AI can help Businesses find Suppliers

Virginia Beach — Artificial intelligence platforms would save companies time and money when trying to find suppliers, a technology expert told attendees of the Business Opportunity Conference in Virginia Beach on Aug. 6.

Instead of scouring databases trying to compare vendors, an AI platform could allow procurement professionals to search for more specific, deeper capabilities of suppliers who would be an optimal match for a larger company, said Clifton Clark III, chief technology officer for Houston-based Computer Decisions.

It could not only improve efficiency, but more precise searching could also help smaller businesses get noticed by large corporations, he said. That could help companies not only keep track of supplier performance, but technology-enriched vendor management systems could help businesses meet their supplier diversity goals, Clark told attendees of a workshop.

More than 300 people attended the 42nd annual conference hosted by the Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

Not only would AI platforms more easily assess data, they could also "learn" what the buyers repeatedly look for and can make recommendations on potential vendors, Clark said. A data-rich, integrated system could mean buyers spending less time calling or emailing various vendors for more information to determine if they have needed requirements, like a particular certification, he said.

"In layman's terms, the machine is doing the thinking for you," he said.

An all-in-one system could also mean the boss making approvals and the system alerting staff without someone needing to remember to email them, Clark said.

Buyers can spend their time meeting suppliers and making the final decisions instead of figuring out where to start or losing time waiting on responses. And time is money when waiting on approvals through a process like construction.