May Roundtables Discussion Highlights:  Using AI in Procurement 

Two roundtables were conducted on this topic. The roundtable theme was how purchasing leaders and their teams are applying AI to their work tasks. Highlights of the roundtable discussions are summarized below. 

  • Director of Strategic Sourcing and Procurement Transformation at a glass manufacturer shared they are encountering AI functionality in some of the applications their team uses: 
    • Coupa has an embedded chatbot “Navi” to answer user questions and is able to access procurement policies tailored to specific countries 
    • Infor’s “WalkMe” can present preferred sourcing options based on internal data 
    • They plan to experiment with Fairmarkit for automating tail spend sourcing   
      They also shared that they don’t want to blend information from their company with public information because that will end up giving other access to their proprietary information.  They shared a use case where they’ve found AI useful – Input the item code and exemption rules, then have the AI generate the tax codes that apply. They are embedding applicable tax codes into POs and validating supplier invoices to ensure the proper tax codes are being used. 
  • Head of Americas Procurement for an auto industry chemicals manufacturer shared that they are not using AI chatbots for procurement due to confidentiality concerns. They are looking into using AI for tracking freight rates provided by 3PLs. 
  • Head of Procurement and Supply Management for an auto industry assembly line manufacturer shared that they are not allowed to use AI chatbots due to security concerns. They use AI within PowerBI for data interpretation and have found it to be “directionally helpful”.  They shared that AI functionality is being introduced into software that runs operations for their company. 
  • Head of Supplier Diversity for Strategic Procurement for a plastics packaging manufacturer shared that they are not using AI chatbots for procurement, but they are starting to use GoComet for tracking ocean freight costs. They are also talking to a provide for using AI to create RFXs. 
  • Director of Indirect Sourcing and Major Programs for a Fork Truck Manufacturer shared that they use ChatGPT for administration tasks and have found it to be useful when company-specific information is not required. They’ve also found it excellent for coding and generating dashboards. They mentioned that Microsoft Copilot has the ability to only look at internal data. Their view is that AI chatbots will be very valuable when you compare your data to the outside world, but they aren’t using it this way due to confidentiality concerns. 
  • Director of Procurement for a manufacturer of parts that go into space shared that their parent company is developing a proprietary AI tool that will be used across owned companies. They mentioned to use cases they’ve found valuable: 
    • Training AI chatbots to look for nonconformance in chain of custody paperwork based on risk factors  
    • Transcribing meetings and auto-generating action plans 
  • VP of Procurement for a Tanker Trailer manufacturer shared that they use ChatGPT 4o (requires a subscription) and rely on it daily. They mentioned three use cases: 
    • Creating flowcharts 
    • Drafting policies and contracts 
    • Data analytics (use a mock spreadsheet, then apply ideas to their own data) 
      They cautioned against copying-and-pasting chatbot-generated content.
  • Global Purchasing Director – Direct Materials for an automotive lighting suppliers shared they are using ChatGPT for external information, they don’t want to risk their company data going online. They use ChatGPT as an assistant and mentioned two use cases: 
    • Summarizing long emails to save time 
    • Updating training content (for training their team) 
  • Supply Chain Manager for an industrial lighting manufacturer shared that they use ChatGPT for building training programs, brainstorming with their team, and identifying best procurement practices. 
  • Global Director of Procurement and Supplier Development for a brake pedal manufacturer shared that they are using the free version of ChatGPT to update job descriptions.  They are interested in using AI for cost modelling, but are concerned about sharing sensitive information.