Xeeva: accelerating procurement results with AI
With a focus on simplifying the source-to-settle process, Xeeva seeks to shake up the supply chain industry with its patented artificial intelligence (AI).
Due to the increasing influence technology has had on the way business is conducted worldwide, it has never been so important to leverage new processes and applications to set organisations apart from competitors, particularly in the supply chain space. Xeeva prides itself on accelerating the advancement of procurement. As a cloud-based, full suite procurement and sourcing software, Xeeva is flexible and adaptable in order to meet its customer’s needs. Established in 2014, Xeeva is recognised as a global provider of AI-powered source-to-pay software and was named a Gartner Cool Vendor for Procure-to-Pay Applications in 2018. Operating in over 45 different countries and 18 languages, its platform works in all major currencies and units of measure.
Dilip Dubey, Founder and CEO of Xeeva, believes that most procurement today is outdated and is in need of a significant overhaul. “As amazing as the talent has been in procurement, there hasn’t been any real innovation recently,” affirms Dubey. “People do procurement the same way as they have always done it for the last 20-25 years. If someone needs something; they call or email their buyers, or buyers get a request from a workflow system.” With an ambition to make procurement more strategic, Xeeva is re-evaluating how to make procurement more efficient. With an amplified dependence on technology tools to drive operations, Dubey believes AI should be considered because of its potential to help businesses grow. “There’s so many different benefits to AI,” says Dubey. “In some cases, it’s enabling us to do things that humans simply couldn’t do. It’s allowing us to speed up manual tasks that would otherwise have taken much longer if performed by a person.”
Xeeva’s patented AI goes beyond just basic tasks such as picking suppliers, automating tasks, and providing recommendations. Its technology can cleanse, classify, and enrich data down to the line-item level in just minutes, versus the hours or days it would take to do manually. Xeeva’s procurement technology also has domain context built into its core. Because of this, Xeeva is able to provide unprecedented savings, hyper-efficiency, and real bottom-line impact. “In procurement, I’m looking for hard results,” affirms Dubey. “This remains the single biggest challenge that all companies have to face with their AI initiatives. There has to be value in what you’re trying to achieve, otherwise what’s the point?”
While there is a growing fear in the industry that the adoption of AI could replace human’s jobs, Dubey believes it is actually quite the opposite. “The worry that AI will eliminate jobs in procurement is misplaced. In fact, I actually believe AI will create a lot more jobs than it will displace but the only caution is that the job just won’t be the same,” he explains. “Take the evolution of computers, for instance. There’s a lot more jobs now than there were previously because of the acceleration of computers, and there is every chance that AI will follow the same path. AI is going to create jobs in procurement which we haven’t even heard of yet. There is the possibility that the definition of current job roles might change, but that’s just evolving with the times. Of course, there’ll be some upheaval. However, to think that humans could be replaced completely is very linear thinking and I don’t subscribe to it.”
With the procurement world constantly transforming, it’s clear that technology has become king. For businesses to succeed long-term, it’s vital to adapt and respond to the latest trends in order to remain agile. Looking to the future, Dubey has clear ideas on how Xeeva can continue to leverage its AI to provide value over the next few years and beyond. “I believe that in the future, data which is imperfect and hard to get to in procurement today will become perfect and abundant,” he notes. “What used to take six months and 100 different people to solve can now be done overnight through AI. Procurement in five years won’t look like the procurement of today – that much is guaranteed. Most of the transactional work and lots of the heavy lifting will be done by new technology such as AI and blockchain. I expect it to become extremely strategic in the continuum of the world of business because it’s no longer one company supplying to another or one firm buying from the other. The world is transforming.”
Japan Seeks to Revive Stalled Semiconductor Industry
Post-pandemic, Japan has seen the consequences of relying solely on foreign imports for its semiconductors. Over 64.2% of its chips are usually imported from South Korea and Taiwan, leaving the country dependent on its neighbours. Industries from auto manufacturers to consumer electronics firms wait for chips, to no avail. But now, the Japanese government looks likely to put real funding behind its semiconductor industry, with top officials emphasising their support.
Domestic supply chains have never been more important. Rather than remain tied to international shipping routes during shortages and delays, governments are doing everything in their power to develop local lines of supply. But the question remains: can Japan pull it off?
How Will Japan Pay For It?
Herein lies our first issue. Japan’s debt has rapidly increased over the past few years, and the semiconductor industry will need roughly a trillion yen—US$9bn—in this fiscal year alone. This cost, however, pales in comparison to what Japan could lose if it fails to keep up with Europe and the US. Both nations have launched aggressive funding measures to revive their local semiconductor industries. And if Japan refuses to invest due to its debt, it could slow down progress in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to autonomous driving.
According to Tetsuro Higashi, the former president of Tokyo Electron and Japan’s top government advisor in semiconductor strategy, ‘If we miss this opportunity now, there may not be another one’. Yet one advanced wafer fabrication factory can cost more than US$10bn, and any money poured into the industry will go fast. That’s why Japan, rather than invest trillions and trillions in failing domestic firms, is considering a second option.
What Do They Plan To Do?
Japan now intends to look abroad and convince overseas chip foundries to come to its shores. Its past failures mostly centred on trying to merge domestic firms that were already going through tough times. ‘This sort of made-in-Japan self-reliance approach hasn’t worked out well’, said Kazumi Nishikawa, a director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s IT division. ‘This time the goal is to offer a strong incentive for an overseas logic foundry to come to Japan’.
As follows, Japan will now reach out to industry partners and leaders in other countries, including the industry heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), to build Japanese bases. According to the South China Morning Post, the heart of Japan’s mission is a US$337.2mn research and development project in Tsukuba that will involve TSMC and more than 20 Japanese firms. ‘I think we need to cooperate with our overseas counterparts’, said Akira Amari, a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. ‘[And] TSMC is the world’s top logic chipmaker’.
Indeed, if that’s Japan’s strategy, the future looks bright. TSMC recently set up a venture near Tokyo to research energy-efficient 3D chips with several Japanese partners. And in the future, the multinational chipmaker may consider expanding its Japanese operations—that is, if government incentives pave the path forward.