As the landscape for procurement has grown more complex, volatile and uncertain, distributors are being forced to transform their organization with information technology, according to Charles Bonomo, vice president and CIO of MSC Industrial Direct.

That shift has been dictated by computing power, the Internet and software-driven business processes that are no longer niche technologies, but standard tools available to businesses large or small.

Bonomo was a guest presenter at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors NAW 2011 Executive Summit back in January in Washington, D.C., where he emphasized that IT resources need to refocus on the areas across the supply and value chain where a competitive advantage can be created.

One specific area where MSC has staked this edge involves its Customer Supply Chain Solutions, which are modeled off vending machine-based on-site distribution, customer managed inventory, vendor managed inventory, ERP punch out, and web-based solutions to simplify a customers procurement process.

Software-driven business processes are becoming standardized and inter-connectable, especially in terms of cloud computing, said Bonomo. Such advancements are allowing us to assemble applications (business functionality) regardless of where the computing source resides or what the basis of the technology is to better serve our customers.