If you’ve had some questions about MetalMiner’s upcoming commodity conference lately, you’re not alone – I did too. I caught up with Managing Editor Lisa Reisman to get the lowdown:
Taras Berezowsky: Wait, what happened? Commodity/PROcurement EDGE looks like it changed! Did it?
Lisa Reisman: We shortened the event when we realized that folks who care about conflict minerals are not necessarily the same folks who would find value from gathering commodity and/or metal price forecast information or understanding how to mitigate commodity price risk.
Since we recently held a conference entirely devoted to conflict minerals, we feel we need to explore other key issues that impact the readership of MetalMiner and Spend Matters – and that relates directly to commodity price volatility and commodity risk management.
Secondly, our market feedback suggested that if we could adjust our conference pricing, many more people would be able to attend the event. So we did just that – we drastically cut conference fees so more could participate. And we’re even offering procurement team group rates!
Have there been any major changes in the commodity markets this year?
LR: It’s interesting – in times of rising markets and sharp levels of volatility, our readership actually increases. Markets slowly drifting downward tend to make folks more comfortable and less concerned about sudden price changes. But when one actually looks at the month-to-month price changes for many metals categories that we track (and of course, we now have oil price spikes), the volatility remains significant. If companies lose sight of this fact, they will lose money.
Unveiling Accurate Aluminum and Steel Price Forecasts
Regarding metal and commodity outlooks, did you add any new areas of focus to the conference?
LR: You bet we did! For the first time, MetalMiner has developed statistical regression models for aluminum and all of the major forms of steel. We will be “unveiling” our price forecasting capability. But more importantly, our aluminum session will cover how analysts and third parties forecast their prices today and show attendees the strengths and weaknesses of various forecast methodologies. Here’s a sneak peek: Read Why Google Fails For Accurate Short-Term Metal Price Forecasts
Attendees will walk away with an 8-week price forecast and be able to take a look at what is called a back-test – in other words, our three-year track record of metal price predictions.
We are also going to spend a little time covering the GOES (grain-oriented electrical steel) market, looking at demand, supply and the market outlook for that critical material.
If I were someone who was looking forward to the conflict minerals session, will there be an opportunity to hear about the current public policy climate and how it affects my organization?
LR: We are still planning a Public Policy Debate, in which fiery speakers will cover potentially controversial topics in the current legislative sphere. Also, we’ll have several conflict minerals experts in attendance and can definitely field questions on the topic. We’ll make white papers available, as well as information on a low-cost conflict minerals compliance tool called CM CheckPoint.
Ooh, I see “Commodity Pulse–A Flip Chart Read” on the agenda, which sounds fun. What’s that all about?
LR: We received outstanding feedback on the various breakout sessions from last year. This time around we have many of the same top-scoring speakers leading those sessions and we thought it would be fun to have all of the speakers come on stage for all attendees, and walk through a quick flip chart of market price direction for 2014 based on the various categories covered at the event.
We will also open up that session for some Q&A, so if attendees disagree with what they heard, they will have the opportunity to “push back,” so to speak, on what the speakers have covered. The flip-chart ‘read,’ then, will essentially highlight longer-term price direction for various commodities – a great tool to help attendees’ companies manage risk in 2014.
On the technology side of the house – any procurement professional taking on any sourcing project involving technology will not want to miss Commodity/PROcurement EDGE. The conference will feature the leading thinkers and analysts examining a broad range of supporting procurement technologies.