The state of technology

From the June 2016 print edition

Michael Power is editor of PurchasingB2B magazine.

Across history, technology has never moved so quickly, nor has it affected so many across the globe at once. Picture a person being told, even a few generations ago, that science was working on a chip that could be implanted into people to monitor enzymes in their blood. These (at the moment theoretical) chips would detect changes in those enzymes that predict hear attacks. The chip could then send a message notifying an ambulance to attend that person’s house. Health crisis averted.
It sounds like science fiction, and at the moment it is. But Jahan Ali, CEO of mobileLIVE, mentioned during the CAMSC Diversity Procurement Fair in April that companies are looking into the possibility of such technology. Another practitioner I spoke with recently told me that technology is changing so fast that the human brain is incapable of keeping up with those changes. She likened it to the industrial revolution in terms of it breadth and impact.
In our attempt to keep up, the focus in this issue is technology, with a look at how advances are shaping procurement and the supply chain. On page 15, you can read about an education session at the recent CAMSC Diversity Procurement Fair, during which panelists—including Ali—talked about supplier opportunities in IT and described some major technology trends affecting business today.
There’s also a five-page feature (see page 16) highlighting many of the technology advancements and products from the recent MODEX 2016 show in Atlanta, GA. Our Fleet Management section also features an article starting on page 28 on telematics, which describes some of the technology advances in that area as well.
These days, professionals in all fields would do well to keep abreast of technology, along with what’s coming in the future, and procurement is no exception. In business as in our personal lives, technology will be even more of a driving force going forward. Developments in 3D printing, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles and other areas will present no shortage of changes and opportunities.
The promise of technology—not only for procurement professionals but for everyone—is to make our lives easier, simplier and more efficient. Less time spent on tactical tasks means more time freed up to focus on strategic endeavours. This shift, in turn, can aid in elevating the profession to a more strategic position within companies. Technology can also help to give the procurement function a more global role, connecting professionals with suppliers and partners around the world. Hopefully, this issue of PurchasingB2B can help shed at least some light on the technology currents shaping the industry today.