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The Implications of Technological Advancement in Procurement

Technological advancement in procurement

Dr. Charlotte de Brabandt has been in procurement for almost 14 years and worked in five different industries, everything from automotive to tech. After nine years in automotive in the marketing procurement department for Porsche, she spent five years at Johnson & Johnson, specializing in MRO and energy procurement.

She now works at Amazon in digital procurement for Amazon. She also recently completed a Ph.D. in Innovation Technology. As a Digital and Technology Supply Chain Keynote Speaker & Host, Charlotte has experienced firsthand some of the technological advances the world marvels at—including Sophia the Robot.

Sophia the Robot

In 2017, Charlotte hosted the largest-ever TedX conference in Switzerland on “Professions of the Future.” It had been her dream to meet Sophia. She met the founder of Hanson Robotics and his team at this event. They spent time talking about AI and how it will benefit the world.

Charlotte hosted a charity gala and thought leadership exchange in New York. Sophia flew in from Hong Kong to attend. Charlotte has since hosted a few podcasts with Sophia during Covid. Charlotte was able to ask her questions and converse. It’s incredible how advanced AI has become and what the future holds.

The future of AI in procurement

We often come across people who are skeptical of the role of AI in procurement, who say things like, “ AI could never do a complex multiparty negotiation.” But technology is advancing quickly.

AI and robots will be able to help with complex negotiations. Charlotte points out that we’ve never had such great advancement in eMarketplaces.

Amazon Business has over 200 million products. Soon, they’ll have machinery ordering for themselves when they need more stock. There is still low-hanging fruit in the world of autonomous procurement.

When Sophiath e robot becomes more advanced, Charlotte thinks she could easily negotiate herself. It’s naive and foolish to think that it cannot progress to that stage. But it also scares everyone. People are afraid they’ll lose their jobs. What does the future of procurement look like?

The implications of technological advancement in procurement

Charlotte emphasizes that change is coming, and it’s a good thing. We can’t stop technology. While some jobs will be replaced, it will lead to the availability of new jobs. The Amazon Go store is an example of how technology may eliminate certain jobs while creating others.

Currently, you can walk into a store and choose what you want to purchase. The IoT sensors can track what you take with you, and when you walk out of the story, it charges you for what you’ve taken.

This technology can be easily implemented in football stadiums, movie theaters, etc. You’ll simply get electronically billed for whatever you took. This might remove the need for cashiers.

However, more people will be needed to stock shelves, code the programs, etc. Each technological advancement will help us. There’s no perfect technology out there. But we have suppliers and specialists who specialize in developing one small area of technology. That’s what we need to focus on.

Learn more about the future of technology in procurement, the importance of supplier relationships, and more in episode #379 of Negotiations Ninja.