“Data and information are not knowledge; they are like any raw materials, requiring some intervention and processing to make them useful” – Ronald J Bennett. This is a quote that can be found in Mintec’s literature and it is fitting to use when writing about the products offered by this company. I recently viewed a demo, given by Nick Peksa, Director, of the products offered by Mintec, which is a supplier of market intelligence and commodity data used mostly in the manufacturing and retail sectors. Mintec was founded in 1982 and is located in High Wycombe, UK. Its main client base is in Europe, U.S., Australia, and Asia, and it continues to expand globally. Although its main core is the food industry, Nick refers to Mintec as “a one-stop shop” for commodities.
Mintec offers an impressive price tracking and decision support tool called Datagain, which tracks factors that affect the costs and availability of not just a product, but also of its raw components, in addition to processing and delivery cost elements such as labor, energy, and transportation. This tool helps you fully understand a market or a product (think should-cost modeling), using public access information and pricing data contributed by various producers, traders and industry experts. What is impressive about Mintec is the comprehensive, yet detailed, amount of data that is available. This is due to the voluminous number of data series that you can choose from to create graphs. In Datagain, a “series” is a specific commodity which has “pricing or fundamental information.” Each series has a four-character code. For example, WROF is the code for ‘wheat milling Rouen France.’ To create a graph, you open the Datagain Series Selection Screen and choose the desired market name, the category name, and then the subcategory name. To aid in finding the correct series, there is a search feature and also a “Specification” button that can be selected to get more detail about a series. Data frequency and date range options are important and available for selection, along with conversion options for currency and unit. The screen has options for future/forwards values. Once you create a graph, the most current data will be presented each time it is opened. Also with this tool you can add trend lines, look at percentage changes, evaluate the difference between one market and another, create blends of raw components for finished product price, and analyze events that can affect a particular series (economic, political, weather).
There are over twenty tutorials on Mintec’s YouTube channel that are easy to follow. In addition to Datagain, Mintec offers these reports: Factsheets, Commodity Reports, Category Outlook Reports, and Price Indication Reports. The Factsheets provide helpful background information for specific commodities, including the production process. The Commodity Reports track market trend movements in the food and industrial sectors, while the Category Outlook Reports cover a market in greater detail. The Price Indication Reports cover multiple markets.
When asked how supply chain professionals most successfully use Datagain, Nick replied that those in larger organizations use the tool to increase efficiency, help in understanding prices/markets, and avoid duplication, which allows for time to be spent on more strategic initiatives. Smaller organizations with no category specialists, or with one or two departments, find Datagain and the reports to be helpful by providing data when time and resources are not as readily available. Mintec provides advanced Datagain training as well as specialist procurement courses.