iSource: How has the economy affected purchasing?
Provenzano: We haven't seen any decline in purchases for existing infrastructure. If facilities exist, organizations still need to support those facilities. That's what's happening in indirect materials. I'm not as in touch with capital expenditures.
iSource: Where do you see technology and the supply chain headed in the future?
Provenzano: I think the big change will be in software as we know it today. Off-the-shelf software will not exist because it will no longer be purchased it will be part of an offering that a supplier provides to its customers. Third-party supply chain management firms are truly going to be the distributors of the future, managing both the information flow and the material flow between supply chain members.
iSource: Do you have other predictions?
Provenzano: I think organizations are going to be far more integrated internally. Communication between supply chain members is going to be more automated and integrated, and there will be less human interface in the process.
I think we will continue to see a decline in traditional store and forward distribution, giving way to more of a direct relationship between the manufacturer and customer, either through a third-party supply chain management company or even through a direct interaction. There also will be less time between when inventory is produced and when the customers consume it. We'll continue to see inventory levels decrease and efficiency rise.