The recent leaps in technology are having an enormous influence on almost every industry, and this includes the fields of procurement and supply chain. As they have consistently embraced technology, procurement and supply chain process have not been left behind by the third industrial revolution. However, procurement staff must still be aware of the latest developments, particularly in regards to blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), to ensure that they remain on top of the digital transformation.

What is blockchain?

In simple terms, blockchain can be described as a decentralised digital database that creates a log of customer and client transactions. Every transaction within a blockchain is verified and stored, and this transaction is linked to the previous one. It allows you to trace transactional history with ease and, since it is decentralised, any transaction history is virtually tamper-proof.

What is AI?

AI is nothing but machine learning, so it could be said that AI is everything. This technology designs intelligent machines that can build its experience, learning and improving with every interaction. Some examples of AI include Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and of course self-driving cars. In relation to the procurement industry, AI can help to manage processes, improve systems and transactions, and make life easier for professionals.

Using blockchain and AI in procurement

AI can be used to automate the spend management process or indeed any other process within procurement, providing that companies have an adequate technological infrastructure in place. On the other hand, blockchain can prevent fraud in procurement invoice management, as invoices would require verification at every step, from start to finish.

Both blockchain and AI offer managers an opportunity to re-assess their processes and see how both technologies, if used correctly, could benefit their organisation. This would mean that procurement must be made an integral part of the organisational structure so that it can make decisions with ease.

As well as refining their existing infrastructures, organisations need to focus on procurement recruitment so that they can hire tech-savvy professionals who are comfortable with the latest emerging technologies. Both blockchain and artificial intelligence can transform procurement into a prime example of technological efficiency and cost saving excellence without affecting quality. To unlock this potential, however, organisations must first discover and employ the right professionals to facilitate this change.

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