Purchasing has a primary role in the day to day life of any large company. Increasingly, its effects are perceived and valued within the corporation. Gradually, this area moved from a sector that was practically limited to fulfilling pre-established tasks to playing a highly strategic role, capable of ensuring economy, development and corporate productivity.
When efficiently managed, purchasing planning results in the most cost-effective goods and products for the company, combining quality with price. Moreover, it is up to these professionals to establish an excellent relationship with suppliers, being able to negotiate and guarantee the most advantageous payment terms, deadlines and delivery.
However, like any other function within the supply chain, purchasing is being radically impacted by emerging technologies. Artificial Intelligence (AI), for example, whose transformative effects are often associated with areas such as sales or customer service will directly impact the procurement industry in the coming years.
To get an idea, Gartner believes that business AI tools should move nearly $ 3 million over the next three years. Keeping an eye on this reality, developers have been researching and enhancing this technology for different corporate functions. After all, these devices are capable of learning commands and performing automatic functions.
Starting to design a highly intelligent, integrated, and technological purchasing department can be a great pioneer and generate competitive advantages in different spheres. Therefore, a manager must necessarily be aware of these trends.
In today’s purchasing department reality, AI already allows for considerable productivity increases, staff time savings, repetitive process automation, minimized error incidence and much more assertive interpretation of information.
In practice, the entire purchasing cycle can be optimized, such as requisition analysis, vendor selection, price quotations, purchase order issuance, delivery calculation, goods acceptance, and invoice approval.
According to Wadav, how AI can be useful now and in the coming years for your company’s purchasing department:
Review documents better for errors
A large company has a plethora of documents generated daily by its dealings with suppliers. The result is a database that often leads to a slow interpretation. Generally, there are expert analysts responsible for a manual analysis, checking daily if there are any errors in the minimum trades.
There are already AI tools developed to track the issuance of these files. Through algorithms that perform efficient cross-checking, the review of invoices, statements, receipts, deposits, and other financial aspects can be automatically evaluated. Any mistake, however slight, can be identified by the system with unprecedented agility and effectiveness.
In addition, tools called OCR (Optical Character Recognition) will be able to organize and interpret contracts and invoices.
Discover the most beneficial suppliers
Depending on the segment, a large company can have up to thousands of suppliers. Each commodity choice, however small the financial transaction it manages, will be added to a large amount at the end of each month. Therefore, one must always choose the best option for the corporation, with no doubt about the effectiveness of that choice.
Intelligent data analysis, based on Big Data and Machine Learning, is already widely used to better understand the consumer and specify product visibility to a specific audience. Innovative companies are adopting this same logic for other stakeholders, especially suppliers. This is done through tools that can disclose the company to potential partners around the world.
The result is that different market players, who would never have the opportunity to know your company by common means will discover the corporation by sending unimaginable partnership proposals.
This path can also be the other way around, where the corporation is the one who discovers these potential partners and sends its negotiating proposals. This is done by AI-supported search engines, with much more accurate results than conventional search engines. The price quotation, in this case, is done in an automated, selected and comprehensive way.
The purchasing department is one of the most methodical of the company’s entire production chain. For many years, professionals with a lot of creative potentials were forced to limit their ability to perform repetitive and inflexible tasks. This reality has already begun to be modified by the implementation of chatbots.
Still being experimented with for many companies, this software capable of simulating human interaction through pattern identification will replace professionals in bureaucratic activities. By being able to adapt and learn as it is used, this system will optimize the industry by eliminating the need for employees to devote themselves exhaustively to a single, repetitive function.
Guarantees anti-fraud security
Payments are another point that can have a highly positive impact due to AI developments. Almost every large company establishes distance relationships with suppliers. This generates financial transactions through conventional bank transfers. Depending on the situation, a manager may fall prey to fraud, malicious actions and other possibilities for scams.
Many Artificial Intelligence systems already use the introduced encryption feature; such as blockchain. Automatically, processes such as contract validation, purchase orders and payments will already be protected by this technology, capable of identifying potential threats.
It is common for a manager to worry about whether goods will arrive in a timely manner or not. In this regard, evolution occurs through Artificial Intelligence applied to the Internet of Things context. Technological development has allowed the development of a network of components that were previously impossible to connect with each other.
AI then uses systems that are specifically applied to these devices and can accurately and intelligently track every step of the goods from purchase to delivery. In addition, it will also be increasingly possible to obtain tools that collect full-time, true and detailed data from suppliers’ production by looking at their inventory and production structure.
It was clear how technological development has already begun to change the reality of the purchasing department in companies, right? Remember that the more you become familiar with this new scenario, the more likely you are to drop in front of your competitors. After all, innovating is always a synonym for success.