Companies are leveraging artificial intelligence to drive up supply chain resilience, as issues such as materials shortages and natural disasters threaten business stability. \n\nEnterprises across industries will increasingly use AI for tasks such as answering complex procurement questions, which will in turn improve supply chain efficiency. \n\n\u201cSupply relationship management will enter an entirely new phase when so much more intelligence is available to buyer and supplier both,\u201d says Paul Blake, senior director of product marketing at GEP.\n\nOne major benefit of AI in supply chain management is that, in the source-to-pay process, companies can gather immediate intuitive intelligence. AI helps to turn past activities and successes into actionable strategies for future projects at a stroke. For example, AI can quickly answer: what is the best strategy for optimizing savings in a rising market for a particular category? \n\n\u201cWhen in the thick of running a complex RFP, we might ask what combinations of suppliers give the best savings and lowest risk,\u201d says Blake. \u201cWhat AI will do is radically reduce the effort required to reach the correct information.\u201d \n\nWhat\u2019s more, when dealing with vast repositories of documents such as contracts, AI allows users to request specific actions, such as which contracts are affected by a change in law or by new regulations. \n\nBy automating repetitive tasks, difficult problems get more attention, too. Automation elevates risk management, opportunity identification and effective relationship management.\n\nThe quest for the \u2018holy grail\u2019\n\nThese are \u201cthe holy grail of procurement, but so often are always on the horizon as savings tracking, invoice management, and order handling take up so much more of the bandwidth,\u201d says Blake. \u201cAutomation takes care of the drudgery so people can tackle these harder problems.\u201d\n\nAll of this enables enterprises to be proactive, rather than reactive. \n\n\u201cIt\u2019s huge that we face the possibility that we will be able to ask \u2018what if,\u2019 before it happens, and \u2018what now,\u2019 when it happens and for the answers to be rapid and actionable,\u201d adds Blake.\n\nOne scenario in which AI can help is with a category or sourcing manager at a data center who needs to run a request for proposal with over a dozen suppliers, some they\u2019ve worked with before. \n\nUsing AI, the manager easily has at their fingertips information on: \n\n\u00b7\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 How many suppliers or bids there are,\u00b7\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Which responded to the last RFP,\u00b7\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 And how this response compares to their last RFP.\u00a0\n\nTriggered by data, AI can also generate an email to suppliers who have yet to bid. \n\n\u201cSo, in that case, that mundane admin job is taken over by the AI bot,\u201d says Rakhi Mullick, VP of digital transformation at GEP.\n\nIn a second example, a sourcing manager wants to know which suppliers are registered for a particular category they\u2019re interested in. The manager asks AI who can provide them with this particular service, and they immediately receive a list of those suppliers. \n\nThen, AI can narrow down the list by both location and by which supplier ranks highest in terms of supplier performance score. \n\n\u201cSo, within a matter of a few seconds, you go from having no insight into knowing who you should be dealing with for a particular requirement to getting straight to the most important company,\u201d Blake says. \n\nFinally, AI helps with contracts, too. A manager working with contracts can seamlessly see which ones are expiring in the next quarter or next 90 days, then rank contracts in terms of total value. It\u2019s easy to quickly get a thorough summary of a given contract as well. \n\nGiven the multiple challenges today\u2019s supply chains face, driving efficiencies with technology must be a top priority.GEP\u2019s products have AI built in and they help companies maximize their supply chain efficiency. Learn more here.