ProcureCon MRO 2019: Driving Change in MRO with Technology
Last week, we joined Chief Procurement Officers, heads of indirect, and maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) category managers from top 500 manufacturing companies, as well as the world’s most innovative startups at ProcureCon MRO in Atlanta. It was a great chance to soak up a wealth of MRO-related knowledge from industry experts, as well as share our own. Read on to get our day-by-day takeaways.
Some of the common themes from the day, which focused on “Laying the Groundwork to Save and Create a Stronger MRO Program,” included ways to improve MRO processes & teams, as well as how to find savings and be more efficient. These themes carried over into the roundtable discussion we hosted on “Weaponizing your Indirect Spend,” which allowed us to hear directly from some of the MRO professionals in attendance.
During this interactive discussion, we chatted with the attendees about the current problems MRO professionals face when it comes to data. One example that came up was the fact that many suppliers purposely don’t include manufacturer part numbers, names, or detailed descriptions – which just adds to the continued problem of bad data.
Participants shared how they’ve heard again and again about how having cleansed, categorized data can lead to better insight into their spend, but that isn’t enough for MRO. In order to gain those insights, they need data that’s well-attributed. The problem is, if suppliers continue to withhold this information, you’ll never actually be able to have good data – unless you implement a tool such as AI that can enrich your data to fill in the gaps for you. Our patented AI can take your incomplete, fragmented, or otherwise imperfect data and not only cleanse, categorize, and deduplicate it, but also enrich it to provide those attributions – in just minutes (compared to the weeks it would take a person to do).
That’s where the idea of “weaponizing” your data comes in. With imperfect data, you aren’t able to see what’s actually going on with your spend, and can’t even begin to take steps to improve. But by perfecting your indirect spend data with our patented AI, it becomes stronger, providing you with actionable insights into your spend. This enables you to improve your buying power – making your team more efficient and saving your organization money.
To solve challenges such as modernizing MRO processes, gaining more spend under management, and reducing maverick spend, specialized AI technology is the way of the future for MRO.
The second day of the conference was centered around “Discover the Difference: The MRO Program for Today and Tomorrow,” taking the ideas of improvement from day one and looking towards the future. Many of the sessions focused on the various types of technology available, including software solutions, data analytics tools, and RPA – and how MRO teams try to utilize these tools to reduce costs, improve processes, and transform their organizations.
The needs of MRO (and procurement in general) have already advanced beyond the incremental improvements that these technologies are capable of. For instance, most software solutions are too broad and limited in what they can really do for procurement. Likewise, many data analytics tools lack the domain context to truly understand your data. Additionally, RPA only has the ability to automate repetitive tasks, which can be helpful, but doesn’t provide much value beyond that.
It became clear to us from both the educational sessions and the insightful conversations we had with conference attendees that there’s a real need for specialized AI technology in MRO today. Specialized procurement AI, like ours, has embedded domain expertise because it’s built specifically for procurement, by procurement professionals. Combined with its imperfect data management that quickly cleanses, classifies, and enriches imperfect data, our AI provides line-level visibility into your data, giving you actionable insights into ways to save. To solve challenges such as modernizing MRO processes, gaining more spend under management, and reducing maverick spend, specialized AI technology is the way of the future for MRO.
It was exciting to have been a part of this year’s ProcureCon MRO, and we can’t wait to be back next year!