AI: a real asset for purchasing managers

Technologies such as artificial intelligence, RPA, and chatbots are developing and offer new possibilities for processing, sharing, and automation. These do not go unnoticed by purchasing managers who must now understand these new technologies.

AI is not yet a key issue in business, 7% of purchasing managers say they lack information. in this regard according to a study * carried out by Axys Consultants and Ivalua. However, it turns out to be a real asset for purchasing managers. 52% of those surveyed consider it very useful to consolidate and categorize expenses and 43% to optimize and automate purchasing actions.

The impacts of AI are considered very positive by purchasing managers, they believe that its first consequence is to allow them to focus on tasks with greater added value, then improve your operational performance and make decision making more reliable. They position on the last steps of the podium the fact thatdehumanizes relationships with their environment and lead to job cuts.

Despite this madness only 15% have already configured AI applications43% are starting to work on the issue and 8% feel they are ahead of their competition.

The objectives

AI must meet very specific activity management objectives: improving data quality and optimizing purchasing processes comes first among respondents, with 84%. Purchasing managers are then 82% to cite time saved in operational activities and 77% risk prevention and improvement of supplier knowledge. Finally, the improvement in internal customer satisfaction is mentioned (70%) and half of the respondents mention financial savings.

AI is very useful for 39% of them to improve purchasing processes and billing and 30% to improve contract management.

A committed future

The first obstacle to the development of AI is the lack of competence in this discipline within the company (62%), then the lack of convincing feedback (56%) and resistance to change from employees (51%). Other reasons are the offer considered incipient in the market (39%) or the fear of not being able to interpret the results (31%). Lack of support from top management is seen as an obstacle for only 28% of respondents.

The health crisis has also slowed this development. 50% of the departments surveyed say they will have a significant impact on their role. and 53% indicate that some investments in tools and solutions will be postponed.

In terms of AI implementation forecasts, the three priorities for purchasing managers are fraud detection analysis tools, the conversational assistant (chatbot or voicebot) and the automaton robot for class C purchases.

* “AI and purchases: inventory, deployment forecasts and impact on the Purchasing Departments” carried out by Axys Consultants and Ivalua in the last quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021 with 103 Purchasing Directors.

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