An Early Look at the Technology Breakout Sessions (“Not a Pure Technology Play”)

Pierre Mitchell spent most of yesterday, and possibly the wee hours of this morning, hard at work on his presentations for Commodity/PROcurement EDGE, but he obliged to take a few minutes to supply a joke (“Since Just-In-Time and Postponement are two supply chain best practices…”), as well as a preview of what he will talk about during the technology track breakout sessions.

On the role of technology in the commodity market, Pierre says: “This is my first Commodity Edge conference, and while it seems that commodity management and procurement technology might seem a little orthogonal [side note: Pierre wants you to know that using this word might lead to mockery] to each other, they actually relate to each other and the broader supply chain in interesting ways – especially if you broaden your definition of ‘commodity’ beyond exchange-traded stuff that comes out of the ground.”

Pierre’s first presentation today is at 12:30 pm, as he joins Jason Busch on the breakout session “Segmenting the Procurement, Commodity Management, and Supply Chain Landscape.” The two of them will be discussing the place of commodities in the supply chain and how technology can help. “Spoiler alert: it’s a bit of a disaster,” Pierre says. “Point tools are all around and spreadsheets tend to rule the day. But it’s changing, and the area around category/commodity intelligence and analytics is the most active.”

“It’s not a pure technology play,” Pierre explains. “It’s a mash-up of application services, information services, and professional services. Some assembly is definitely required and providers from all sectors are crashing into each other.” This convergence will be the topic of tomorrow’s breakout session “The Great Category/Commodity Management Mash-Up.” Pierre poses this question to consider: “What is in a category workbench and how can I best build one? There are no easy answers here. It’s sort of like building an IKEA cabinet—some assembly definitely required.”

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