CareCredit Women's Wellness Index July 2024 Banner

RobobAI Soups Up Data to Streamline Global Supply Chains

robobai

In an era when artificial intelligence is reshaping industries, RobobAI, a global FinTech company, is leveraging AI technology to help organizations manage their supply chains. 

The company’s approach to spend analysis and procurement optimization is catching the attention of large enterprises seeking to enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs in an increasingly complex global marketplace. 

“The key business challenge we aimed to solve was to provide 360-degree visibility over the spend data of large organizations,” Nitin Upadhyay, the company’s Chief Data and Innovation Officer, told PYMNTS.
“By harnessing AI, RobobAI can rapidly consolidate, classify, and categorize vast amounts of spend data, offering insights that were previously difficult or impossible to obtain through traditional methods.”

As PYMNTS previously reported, businesses increasingly turn to advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and blockchain to transform and modernize every aspect of their supply chain processes.

AI-Driven Insights Yield Savings

The company’s AI-driven platform has demonstrated results for its clients. According to Upadhyay, a typical organization spending $1 billion annually on goods and services can realize savings of up to $6-8 million annually by adopting the insights generated by their platform. These savings come from various areas, including operations optimization, payment restructuring, and contract expansion opportunities.

Upadhyay shared an example of a client that identified a 52% reduction opportunity in purchase orders, leading to substantial cost savings while maintaining operational excellence. He said this level of optimization can be particularly impactful in industries with tight profit margins or those facing increased competitive pressures.

Another client uncovered the potential to transition 33% of their suppliers to commercial card transactions, simplifying payment processes and improving cash flow management. Such insights can provide a significant competitive advantage in an economic environment where cash flow is king.

RobobAI’s platform helped one client identify contract opportunities worth $98 million from tail suppliers — smaller vendors that often fly under the radar in traditional spend analyses. This discovery highlights the power of AI to uncover hidden value in areas that human analysts might overlook.

The company has also helped clients tackle the perennial problem of unclear expenditures. In one case, RobobAI’s AI-powered analysis uncovered $1 billion in expenditures with blank invoice descriptions, providing an opportunity for the client to gain a deeper understanding of their expenses and identify additional cost-saving measures.

Implementing AI in supply chain management has its challenges. Upadhyay points out that data wrangling — the process of cleaning, structuring, and enriching raw data — remains the most significant barrier to successful AI implementation. “AI can struggle with inconsistent, incomplete, or inaccurate data,” he notes. Overcoming these hurdles requires sophisticated techniques and tools, especially when dealing with large, complex datasets from multiple sources.

This challenge is particularly acute in supply chain management, where data often comes from a multitude of systems, suppliers and geographies. RobobAI’s success in this area speaks to the sophistication of its AI models and data processing capabilities.

Another significant problem is scalability. As datasets grow in size and complexity, AI systems must be able to process and analyze data efficiently without performance degradation. RobobAI has invested heavily in developing scalable infrastructure to meet this challenge, allowing it to serve large global organizations with complex, multi-tiered supply chains.

The company has also had to grapple with unstructured data — such as text, images, and videos — which requires more advanced AI techniques to analyze effectively. By developing natural language processing and computer vision capabilities, RobobAI has expanded the types of data it can analyze, providing even more comprehensive insights to its clients.

The Future of AI in Supply Chain Management

Recent geopolitical tensions, including trade disputes and the Ukraine conflict, have exposed vulnerabilities in traditional supply chain models. Climate change-induced extreme weather events have further complicated logistics operations worldwide. In response, companies are increasingly turning to AI-powered tools for better forecasting and risk management.

AI offers the potential to process vast amounts of data and identify patterns that humans might miss, which could be crucial for predicting disruptions and optimizing operations in real time. However, observers say the transition to AI-driven supply chains is challenging.

As AI continues to evolve, RobobAI is looking to expand its offerings. The company plans to provide direct access to its AI models, allowing customers to more easily benefit from their own finance and procurement data. This move towards democratizing AI capabilities could potentially accelerate the adoption of AI in supply chain management across industries.

Upadhyay also predicts a trend towards more specialized “off the shelf” AI models tailored to specific markets or industries. This approach could lower the barrier to entry for smaller organizations or those in niche industries, potentially expanding the market for AI-driven supply chain solutions.

The impact of AI on the workforce is an ongoing topic of discussion in many industries. At RobobAI, adopting AI has led to growth and new employee opportunities. 

“Employee sentiment is boosted by the new initiatives that we are developing, giving staff the ability to learn new techniques,” Upadhyay says.