The New Procurement AI Skills Set?!May 09, 2023
As technology continues to advance, it's clear that AI will play an increasingly prominent role in the business world.
Procurement professionals in particular will need to adapt to the use of AI in their daily work in order to stay competitive and efficient.
► THE OBVIOUS ►
One obvious area where AI will make a significant impact is in the sourcing and negotiation process. With the ability to research and analyze vast amounts of data, AI will be able to assist procurement professionals in identifying the best suppliers and negotiating the best deals.
However, this will require procurement professionals to develop new skills in order to effectively work with AI technology.
► THE NOT-SO-OBVIOUS ▶︎
One such skill will be the ability to clearly articulate AI requests and ensure that the responses are within acceptable expectations.
The old acronym "GIGO" or "Garbage In, Garbage Out" could take on a whole new meaning and so there's a real need for clear cut, unbiased AI interrogation skills.
▶︎ SAVE COSTS VS ADDING VALUE ▶︎
As AI will save vast amounts of time, procurement professionals will have a choice - either reduce the number of team members or enhance their skills to focus on high-value options. Recent news about IBMs approach to HR roles is perhaps feeding the wrong narrative... but it's understandable.
▶︎ TACTICAL TO STRATEGIC ►
The use of AI in supplier negotiations is currently focused on relatively tactical goods and services, but it's creeping into more strategic considerations. As a result, procurement professionals will need to hone their negotiation skills and focus on the human interaction aspect of the process.
People still need to make decisions (or at least have the allusion of choice) and we (Procurement) will need to be more adept at articulating the results and explaining said outcomes.
▶︎ THE DRONES ARE NOT THE PROBLEM ▶︎
In addition, the use of AI will require a shift in mindset. Procurement professionals will need to become more comfortable with the idea of using AI as a tool rather than a threat. This will require a willingness to learn and adapt to new technology.
▶︎ MORE FOCUS ON YOUR SPECIALIST SKILLS ▶︎
Ultimately, the use of AI in procurement will provide an opportunity for professionals to focus on the very human skill of negotiating. While AI can assist with research, planning, analysis and some tactic agreements, human negotiators must practice and stretch those skills to deliver the best deals for the businesses.
As AI technology becomes more prevalent in the business world, procurement professionals must be prepared to adapt and develop new skills and maximise niche skills to higher levels.
The use of AI in procurement will provide opportunities for professionals to focus on the human aspect of the negotiation process, but it will also require a shift in mindset and a willingness to learn and adapt to these new technologies.