Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence: the new frontiers for international buyers
28 February 2023
The last few years have had a strong impact on global habits, changing many established practices in the most diverse areas: from healthcare to energy supply, via channels for acquiring and sourcing raw materials. Distribution chains and production chains have had to recalibrate their way of doing business by resorting to cutting-edge, intuitive and immediate channels, abandoning the patterns of the past. Artificial Intelligence has responded to these new needs, assuming a primary and increasingly decisive role in the strategic economic processes of national economies and international buyers.
RAW MATERIAL SCOUTING
Over the last three years, companies have been looking for alternative solutions to obtain strategic resources and raw materials such as energy, semiconductors, cip but also foodstuffs, some of which have become difficult to obtain due to the pandemic crisis combined with geopolitical instability.
While scouting for suppliers has always been a strategic activity for companies, with the onset of crises this process has become increasingly decisive. To optimise search times and process supplier chains in real time, companies are increasingly resorting to Artificial Intelligence. Through AI, the scouting process makes use of new digital models and tools for data collection and analysis, enabling buyers to improve their search thanks to the automation of activities and the predictive power of AI. Moreover, the fields of use and analysis of artificial intelligence are many and all of them mainly concern strategic and energy supply chains.
STRATEGIC SUPPLY CHAIN ANALYSIS
Artificial Intelligence for companies has now become an ‘irreplaceable decision-making advisor’, always ready to provide accurate predictive models on the availability and costs of raw materials, monitoring the various factors that determine market volatility (supply and demand for a commodity, stock market prices, transport costs, currency movements, weather conditions, climatic risks), integrating external data with the company’s internal data. The AI is in effect the main consultant for the constant and up-to-date retrieval of comprehensive information on the industry, the supplier market and customer demand.
COSTS AND SECURITY STUDIED BY THE ALGORITHM
Constant and effective communication with suppliers and customers, analysis of predefined availability of sufficient safety stocks to cover the risk of material shortages or price/cost increases, are just some of the prerogatives that a specific algorithm processes in real time to enable the company to know and process supply requests.
In the energy field, the ‘virtual consultant’ is able to provide forecasts on the availability and price trends of raw materials, e.g. by cross-referencing supply and demand data. By monitoring the wholesale reference prices of electricity and gas, the artificial intelligence algorithm is able to provide companies with forecasts useful for intercepting market shifts, predicting electricity and gas price trends, possible cost reductions and increasing margins in order to propose more competitive offers to their customers.
The constant use of artificial intelligence has already revolutionised the world of business, which, thanks to AI, is already living the future. Algorithms make it possible to understand in advance how and how much to buy a certain good, signalling needs based on actual warehouse supply and production levels and offering, in fact, security to the supply chain and consumers, increasing the sustainability of consumer goods and decreasing opportunities for speculation.