By Alastair Roy, ARO Procurement
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is very much one of the hot topics around the world right now, with individuals voicing concerns around the rapidly evolving capabilities without necessarily knowing how to control it and un-invent it if developments turn out to have less positive impacts on business and society.
Lots of AI hyperbole will likely be tempered eventually and the real benefits will be harnessed to work with regular human intelligence. AI within Procurement in Hospitality can assist businesses, amongst many variables, to identify data trends which can then be used to solve problems and help inform decision making.
AI Chatbots also use native language to create dialogue which sounds like a human speaking, with the ability to compose sensible sounding written material. A recent Chatbox experience when checking the international roaming set up on my mobile account was impressive because only a few months ago, the functionality on the same Chatbot was bordering on useless, but in what seems like a very short window between interactions, the response this time was accurate and quite disconcerting in how it pre-empted an answer to a vaguely formed thought.
With the seeming existential threat from AI, questions abound on what the real impact will be. Who knows?
However, human ingenuity will likely prevail as always and arguably it is much better to lean into the sense of uncertainty all around and seize the opportunity to continuously improve our own contributions to our businesses building on our strong knowledge foundations.
Procurement efforts during recent and continuing disruptions caused by world events and economic pressures have demonstrated an ability to innovate and help make businesses leaner and more agile at the same time as delivering on strategic board objectives for the function.
Getting back to basics, spend management is a crucial tool in an organisation’s armoury to ensure procurement decisions are focused on the profit line and wider organisational efficiencies. Spend management is concerned with analysis of spend, targeted sourcing to maximise economies of scale and prevent dilution of spend across too many suppliers in the same categories.
It also deals with supplier relationship management to work collaboratively with the key partners across your supply chain to reduce costs, de-risk, enhance relationships to capture opportunities at an early stage and deliver on increasingly important ESG factors.
Procurement has multiple roles which can be condensed into sourcing, negotiation, contract management and supplier relationship management. Underpinned with a strong understanding of an organisations over-arching objectives, market trends and supply chain capabilities, Procurement well executed will help any business to succeed.
Uncertainty is probably the only certainty in life and despite the clamour for a pause on AI, it seems that it is probably unstoppable at this stage.
The best suggestion is to continue to learn as much as we can and weave our understanding into our business lives, not forgetting the essential humanity in our dealings with people and suppliers to ensure we all thrive and succeed with the Chatbot of uncertainty.