A new ‘Raconteur’ report has brought together experts from the procurement industry to outline the coming impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on procurement jobs and supply chain jobs.

Entitled “The AI Revolution in Procurement”, the report emphasises that while AI is currently at a nascent stage in the procurement and supply chain profession, it will certainly become more widely used in the near future. Analysts and observers are generally in agreement that this will change the nature of procurement jobs for both permanently-engaged professionals and procurement and supply chain interims alike.

AI is set to turbocharge procurement, the report predicts, from facilitating better deals to providing early warnings on risks to the supply chain. Singling out five areas where the technology will revolutionise procurement functions (P2P, risk management, contract management, strategic sourcing and innovation), it also examines how AI’s success will rely on the skills of the people occupying the procurement jobs of the near future.

Lower level tasks will, the report makes clear, be automated by the technology. One of the contributing experts, Claus Jepsen, explains that AI will render low-value administrative procurement jobs an unnecessary expense, freeing procurement professionals to improve their productivity.

He writes, “Like other professions, procurement professionals need to realise this now and begin to forge their creative and people skills.”

Jepsen predicts that AI’s sophisticated virtual digital assistants will render the task of learning how to navigate procurement screens and systems obsolete. Instead, procurement professionals will simply be able to interact with these digital assistants using natural language.

AI and machine learning specialist Dr David Hamilton of Liverpool University’s Computer Science Department concurs with Jepsen. He notes that while AI is capable of processing literally thousands of data points, it can’t replace what a human agent does with it.

Meanwhile, Kasia Borowska, MD of the global network of machine learning and AI experts “Brainpool,” believes that AI uptake will lead to new requirements for knowledge in data engineering and data analysis.

Procurement jobs are on a steep upward path of AI-driven transformation.