period shown on the notice, but the IRS hasn’t received a tax return for that tax period.

CP-59 and CP 758 (Spanish version): The IRS sends this notice when there is no record of a prior year return being filed.

CP-516 and CP-616 (Spanish) Unfiled Tax Return(s) – 2nd Notice: This notice is a request for information on a delinquent return as there is no record of a return filed.

CP518 and CP618 (Spanish) Final Notice -Return Delinquency: This is a final reminder notice that the IRS still has no record of a prior year tax return(s)

CP-501 Balance Due — 1st Notice: This notice is a reminder that there is an outstanding balance on a taxpayer’s accounts.

CP-503 Balance Due — 2nd Notice: This notice is the second reminder that a there is an outstanding balance on a taxpayer’s accounts.

CP-504 Final Balance Due Notice/3rd Notice/Intent to Levy: The IRS sends this notice when a payment has not been received for an unpaid balance. This notice is a Notice of Intent to Levy (Internal Revenue Code Section 6331 (d)).

2802C Withholding Compliance Letter: This letter is mailed to taxpayers who have been identified as having under-withholding of Federal tax from their wages. This letter provides instructions to the taxpayer on how to properly correct their tax withholding.

Two business notices are also being temporarily paused.

CP259 and CP959 (Spanish) Return Delinquency: IRS sends this notice when there is no record of a prior year return being filed.

CP518 and CP618 (Spanish) Final Notice -Return Delinquency: This is a final reminder notice that the IRS still has no record of a prior year tax return(s)

A coalition of taxpayer professionals, the Tax Professionals United for Taxpayer Relief Coalition, including the AICPA and H&R Block, is calling for more. They’ve asked the IRS to pause all automated compliance actions and provide relief from underpayment and late payment penalties. Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I cover personal finance, with a focus on retirement planning, trusts and estates strategies, and taxwise charitable giving. I’ve written for Forbes since 1997. Follow me on Twitter: @ashleaebeling and contact me by email: ashleaebeling — at — gmail — dot — com

Source: IRS Temporarily Halts These 10 Scary Taxpayer Letters


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“Total tax revenues”. Our World in Data. Retrieved 7 March 2020.

“Taxation”. Britannica. Retrieved 3 March 2015.

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Ancient tax collectors amassed a fortune — until it went up in smoke”. Nature. 14 September 2020.

History of the World in 100 Objects:Rosetta Stone”

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