Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Procurement Agility are the current big buzzwords in the procurement domain. COVID-19 has affected business operations in unpredictable markets and supply chains. Procurement professionals must enable greater agility and resiliency to handle this market volatility and uncertainty.
It is thus important to define how AI contributes to allowing the procurement function to be nimble and agile. Firstly agility is simply having the ability able to think and move quickly and easily. To achieve agility, procurement organizations need to have the knowledge and ability and this is where AI comes into the picture. AI uses smart computer algorithms to allow procurement departments to tackle work process complexity more efficiently and effectively leading to speed and flexibility which is procurement agility.
The AI Fit in Agile Procurement
The four pillars of procurement agility are Anticipation, Analytics, Responsiveness, and Collaboration.
In the anticipation pillar, intelligence and network is made possible when digital procurement systems are tied to the external environment for constant updates. In the analytics pillar, AI analyses data to provide useful, actionable, and predictive insights to allow procurement decisions to be quicker and more impactful. AI facilitates the responsiveness pillar by automation of mundane procurement tasks and also sieving out useful data quicker thereby freeing up capacity for more strategic tasks. The collaboration pillar looks at how AI links the whole supply chain from suppliers to customers to allow for advanced demand planning.
AI-Enabled Procurement Agility
The innovation of AI technologies is required for redesigning and developing the whole supply chain to keep up with the constantly changing marketplace. Procurement agility is achieved through digital transformation, whereby a virtual and paperless fully networked environment is embraced, leveraging on powerful cloud infrastructure for data-fuelled market intelligence, and predictive analytics. Freeing up time and resources to focus on value add activities to tackle strategic procurement needs.