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Where Will MRO Category Management Be 5 Years from Now?

Procurement teams have a tough time tracking spends on Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) category. The problem is persistent not only in tracking but also in ascertaining savings initiatives arising out of it. A study conducted by Grainger reported that businesses spent about $110 billion on MRO materials every year. They further stated that out of the total expenditure around $12 billion of items such as light bulbs, nuts and bolts, and cleaning supplies sits on the shelves never to be used. That is a lot of money sleeping and doing nothing for you. The problems with MRO just doesn’t end there, excess inventory and special projects are causing aSE_Demo2 surge in the MRO materials cost. There surely must be a fix for all such problems today or someday in the future. So what does the future hold for MRO category management?

IBM Watson

IBM Watson has been a prominent name in the market which has made strong associations with AI and machine learning. IBM Watson is looking to solve all existing problem with MRO category management with the help of data. IBM Watson can take inputs from a wide variety of sensors, machine, and maintenance data to accurately predict a breakdown so that company can provide a preventive solution beforehand. Such predictive maintenance eliminates the need to spend money on stocking spare parts and tools. Apart from generating savings from inventory cost, it also saves the company the opportunity costs arising from downtime caused by machine breakdown. Additionally, the ability to predict breakdown in advance will eliminate spot buying activities which in turn will allow procurement professionals to negotiate competitive deals. IBM Watson looks to simplify the work of the procurement professionals in the future, with the smooth flow of operations and optimizing spends in MRO procurement. Alongside, reducing the downtime will automatically lead to an increase in overall output and efficiency.

Procurement Automation

The future of MRO procurement lies not only in predictive maintenance but also in the ability to automate purchases. Procurement teams will always have data on stocks and inventory handy, combining this data with predictive maintenance data, cognitive computers can ascertain if a specific part’s stock needs to be replenished or not. If a need for purchase is identified, then the AI system can automatically screen preferred lists of suppliers automate the actual procurement component. The process is starting from need identification to supplier screening, fetching quotations, analyzing best deals and drafting contract can be fully automated in the future.

The future for MRO category management looks bright, which multiple complexities solved by IBM Watson and procurement automation. It is clear that the future lies within data, with predictive analytics pointing out adverse situations before they arise and providing optimal solutions.

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Improving Efficiency in Pharma Manufacturing Through IoT Technologies

The unprecedented power of the Internet of Things (IoT) has urged a vast majority of the companies in the manufacturing sector to make use of this technology to unlock limitless potential. Pharmaceutical manufacturing companies are no exception to this, as IoT has the potential to revolutionize all aspects of the pharmaceutical manufacturing process from drug discovery to manufacturing. IoT in pharma manufacturing coupled with big data and advanced analytics can scrutinize massive amounts of data that can be harnessed to improve manufacturing efficiency.SE_Demo2

IoT in Pharma Manufacturing

Connected Equipment

Pharma manufacturing companies rely heavily on batch manufacturing and equipment is usually self-contained. So it requires men and materials to move constantly on the shop floor. Although industrial automation and control technologies are widely used, real-time status of equipment is not readily accessible to make informed decisions that can improve equipment effectiveness. IoT technology can assist to maintain the safety and efficacy of drug products by maintaining specific storage condition and providing extended visibility into shop-floor activities.

Real-Time Visibility into Warehouse Operations

Warehousing is a critical component for every pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. Shortage of certain medicines can have serious consequences, on the other hand overstocking can lead to product wastages and higher inventory holding costs. Since pharma companies maintain numerous warehouses spread across vast geographies, warehousing operations amount for a vast majority of the pharma logistics cost. Smart warehouses can increase real-time visibility into the operations by tracking products in the warehouse and optimally utilize operators and transport equipment. IoT technology is essential in pharma supply chain as it can report inconsistencies, optimize warehouse floor space, and monitor storage of sensitive medicines.

Controlling Cold Chain Conditions

Pharmaceutical manufacturers need to be very careful while handling biologics, which are highly sensitive to storage conditions. Such biologics are high-value items with shorter shelf lives carrying strict temperature requirements. IoT technology makes it possible to remotely monitor the condition of the drug and ensure that ambient temperature is maintained at temperature-controlled containers.

Remote Fleet Management

Use of digital technology such as GPS systems can allow remote monitoring of the transport process and ensure shipment visibility throughout the supply chain. A multitude of data regarding vehicle location, vehicle performance, and view of the driver can be collected which can be processed and decisions to optimize fleet management can be taken remotely. Consequently, it can drastically reduce the time-to-market, prevent product spoilage, and lower carrying costs.

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Contract logistics

AI Technology – Redefining the Wheel in Supply Chain Planning

Each decade we are blessed with technology that can transform the way the world operates ranging from the wheel, electricity, telecommunications, and internet, to smartphones. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be touted as the next big thing along the line which can simulate human thinking process and which enables the machine to process large data sets and provide accurate decision-outcome. A majority of the companies believe AI to be the next step in the industrial revolution which has a huge potential for complete automation with minimal errors. Businesses have realized the power of AI in improving their efficiency and profitability, as a result of which they have started using AI in the field of robotics by automating tasks from production to delivery. However, businesses are exploring ways to leverage AI into their supply chain planning process including demand forecasting, production planning, and logistics planning.

Here are some ways AI can improve the efficiency of supply chain planning:SE_Demo2

Streamlined Process in Supply Chain Planning
The businesses relying on mechanical ways of handling their supply chain planning process are facing consequences of a tedious distribution management systems that handles multiple operations prone to human error. The process of manually identifying stock levels, estimating optimal replenishment cycle, and fulfilling orders are highly erroneous and inaccurate. AI systems would be able to scan through colossal amounts of historical data to streamline every aspect of supply chain planning from demand to inventory to supply.

Handle Supply Chain Disruptions
Supply chain professionals are humans after all, and humans tend to stick to things that are familiar to them. On the contrary, AI would not be bogged down with any pre-conceived notion, and act purely on the basis of data available to them and past-outcomes of decisions. For instance, IBM recently launched Watson Supply Chain, which considers infinite sources of information including social media, weather forecasts, historical data, and newsfeeds, and uses cognitive technology to track and predict supply chain disruptions to suggest the best course of action.

Logistics Optimization
Apart from forecasting and scheduling functions of supply chain planning, companies are looking to incorporate AI into technologies such as driverless cars to optimize the process of logistics planning. The advent of autonomous vehicles could significantly improve accuracy, decrease lead times, reduce transportation costs, and save human labor costs. For instance, AI technology of TransVoyant is able to collect data from satellites, radars, sensors, and smartphones to track real-time movement of goods and estimate the time of arrival by factoring in weather conditions, port congestion, and natural disasters.

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Top 5 Suppliers in the Inventory Management Software Market

A traditional response to tackle the dynamic demand would be to stock up the products in mass quantities. Overstocking is a big problem for the managers as it increases the inventory. First of all, buying too many risks product expiry or stock obsolescence, and most importantly, it freezes up the much-needed capital, which can be utilized for other revenue-generating activities. As a result, managers increasingly depend on inventory management software to optimize the inventory levels and consequently improve operational efficiency. Inventory management software with accurate estimations helps in managing demand fluctuations, availing trade discounts, freeing up working capital, and increasing supply chain efficiency.

Request Free SampleSuppliers in the inventory management software market are looking for constant technological innovations such as the use of RFID chips technology, big data analytics, cloud-based systems, and IoT technology to help their clients improve profitability. The rising popularity of cloud-based inventory management systems has urged SMEs to opt for such solutions. Here are the top five suppliers in the inventory management software market who are influencing the market landscape:


Microsoft is the leading supplier in this marketplace, projecting revenues of over US$28 billion. Its software Dynamics 365 is extensively used in industries such as retail, electronics, furnishings, chemical, and automotive. It provides a broad suite of ERP software solutions under the brand Microsoft Dynamics such as Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics SL, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.


SAP SE has been serving some of the biggest companies such as Lenovo, McLaren, and United Breweries with their inventory management solutions. Their solutions help client balance inventory levels, analyze crucial inputs and signals, and model the impact on decisions on the global stock.

NetSuite (Oracle)

NetSuite offers their clients with solutions to manage and optimize their global supply chain. NetSuite offers bundled services including financial management, warehouse management, production management, SCM, warehouse fulfillment, procurement, and HCM.

JDA Software Group, Inc.

JDA software is one of the leading market contenders in the inventory management software category. With 31 years of experience in this market, they have been helping clients better their supply chain game by assisting them in planning and delivery.

Zoho Corporation Pvt. Ltd.

Zoho Corporation is a California based company with a strong presence in North America, Europe, and APAC regions. ZOHO is popular for using refreshing and easy-to-use UI in their software along with gamification. It offers end-to-end tracking, accounting and CRM integration, and warehouse management.

Read more about top vendors in the inventory management software market along with supply market landscape, pricing, and procurement insights in SpendEdge’s upcoming procurement report on the inventory management software market.

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Challenges in Managing the Cold Chain Logistics of Perishable Goods

The expansion of global trade and optimization of the supply chain has made it possible for perishable goods to travel long distances to reach the final consumer. Products such as flowers, vegetables, fruits, meat, and bakery items decay or deteriorate in quality when exposed to environmental conditions such as humidity or moisture. The transportation of such perishable goods is done with the help of temperature controlled cold chain logistics. Transporting such temperature-sensitive goods across thousands of miles poses some procurement challenge for cold chain logistics. Here are some of the major procurement pain points for cold chain logistics:

Lack of Traceability Across Supply Chain

Perishable goods may damage or decay when proper conditions are not met, and it is hard for the end consumer to identify where the break occurred in the transportation process. The break in cold chain logistics may take place during loading/unloading process, at freight forwarders place, or in unrefrigerated containers. The advent of RFID and GPS technology along with traceability standards in the cold chain logistics ensure the food safety.

Request Free SampleLack of Technical Expertise

Unlike the logistics of regular goods, different perishable goods have specific ranges of temperature that needs to be maintained. For instance, an ice cream needs to be kept at a temperature of -25°C; whereas, a temperature of 0-4°C will suffice for milk products. The staff may not be aware of such technicalities and may damage the product in-transit. As a result, it is essential for the buyers to engage with the suppliers to conduct training and offer technical expertise.

Lack of Communication Between Service Providers and Buyers

At present, IoT systems have not developed to a level where it can facilitate seamless communication between the service providers and buyers. Such a communication problem can cause delays in transportation and cause other problems as the goods are passed through multiple channel members across vast geographies. In the future, when IoT systems are widely used, buyers and sellers can communicate easily to clarify timeframes, delays, or variations in the transit period.

Read more about procurement pain points in the cold chain logistics and perishable goods transportation market along with supply market landscape, pricing, and procurement insights in SpendEdge’s upcoming procurement report on the perishable goods transportation market.

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What’s Driving the Inventory Management Software Market Towards Perfection?

Throughout the history of inventory management, there has been some form of inventory management mostly limited to manual counting methods.  The advent of bookkeeping did help the inventory management process by bringing in order and structure. However, stock validation still required time-consuming physical counts. The capabilities of a modern inventory management software to digitize the process surpasses all other legacy systems by exponentially increasing its efficiency. In addition to that, thereRequest Free Sample have been constant innovations in inventory management software that is driving the efficiency of organizational inventory and logistics management. Here are the top trends in the inventory management software market:

Increasing Use of RFID Technology

The advent of RFID technology has taken over the barcodes due to its ability to track vital product information at a much faster rate. Also, RFID technology can automate the inventory management process since the product need not be in proximity to scan. Organizations are progressively replacing barcodes with RFID tags to facilitate real-time inventory tracking to enforce better SCM.

Integrating Big Data Analytics with Inventory Management Software’s

The modern inventory management systems generate a substantial amount of data including product code, price, date of purchase, lot number, and revision number. Apart from inventory management in the warehouse, the rise of e-commerce has led to the generation of huge volumes of unstructured data that cannot be processed using conventional analytics. The capability of big data extends to the analysis of large volumes of data to recognize hidden patterns that can accurately forecast customer demand.

Cloud-Based Inventory Management System Bursting onto the Scene

Cloud-computing has empowered the small businesses to harness the power of modern inventory management systems because of significant cost savings opportunities and convenience. Additionally, it also gives the organization the flexibility to scale the system parallel to their business growth.

IoT and Automation

IoT largely eliminates the company’s inventory problems by providing improved connectivity and real-time analytics solutions. Using interconnected networks of sensors, phones, computers, and other systems, IoT can transfer all product information with the help of RFID tags and transmit the data to cloud-based inventory management software. This could radically change the way companies currently track their shipments by giving up-to-date information on the item regarding its location and condition. Furthermore, the inventory management process can also be automated as sensors in the warehouse can detect depleting inventory levels.

Read more about the trends in the inventory management software market along with supply market landscape, pricing, and procurement insights in SpendEdge’s upcoming report on the global inventory management software market.
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The Rise of AI, Machine Learning, Big Data, and Blockchain – Are Machines Threatening the Job of a Supply Chain Manager?

Technological advancements in AI and machine learning have come a long way, causing a stir among some people over the future of humanity. Today, many complex tasks that could once be done only by a human can be done by a machine. Deep learning and neural Get More Infonetworks have given computers the ability to think like a human, and in some case a lot better. So, does this mean that machines will take over the job of a supply chain manager? It seems quite early to come to that conclusion yet, but recent development suggests they are getting closer.

Does Perfect Information Exist?

For a long time, perfect information was considered a myth. A supply chain manager is equipped with supply chain and logistics data, but cannot have perfect information about the market. However, machines have an edge over the supply chain manager as it can take inputs from numerous sensors, communication devices, servers, and data registers. In addition to this, it can also process all such information to provide a robust analysis of the problem.

Machine Never Forgets

A supply chain manager can forget to execute a certain task or delay some decisions, but an interconnected network of IoT devices wouldn’t miss out. For instance, sensors in the warehouse can identify reduction in stocks and automatically place order requests to the supplier. Thus, IoT can cut costs and improve efficiency requiring lesser personnel, which contributes to increased profitability.

So, What About the Security?

There are security concerns over increasing our dependence on machines. Questions such as what if someone manipulates the data or what if the system is hacked raises concerns over security. To resolve such security issues, supply chain managers are resorting to private blockchain technology. Such a technology enables a supply chain manager to share information with restricted stakeholders and at the same time maintain transparency.

The IoT technology and accuracy of algorithms are improving each day. However, the day when a supply chain manager will be replaced by a machine is a distant dream. At present, supply chain managers are embracing this technology to optimize their supply chain. Even in the near future, people are required to do handover jobs, make strategic decisions, and maintain supplier relationship.

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What Could Drive the Next Industrial Revolution?

Over the last few years, there has been a widespread use of computer and robotics in the manufacturing industry to augment production capacity and efficiency. The advent of automation systems, big data, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and cloud computing embarks an era of new industrial revolution, which is also referred to as industry 4.0 (i4.0). The interconnectedness of all digital systems in manufacturing minimizes the need for human intervention and takes productivity to the next level, therefore, encouraging the next industrial revolution.

As famously quoted, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” here are some of the reasons driving the next industrial revolution:

Execute Work in Dangerous Environment

Many production facilities require humans to work in a dangerous or hazardous working condition. Even with the availability of personal protective equipment, risks cannot be totally eliminated. Also, the protection and safety of workers are governed by various rules and regulations. Automated and smart systems are capable of performing tasks with minimal human inputs, which drastically improves the health and safety of human workers.Get More Info

Huge Cost Savings

Interconnected sensors in a manufacturing system can communicate to a central system to automate manufacturing processes and cut down on the waste. IoT will enable manufacturing robots to communicate with each other and forecast optimal labor planning, inventory level, and predictive maintenance. This ensures a constant supply of inputs for the smooth flow of operations within the manufacturing system.

Communication and Information to All

One of the biggest challenges for any company is to streamline all their functional departments and create a synergy between them. IoT and cloud computing allow departments such as production, purchasing, and sales to share valuable information and collaborate on actionable data sets to improve efficiency. This sharing of information facilitates coordination and communication of intelligent planning solutions.

Enable Mass Customization

Consumers today are being more specific in their needs and wants. The second industrial revolution brought about mass production to enable economies of scale. Machine learning, automation, and the principle of additive manufacturing together allows manufacturers to customize their base product to the specific needs of the customer and still retain the economies of scale.

Quest for Continuous Improvement

Manufacturers are on the constant lookout for technologies and processes to make their production process more efficient and improve product quality. Advanced data analytics can point out areas of improvement and suggest optimal solutions to improve the manufacturing process. Apart from this machine learning can significantly enhance the productivity by increasing production capacity, reducing material consumption rate, improving product and service quality, and optimizing supply chains.

The never-ending goal of businesses to cut down cost and improve efficiency will drive the next industrial revolution. Furthermore, the next industrial revolution promises much more than just that and opens up room for greater possibilities.

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Trending Now – Automation in Procurement

Over the last two decades, procurement automation technologies and supply chain management solutions have transformed supply chain and gained awareness and relevance within the organization and the market. These supply chain management technologies have automated several processes like sourcing, procuring and invoicing with various new-age automation technologies such as procure-to-pay, source-to-settle processes, e-procurement, contract management etc. Automation in procurement has enabled supply chain professionals to focus on tasks that add value to the process, shortened process cycles and enhance efficiency. The widespread acceptance of big data across organizations is crucial to understanding the factors that drive procurement automation. With data accessibility and availability, chief procurement officers (CPOs) can forecast trends, identify potential risk factors and mitigate them.

Automation at Every Step in the Supply Chain

Procurement automation has been adopted at several levels throughout the supply chain to drive effectiveness and achieve greater efficiency. Automation in procurement helps management to identify cost savings opportunities and thereby drive profitability. Organizations can streamline processes, free up employee time and dedicate their human resources to critical business areas by automating procurement activities. At this point in the supply chain, the following are the various ways in which organizations from around the world have embraced procurement automation,

  • Source to settle often termed as a requisition-to-check, is a complex process that involves activities right from requisitioning goods and services to invoice and payment, thereby enabling an end-to-end integration of procurement and sourcing
  • Creating a smart supply chain by integrating Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotic Process Automation (RPS) technologies such as sensors, leads to improved functioning and operation of the value chain, thereby improving customer service and vendor negotiations
  • Spend analysis and benchmarking allows companies to collect, classify, and analyze their supplier spend data, obtain actionable insights on their buying data and related spend activities
  • E-Sourcing and e-procurement helps procurement to automate sourcing, requisition and invoice process
  • Contract management focuses on automating the vendor contracting process and activities related to contract execution, thereby improving contact visibility and benefiting the supply chain as a whole

Organizations have realized the multiple benefits of enabling procurement automation, but degree of technology adoption in the global supply chains is still at a very basic level. Nevertheless, the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) will help companies bridge the gap and facilitate a smooth transition and acceptance of automation in procurement.

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Connected Devices and IoT are Paving the Path for a Smart Supply Chain

Organizations across the globe are striving to revamp and re-design their supply chain in a bid to make it smarter than ever before. Automated warehouses, shipment containers, distribution centers, factory floors and delivery systems, what do these have in common? They are all part of the great supply chain, which as we all know, is a network between the suppliers and the business which includes all the processes right from sourcing to manufacturing and delivering the final product to the target consumer.

Today, not a single business function has been left untouched by the wave of digital transformation. This transformation has enabled businesses to take strategic decisions aided by data and insights. The Internet of things or IoT is the much discussed topic all around the globe because of the wide array of ‘smart, connected products’ such as cars, devices, robots, washing machines, air-conditioner, etc. that have in-built sensors and connectivity to the ubiquitous internet to help generate tremendous volumes of data. This data is essential for the business to understand consumer habits and make several crucial and timely business decisions. And, what better way to enter the business other than the great old supply chain, thereby connecting devices that will not only generate high volumes of data but also transform operations. What connectivity holds in store for supply chains, you ask? Here’s what it has to offer.

Real Time Visibility with Improved Customer Service and Other Benefits

IoT eliminates the most time intensive challenges of the supply chain, by providing real time visibility of issues across all departments and at every step. This allows for quick problem solving or preventing it altogether. Additionally, it also improves customer service, making customers happy by providing on-time delivery while providing real time information and delivery tracking, thereby satisfying the consumers’ appetite for convenience and instant gratification.

Besides these, IoT will enable automated monitoring, control and optimization of processes with the help of analytics to drive decisions. It will facilitate in detecting overload conditions, forecast demand patterns, identify gaps between actual and expected performance standards, leverage IT support, using GPS and RFID to enable tracking information, adjusting pricing strategies by managing inventories, controlling spoilage and delay related issues. Thereby streamlining operations, reducing costs, better management of assets, reducing time-to-market, enable forecasting and mitigating risks to eventually drive customer satisfaction.

At SpendEdge, our experienced team of procurement experts will drive unprecedented efficiency by assisting you to collate, organize, cleanse, categorize and analyze data so as to derive actionable insights that will help you in becoming a true market disruptor.

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