The role of AI in procurement performance

AI performance achats
May 18th, 2021
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Artificial intelligence is a real performance lever and is already being used in many industries and professions, but it still has great potential for further development. With this in mind, AI could boost organisations' profitability by up to 38% by 2035[1]. When it comes to procurement, the first few case studies are taking shape, and the possibilities for using artificial intelligence are becoming clearer: from data processing to improving processes. Let's take a look at what artificial intelligence can do.

Processing procurement data using AI

First and foremost, artificial intelligence can manage all the data coming from a variety of sources, including online catalogues, supplier management software (SRM), contracts, management software (ERP) and more. Made up of a set of algorithms, AI can process and use this data, automatically consolidate and duplicate it, and index it in real time. Tools using this technology allow buyers to continuously monitor and use this data at every stage of the procurement process, from identifying suppliers to implementing contracts, entering and planning orders, monitoring receipt and invoicing, and so on.

Improving procurement processes using AI

By processing and analysing this data, value will be created throughout the Procure-to-Pay chain, from procurement categories to procurement management.

Procurement categories

Artificial intelligence can structure purchases according to a defined process based on specific specifications and product type. For example, when an internal customer submits a request, the tool will be able to indicate whether it is covered by a catalogue or a supplier contract, whether it is necessary to request a quote from a supplier or whether to proceed with sourcing.

Supplier relationship

AI can also take over multiple aspects of the supplier relationship, including risk and incident management. For example, the technology can alert users if deadlines are not observed or a commitment is not fulfilled by monitoring the supplier contracts schedule and the suppliers' level of quality.

Performance management

Artificial intelligence also helps buyers manage procurement performance, for example, by giving them visibility into costs and savings, accelerating decision-making, and automatically generating reports and customised dashboards depending on the intended audience.

Artificial intelligence enables buyers to work faster, more accurately and more efficiently. Let's consider the case of Crédit Agricole, whose procurement department estimated that it could divide the time taken to process its contracts by six with AI. More than ever, the role of procurement departments is geared towards value creation and innovation.