Using AI to discover innovative suppliers and cost saving potential


Using AI to discover innovative suppliers and cost saving potential

Innovation and disruptive events are continuously reshaping the supply chains in the electronics and technology industry. Technological advancements and changes in customer preferences and needs require enterprises to be able to foresee and act upon where the market is going. Therefore, enterprises need to know which suppliers are capable of delivering or collaborating on the development of new products that fulfill the market’s demands.

The Swiss based “Network of Excellence in Applied Electronics and Technologies”, exact, had invited scoutbee to present at an online conference of the network’s Supply Chain Management group on March 8. The topic of the meeting were the possibilities and limitations of procurement platforms for sourcing locally and globally. 

The amount of data on suppliers and their capabilities is steadily increasing. Firstly, for procurement teams it is essential to know which suppliers are out there. And secondly, they need to know what data and insights on potential new suppliers they can rely on to decide whether or not they want to consider them for further steps”, as scoutbee’s Alexander Warmulla put it during the presentation on the benefits of using Ai in procurement.

Use AI in procurement to discover innovative suppliers

With conventional scouting methods, buyers are allocating around 27 per cent of their time to research on new suppliers, Warmulla outlined by citing a Gartner report. A lot of the tasks include manual and often tedious steps in the scout-to-source process. This influences the overall time to market when launching a new product. Worse: The research process tends to even increase in time when the parts needed are characterized by a high degree of complexity, like they usually are in the case of the electronics and technology industry. 

This is where  AI-powered supplier search can help: by combining relevant keywords or certificates – to only name a few variables – sourcing managers can identify relevant suppliers based on their digital footprint. They benefit from an algorithm capable of screening the global internet. This task would take months to years if done by an individual without the help of AI in procurement. 

These previously unknown suppliers often prove themselves to be offering innovative products and production capabilities. In many cases, scoutbee customers observed that these new suppliers were offering their goods and services at competitive prices when compared to existing suppliers. The Siemens scouting case for electronics for building services serves as an example of this. 

Identify cost saving potential

Furthermore, the customer example of Siemens also shows how making use of AI-powered supplier search can decrease the scouting process time by up to 90 per cent. It not only allows for a quicker scouting process: the time invested into the project by an individual buyer significantly decreases, freeing up time for more strategic tasks, including benchmarking existing suppliers against the newly identified ones.


This underlines that the human factor is still at the core of any scouting and sourcing effort. Before concluding  the meeting, host Susanne Landholt posed the question if procurement platforms could replace sourcing managers. “On the contrary, strategic procurement and the people working in it are getting more important than ever”, said Warmulla.  Digital tools should be perceived as a helper to master the overflow of data: Enterprises will increasingly rely on procurement divisions that utilize all means to source from the best supply options available and apply a proactive approach to procurement.  


About exact 

exact  is the “Network of Excellence in Applied Electronics and Technologies” based in Switzerland. As a non-profit organization, it is dedicated to igniting industry-wide talks and discussions on opportunities and challenges of the electro and technology industries.


About adinum 

Susanne Landholdt and her team at adinum  are dedicated to establishing and ensuring sustainable supplier management. Thanks to their solid, technical basis as well as broad experience in supply chain excellence, adinum is able to meet user requirements in a pragmatic and solution-oriented manner. 

Contact us today to find out more about AI-powered AI-powered supplier search.