Embracing AI for Procurement Success
Written by Iain Campbell McKenna, Senior Global VP, LavenirAI
Every second headline hails the triumphs of AI – a force completely changing how we do business. In the middle of this, procurement often finds itself trailing behind, grappling with budget limitations or plain uncertainty on where to begin. According to an Amazon Business survey, a mere 45% of procurement professionals are eager for immediate AI integration, and while 80% plan to do so within years, we still lag behind other sectors. Consider marketers – a whopping 80% worldwide- employ AI daily.
Procurement’s primary question, then, is: How can we expedite AI adoption without excessive expenditure?
The answer is rooted in the basics. Take negotiation, for instance, an absolute linchpin in procurement. As per Deloitte’s CPO Survey, 71% of large businesses cite elevating profit margins as a top priority. Therefore, enhancing negotiation skills shouldn’t just be on a CPO’s agenda – it should be a top priority.
Despite recognising this potential, we often fail to exploit it fully. The hurdle? An old-fashioned, one-size-fits-all approach to training. We exist in an era encompassing five generations in the workforce, each bringing unique mindsets and expectations. A tailored and engaging learning experience is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity.
Picture this – employees, according to HR Drive, dedicate an astonishingly small 1% of their work time to professional development. That’s roughly five minutes daily. With such a limited scope, every moment of training must deliver value. Yet, contrary to this need, 12% of learners claim they apply their training to their jobs.
Adding to this, a study reveals that employees desire flexibility and regularity in training. 89% would like anytime/anywhere training, 85% want to choose training times to suit their schedule, and 80% believe frequent training trumps formal workplace sessions.
There’s more. Traditional classroom-style training appears to be faltering in one crucial aspect – knowledge retention. One study reveals disturbing evidence: 45% of employees spend at least 15 minutes every week searching for information taught in company training sessions.
And lastly, enter the ‘Forgetting Curve,’ a study that lends insight into how rapidly we lose information without consistent repetition and reinforcement. The findings are startling:
- Within one hour, individuals forget 50% of the information presented.
- Within 24 hours, they forget 70%.
- After a week, they forget a whopping 90% of the information.
True, we live in an era of information overload, but these statistics are alarming, particularly for procurement.
Here lies AI’s potential. AI allows cross-generational collaboration and integration, tailoring the learning experience to cater to different generations. With personalised, on-demand, bite-sized training modules available 24/7, AI can transform the learning process into a more engaging and effective experience.
This shift doesn’t merely automate – it prepares us for a future where our procurement function operates at peak efficiency, is always ready for negotiation and strategic decision-making, upskilling employees, and future-proofing and ensures we remain prepared for success.
As procurement professionals, we must recognise our training methods must resonate with all types of learners. From the Silent Generation to Gen Z, from auditory to visual to kinesthetic learners, we must shatter the illusion of one-size-fits-all and embrace new avenues of teaching.
Change is here, AI is here, and it’s here to stay. How we embrace this opportunity will echo in procurement’s future.