In the ever-evolving landscape of procurement, one name stands out as a visionary leader, shaping the future of the industry with a profound understanding of its nuances. Tim Shahriar Tabrizi, the CEO of Ihr Coaching Institut, is not just another executive; he’s a seasoned manager with over two decades of experience in procurement. His insights and expertise have earned him a well-deserved reputation as a sought-after speaker, a fixture at major industry events in Europe, including PROCON POLZAK. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the mind of Tim Tabrizi to explore the exciting future of AI in procurement and gain a unique perspective from a true industry luminary.

What is your opinion on the role of humans when AI will be the most used path approach by Procurement?

Tim: As AI becomes the dominant approach to procurement, the role of humans will change but remain essential. Humans will continue to make strategic decisions, manage supplier relationships and ensure ethical sourcing practices. They will adapt to unforeseen challenges and drive innovation. Human oversight will be critical for ethical AI operations and governance. Complex negotiations and unique situations will require human negotiation skills and empathy. AI will handle routine tasks and data analysis, freeing humans for more strategic activities. Collaboration between humans and AI will be essential for optimal outcomes. In essence, while AI improves efficiency, humans will focus on strategy, ethics, innovation and relationship management in procurement.


Is artificial intelligence a viable solution for every company, especially when considering those undergoing a transition and operating within budget constraints?

Tim: The adoption of AI in procurement is not universal and depends on factors such as company size, industry, and budget constraints. For organizations in transition with tight budgets, several strategies can be considered. First, assess whether AI aligns with strategic goals and operational needs. Be mindful of budget constraints and conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the potential benefits of AI justify the costs. Start with smaller AI projects targeting high-impact areas to learn and adapt gradually. Explore partnerships with AI solution providers that offer flexible pricing models, and consider cloud-based solutions for scalability without high infrastructure costs. Invest in training existing staff to work with AI tools rather than hiring new AI experts. Prioritize AI initiatives that promise quick ROI or direct cost savings. Look for government grants or industry incentives to support AI adoption. Ensure data quality and infrastructure readiness for AI implementation. In short, while AI can benefit procurement, a thoughtful, cost-effective approach is essential for organizations in transition with limited budgets.

What are the primary barriers preventing procurement from adapting to evolving trends, and what types of partnerships should organizations seek to overcome these obstacles?

Tim: The biggest challenges procurement faces in adapting to change include resistance to change, skills gaps, legacy systems, budget constraints, regulatory issues and lack of executive support. Collaboration with multiple departments and external partners is critical to overcoming these hurdles. Internally, procurement can partner with IT on technology implementation, maintenance and data integration. Finance can help with budget allocation and cost-benefit analysis. Legal and compliance can provide guidance on regulatory compliance, while external consultants can bring industry expertise and fresh perspectives. Suppliers can be strategic partners in innovative sourcing solutions, fostering mutually beneficial relationships. Industry associations provide resources, benchmarking data and networking opportunities to stay on top of trends. Technology providers offer access to cutting-edge tools and expertise. In summary, successful procurement transformation requires overcoming internal and external obstacles through effective collaboration with IT, finance, legal, consultants, suppliers, industry associations and technology providers, with the ultimate goal of driving positive change and innovation in procurement practices.

What potential risks does artificial intelligence introduce into the realm of procurement, and what strategies and safeguards should be implemented to ensure ethical and fraud-free decision-making when utilizing AI in this context?

Tim: AI in procurement poses several risks, including bias, privacy, malicious data manipulation, cybersecurity threats, lack of transparency, ethical concerns, vendor dependency, inaccurate predictions, supply chain data security, and regulatory compliance. To mitigate these risks, organizations should take precautions such as regularly auditing AI algorithms for bias, using diverse and representative training data, and employing fairness-conscious machine learning techniques. Strong data encryption, access controls, and compliance with data protection laws are critical for data privacy. Preventing malicious data manipulation requires anomaly detection and data validation. Improving cybersecurity requires robust authentication, intrusion detection, and regular security assessments. Explainable AI (XAI) techniques can provide transparency into AI decision-making processes. Establishing ethical guidelines for the use of AI in procurement, and regularly reviewing decisions against these guidelines, helps address ethical concerns. Diversifying AI vendor relationships, maintaining in-house expertise, and negotiating vendor contracts are ways to avoid vendor lock-in. Continuous monitoring of AI performance, validation of predictions, and human oversight are necessary to correct inaccuracies in AI-driven predictions. Establishing data security protocols and contracts with vendors helps protect shared data. Staying abreast of, and complying with, evolving AI and procurement regulations is essential to avoid legal and financial repercussions. In summary, a comprehensive approach to mitigating the risks associated with AI in procurement requires a combination of technical, organizational, and regulatory precautions to ensure the safe and ethical use of AI.


In the context of AI integration in procurement, is there a designated “safe space” for professionals in this field

Tim: In the context of AI entering procurement, there is no one-size-fits-all “safe place” for procurement professionals, but several strategies can be employed:

  • Education and training: Invest in AI training to enable procurement professionals to work effectively with AI technologies.

  • Start Small: Start with specific use cases to learn and adapt without overwhelming the team.

  • Collaborate: Encourage collaboration between procurement and AI professionals for customized solutions.

  • Ethical guidelines: Develop and adhere to ethical guidelines for the use of AI in procurement.

  • Data Quality: Prioritize data quality and establish governance practices for reliable AI insights.

  • Transparency: Promote transparency with explainable AI techniques for understandable decision-making.

  • Regular Audits: Regularly audit AI algorithms to identify and mitigate biases and inaccuracies.

  • Data Security: Implement robust data security measures to protect sensitive procurement data.

  • Vendor Selection: Select AI solution providers that align with organizational values and requirements.

  • Continuous Learning: Stay abreast of AI developments to adapt and leverage AI’s potential while minimizing risk.

In summary, a “safe place” in AI integration for procurement involves education, ethics, collaboration, vigilance, and continuous adaptation to effectively leverage AI while ensuring ethical and secure procurement practices.


Is it possible that there is an undue apprehension regarding artificial intelligence in the field of procurement? AI has the capacity to enhance individual decision-making, conduct analyses, and make predictions impartially. When seeking answers from AI, it remains indifferent to roles such as sales or procurement. Paradoxically, could we be headed towards a future where AI holds sway over decision-making, potentially supplanting traditional notions of purchases and sales?

Tim: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a powerful tool that can assist in decision making, analysis, and prediction across multiple domains. It operates neutrally, without personal bias or motivation, and treats all tasks and queries equally. AI has the potential to increase efficiency, automate routine tasks, and provide data-driven insights, allowing humans to focus on more strategic aspects of their work. However, concerns about AI include fears of job displacement due to automation, ethical considerations about its use, potential biases inherited from training data, the need for human judgment in complex decision-making, and concerns about data security and privacy. While the role of AI in decision making may expand in the future, concerns arise from the need to thoughtfully manage its integration. The partnership between humans and AI is likely to continue, with AI handling routine tasks and supporting decision-making, while humans bring their unique skills, ethics, and creativity to more complex aspects of work. Striking the right balance between human and AI involvement will be a critical consideration in the evolving landscape of AI integration.


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