Understanding Supply Chain Risks | Matthew York from riskmethods

A hurricane is gathering strength in the Carribean. The Turkish military attempts a coup. Wildfires rage in Australia. A beached vessel is blocking the Suez canal. What do these events have in common?

They all pose risks to supply chains. Until recently, little could be done to understand and assess these risks, but riskmethods is pioneering the field with the use of artificial intelligence.

On this edition of UpTech Report, riskmethods Senior Solutions Marketing Manager Matthew York discusses how they’re leveraging this new technology to help companies across the globe gain visibility into the potential dangers posed to their supply chains.

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Matthew York is a supply management industry marketer and thought leader who is fascinated by supply chain risk management, Industry 4.0 technologies, and how, when combined, they can drive operational resilience. As the Senior Solutions Marketing Manager at riskmethods, Matt helps to drive strategy and thought leadership for the global marketing and North America go-to-market teams by offering expert insight into market conditions, industry trends, and customer pain points. Matt previously served as a supply management industry analyst and a national security intelligence analyst.

riskmethods empowers businesses to identify, assess and mitigate supply chain risk. By using artificial intelligence, we help you automate and accelerate threat detection, enabling you to gain competitive advantage with a well-managed approach to meeting customer demands, protecting reputation and reducing total cost of risk. riskmethods serves companies worldwide, protecting hundreds of brands and trillions in annual revenue.

Our promise to our customers is simple: We will make your business more resilient. How do we do it? By giving you the ability to prevent and mitigate risk. Harnessing big data and machine-learning AI technology, riskmethods identifies the real threats to a supply network, and then gives you the tools you need to assess the impact of that risk and take proactive steps to collaboratively prevent or mitigate it.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Matthew York 0:01
It’s not the humans that I know, cannot look at a large data set and pick up patterns, machine learning algorithms can. And they can do that pretty quickly and after a few few iterations can can know what to look for, for future future datasets. So, AI is here to make our jobs easier, it’s not here to replace them. It’s here to compliment us not to colonize us.

Alexander Ferguson 0:30
Welcome to UpTech Report. This is our apply tech series UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at Today, I am joined by my guest, Matt York, who is based in Boston. He’s a senior solutions marketing manager at riskmethods. Welcome back could have young Alex, it’s great to be here. Thanks. Now your platform is better as well. It’s a software solution that you’re all focused around helping supply chain risk management in that sphere. So those who are in the supply chain industry, this might be an intriguing solution you’re gonna want to check out help me understand the route beginning of risk methods, it actually started many years ago. Do you remember the date it began?

Matthew York 1:13
Right, so riskmethods was founded in 2013, in Munich, by two procurement and supply chain software, veterans, Heiko Schwartz and Rolf simmer, you know that they saw a glaring gap in the market for a supply chain risk management solution set, they initially sought to to bring their innovative innovative solution to OEMs like auto, auto manufacturing, aerospace and defense, pharma, biotech, etc. But you know, nearly a decade later, we’ve seen a significant validation, beyond these initial markets, into the indirect procurement side companies that provide services beyond manufacturing products like banks, insurance companies, government agencies. So we’ve gone from a startup mode to a growth mode, and we’re in a very exciting period in the company’s company’s journey,

Alexander Ferguson 2:06
this whole concept of being able to track supply chain risks and issues giving that visibility, that’s kind of one of the core concepts or purposes of it, correct?

Matthew York 2:16
That’s right, yeah. Visibility is at the heart of the risk method solution set, and what we’re preaching,

Alexander Ferguson 2:24
when it comes to visibility, and in what is what is issues like we’re facing today that that can offer you anything you think of the pandemic and, and suddenly supply chains goes goes crazy, crazy. Well, that’s a big would you call that a black swan event? Where can you really be prepared for that type of thing? I mean, where does where does this solution come into play?

Matthew York 2:45
Yeah, so it’s, it’s this is a kind of a novel kind of risk event. I mean, it there are very smart people that saw this kind of event coming epidemiologists, public health experts, and these are the kinds of events that you know, risk management teams will model on and they’ll try to try to, to see coming down, but, you know, it’s it. It’s, it’s just such a, for most people, that is a black swan event. And, you know, it’s a very opaque environment that that supply chain can be, especially the further down you go into the supply base, it’s harder to get more visibility into

Alexander Ferguson 3:26
it. Now, that is difficult to plan for but there are plenty of more column regular issues that I imagine can arise that you can you can get visibility on help you understand where where or when is it important to get that visibility? What are the common things we’re looking you’re looking for?

Matthew York 3:45
Right. So, most companies are familiar with getting gaining visibility into the first line of suppliers that would call the first year and you know, even that is a struggle. Not every company has the ability to look into their their immediate suppliers, supply chains, their processes, their their labor practices, their you know, their their financial health, you know, any number of other elements of risk and a business and it gets even more complicated the further down you go into supply chain. So you’re getting into suppliers, subcontractors, their suppliers, you know, products or you know, components can have you know, several different levels of or layers of production or manufacturing and so, the further down you go into that into the manufacturing process, the harder it is to understand, you know, the country or source of origin, whether their products are compliance, their their business processes are late or legal or ethical. And it just it just creates a whole lot of other issues. The further down you go.

Alexander Ferguson 4:57
What’s the the difficulty really Time versus periodic visibility and like, what do you see is the future of being able to get visibility all the time? Is that is that we’re gonna be able to get to that point.

Matthew York 5:10
Yeah, you know, in, in many cases, we’re there right now, there’s. So I’ll start sort of the beginning like supply chain management, supply, supply management. It’s at this big catch all term. And one of that one, one aspect of that is supplier performance management. And so, you know, when you’re, when you’re doing an initial onboarding and a supplier, you want to understand how they performed, what they’ll what they’re likely to do if they’re likely to, to fulfill their their business requirements. You did due diligence on the supplier and you make an initial risk assessment. And then you onboard them and you move on. That’s, that happens at the beginning of a sourcing or supplier relationship. But that’s not good enough. Because, you know, it’s like, when an applicant applies to a job, they clear the interview process, and you can’t just assume they’re doing their job, you have to keep monitoring and assessing performance. And so then you get into like quarterly performance reviews, or, you know, bi annual, that’s still not good enough, because a lot of bad things can happen between the time you onboard and the time, the next time you’re assessing performance. And so, especially in this hyper connected, hyper kinetic world where, you know, things happen so quickly, that initial supplier assessment just isn’t accurate. It’s not up to date. So the idea of real time continuous monitoring, understanding how suppliers are performing, understanding the the environment in which they’re they’re operating in the countries that they’re operating in the regions, the legal environments, the risk environments, the geopolitical environments, there’s just so many aspects of a suppliers performance and risk profiles that need to be monitored in a real time continuous basis. Otherwise, they’re their risk profiles are out of date.

Alexander Ferguson 7:06
How are you getting this data then in a real time format of all these suppliers?

Matthew York 7:13
Well, we have, we have a helping hand from artificial intelligence. We know this method solution, our risk intelligence engine collects, you know, 1000s, of sources of information, social media, traditional news media, you know, supplier profiles, supplier risk assessments, you know, information provided by the supplier itself, if they’re on boarded to the to the solution. And it looks at, you know, millions of different pieces of risk intelligence, and using machine learning algorithms that it collects, parses. understands for patterns, and teaches itself for future reference. What are the risk objects, there’s over 100 risk objects that we track that are pertinent and that are are noteworthy for our customers?

Alexander Ferguson 8:08
And you give example, a couple of those 100 ones that you do track?

Matthew York 8:13
Right, that could be geopolitical risk, you know, there is a coup in Turkey, or there is a canal blockage in the Suez, or, you know, there’s a hurricane barreling up the East Coast of the United States, there’s wildfire in California wildfire in Australia. Your favorite, you know, candy provider is been using child labor that not yours, not yours personally. But as an example. Those are the kinds of things that that we look

Alexander Ferguson 8:46
at, we look for. And so it’s basically extrapolating the data and those 100 different sectors to say, this, and this, this all might come converge and affect your supply chain with this particular supplier, because the circumstances around it. That’s correct. Yep. Before using a solution like yours, what are people doing that they just manually monitoring? Is? Is there is is this a common? Is there a lot of solutions and options for this? And how are you guys different?

Matthew York 9:17
Yeah, I mean, there are, there are a few supply chain risk management solution providers like us. There are many others that provide some version of this. You know, we’d like to think of ourselves as a very holistic supply chain risk management solution provider, looking at cyber supplier financial, you know, natural disaster, human rights, you know, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, you know, the whole shebang. You have, you have specialty niche providers that that specialize on some of these kinds of risk objects, and we actually do partner with some of these solution providers. To help, you know, level out our solutions.

Alexander Ferguson 10:07
is the is the adoption for the digital version of what they would be doing before commonplace? Like, is everyone in supply chain jumping on this? Or are they still are any still staying in the more Byzantine or or previous empire of? I don’t know, just spreadsheets and searching and doing it themselves?

Matthew York 10:25
Yeah. So that’s a great question. And, you know, unfortunately, as, you know, my prior role as an industry analyst, you know, adoption of these kinds of solutions was was, was low, then and it’s still low, even after the pandemic, even after a year of the pandemic. You know, low 30% 33 35% of companies have an automated or digital supply chain risk management.

Alexander Ferguson 10:54
So why do you? Why do you think there is the adoption is still so low?

Matthew York 11:00
There are a number of reasons it’s, it’s, it’s, there’s no one particular reason, one of it is budget, a lot of companies don’t have, especially, you know, small to midsize companies don’t have the kind of budget, or the budget. champions to be able to, to, to, to invest in a supply chain risk management solution, whether it’s, you know, an antenna solution, like ours, or more of a point solution. A lot of other companies look at the look at what they’re doing now and say, Well, we’ve made it this far, you know, we did we don’t need, we don’t need something like like yours, you know, we’ve done just fine. And you know, that I have some issues with that, we’ll have some issues with that. But it’s, you know, the adoption rates for other supply management solutions, like esourcing e procurement, spend analysis, those, you know, traditionally have higher adoption rates, but supply chain risk, even even a year, year and a half into the pandemic, it’s still fairly anemic.

Alexander Ferguson 12:07
You see that changing? Or rather, what do you think will help the adoption going forward? Like what will make people say, Wow, okay, I see the value of this and why I need it.

Matthew York 12:19
Right, well, we try to educate the customers and the market on how valuable how indispensable. Our solutions are. You know, as you alluded to earlier, it’s, it’s just not possible to wrap your head around all of the sources of information, and the different languages. The and all the details are captured there in of the information that’s out there, like the internet is a wonderful, but vast universe of information. And it’s just, it’s not possible for humans to be able to go in there, pull out that information that’s necessary for them it’s most pertinent and make an educated decision on it.

Alexander Ferguson 13:03
That’s where computers should come in technology should come in of being able to curate said quintillion bytes of data that exists and is being created all the time. Right, that that are cautious or or reserved on? Can I trust the data and what’s coming back? Or how much can I really rely on on an AI solution? To give me accurate answers and and actions that I should be taking? What do you respond to that type of statement?

Matthew York 13:37
Right, it’s a valid concern, you know, some great science fiction has been written and produced on on, on humans being subjugated to you know, highly intelligent, Orwellian, or, or dystopian beings, but I always like to say that, you know, AI is here to serve us. And we’re not here to serve AI. And, you know, even as, even as the tech world has been operationalizing, and you know, putting into play some of the more basic or narrow applications of AI, you know, there’s there’s this narrow AI and there’s, there’s more of a broader like, true or AI. Machine learning is is more of a narrow application of it. And so it helps users understand helps users wrap their head around structured and unstructured data. It doesn’t make decisions for them, it just helps them understand because you get internet very large universe of information, not possible for humans to wrap their head around it. And even in large datasets. It’s the human eye cannot. It’s not the humans that I know cannot look at a large data set and pick up patterns, machine learning algorithms can, and they can do that pretty quickly it after a few few iterations can can know what to look for, for future future datasets. So, AI is here to make our jobs easier, it’s not here to replace them. It’s here to compliment us not to colonize us.

Alexander Ferguson 15:18
I appreciate that this distinction. Looking ahead for where you guys are headed risk buffers, what can you share as far as the roadmap or what’s coming up or features that you’re excited about?

Matthew York 15:32
Right, well, you know, we’re most most proud of our supply chain risk intelligence engine, it features AI, it has noise, noise cancellation capabilities that allow us to, you know, look at the data with high fidelity and determine with high fidelity that what we’re reporting on is most is most pertinent, we’re not going to be the company that cries Wolf, you know, when we, when we tell you something is happening, we want you to pay attention. We have, you know, you know, risk and risk mitigation plans that are off that off the shelf that you can pull off and, and put into play when you when you need to, we have impact analyzer which can, you know, model risk events based on based on the information and intelligence we’re getting in from, from the field. We have teams in, in all them that are looking at this information, they’re validating the data. So it’s not just machines that are doing the analysis, we’re having human analysts validate it and fill in the gaps that you know, fill in, the more the subjective, human elements of the intelligence. You know, in the coming months, we’re going to be looking at the network effect of suppliers, and trying to build a network of suppliers based upon our our customers buy in, you know, we want our customers to be able to help us build out a network of suppliers to help create this network effect where the more information intelligence and suppliers that are uploaded to the system. The better, the more accurate, the higher fidelity of the output we have not just for a customer, but all of our customers.

Alexander Ferguson 17:24
At the, in the end, everyone wins, the more answers and David was able to be shared and supplied it around. Right? Yep. Where just just for fun for you, man, looking into space of where technology is headed. If you could wave a magic wand and have any futuristic technology today? What would that be? for inclusion and risk methods are it’s open ended for you open ended?

Matthew York 17:55
All right, love open ended questions. I love the idea of blending commercial with governmental. And so let’s say taking the satellite data from you know, from government satellites, and using that to enrich This is intelligence, or supply chain intelligence. I actually just read a story about that, this week about that, that that happening. Using the Internet of Things to go out and collect intelligence autonomously from connected smart devices and have that you know, pump back data to either repositories or habit, you know, pass through processors to help us give some more insight into the environment of which the in which the device is located but also you know, help enrich business operations for service and supply chain and in resupply and so on.

Alexander Ferguson 18:54
I I it’s interesting because technology, the future technologies here now, it’s like you’re hearing this and it’s actually being applied. So I I’m very excited as well, for those concepts for forest methods for those that want to learn more what’s Uh, what’s actually a good fit for you guys for as far as the type and size of company that makes sense to work with you.

Matthew York 19:20
I mean, really, it’s we serve all all fits all sizes of companies. You know, our, our bread and butter used to be and it still is, you know, original equipment manufacturers, aerospace and defense, automotive farm, you know, pharmaceutical, med tech biotech. But as I said before, where we’re moving away from your traditional manufacturing and retail sectors into the more of the indirect spend management categories. So, you know, banks, financial institutions, telecom internet service providers, of you know, federal or government agencies These are entities that need to procure goods and services, but not not to produce anything, but just to operate, and to provide services. And, you know, there there are risks associated with those kinds of widgets as well. It’s not just, I need, I need to, you know, import a million gyroscopes, whatever, you know, it’s not just that it’s, I need to provide service to a million customers in the East Coast. And if my computer network goes down, because of you know, faulty hardware or compromised hardware, then that compromises our business and we’re not able to operate. that’s a that’s a very tangible, real supply chain risk that it’s it’s different from, it’s slightly different from, you know, those on the manufacturing side, but it’s no less critical to you on the services side.

Alexander Ferguson 20:56
No doubt, thank you so much for walking us through what you guys are doing and providing for those that want to learn more, you can go to and be able to request a demo. Is that a good first step for folks to take? That’d be a wonderful first step to take. Awesome, thanks again for your time. That could have been my pleasure. Thank you for having me. And we’ll see you all on the next episode of UpTech Report. Have you seen a company using AI machine learning or other technology to transform the way we live, work and do business? Go to And let us know


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