An Interview on Data sharing for Machine Learning and AI – Procurement Analytics with Dave Food
For this episode of the Supplier Experience Live podcast from HICX, we welcomed Dave Food. Dave is Strategy Director at Prophetic Technology and Principal Lecturer at WMG, University of Warwick. His expertise is wide-ranging, from supply chain logistics, procurement analytics, and marketing through to innovation. Within this scope, Dave discussed with us trends in blockchain, big data, AI, drones, machine learning, and 3D printing.
From a reluctant academic to a supply chain futurologist
Similar to many thought leaders within procurement and supply chain space, Dave also started working in this area originally by chance. He refers to himself as a reluctant academic as he especially loves to share knowledge with practitioners and thought leaders of tomorrow.
Dave is continuously engaged in research. Some of the topics he picks out that will be talked about most in the near future include visibility within supply chains due to COVID-19, automation and the competitive advantage it can bring; and whether blockchain and data sharing is something that we will see more of in the future.
Additionally, Dave has always been fascinated by and eager to talk about the future and its possibilities. He says, being a supply chain futurologist means, “touching tomorrow today by using new technology now, not waiting and waiting for someone to develop it.”
Data: the supply chain’s past, present and future
According to Dave, digitalization within the supply chain is falling behind compared to other industries in the field due to quality of data. Supply chains are more dependent on good quality data as “supply chain is about players sharing data together – and that data is moving through the supply chain.”
All stakeholders at all stages of the process must have accurate data, so data must be synchronized across all systems in real-time. This can be a challenge as ‘in real time’ in this case constitutes minutes.
On how to fix this data quality issue, Dave cites governance. “Everybody owns the data. When you see an error, you don’t just brush it off. Make sure you pass it back into the business so that data is cleansed. And so, everybody owns the gradual improvement of the data.” he adds.
Procurement analytics, 3D printing and beyond
Dave regards procurement analytics as a powerful tool as they give excellent insight into the correlation between suppliers, procurement, supply chain, and consumers. He states, “it’s all about smoothing the flow”, while the analytics “allow flexing of the flow through the supply chain”.
Additionally, one of the new technologies on the market which is yet to gain traction is 3D printing. One reason he cites for the delay is governance. “Who would be responsible [for various operational aspects] is a whole area of complexity that we haven’t yet developed the legalities around yet. That’s still coming.”, he concludes.