Sourcing Automation - Bot Prototyping at Konnect ‘19

Alan Holland

April 6, 2022

Keelvar’s inaugural Konnect event took place on May 9th last in the city of bicycles and canals, Amsterdam. Konnect ‘19 drew a large audience of experts in Procurement across Europe as the focus of the day was Sourcing Automation. The event showcased real examples of Sourcing Bot prototypes tackling actual business challenges so digital transformation and hands-on problem solving was a core aspect of this unique event.

Participants from companies as diverse as Adidas, BMW, Siemens, Bayer and Philips absorbed the latest developments in this, the future of Procurement, in the form of practical workshops and both Guest and Keelvar Speakers.

Alan Holland, the CEO and Founder of Keelvar opened proceedings, before first welcoming guest speakers Dr Bernd Huber, who heads up Google’s Sourcing Center of Excellence and Jacob Larsen, Head of Digital Procurement at Maersk.

To round off the morning, Keelvar’s Principal Software Engineer David Devlin introduced Bot Skills & Rapid Bot Development, lifting the hood on the ingredients to Keelvar’s secret sauce.

At this point, participants aligned to their chosen tracks, and the Commercial and Workshop tracks kicked off. Commercial track participants were treated to industry veterans Rich Wilson (Director at Keelvar) and Toby Hannon (VP of Sales at Keelvar), who explored Sourcing tools of the past and present, as well as what the future holds with Sourcing Automation.

Agility was the resounding theme as it was highlighted how bots can be deployed in a commercially viable manner in organisations of any size due in part to Keelvar’s flexible approach to Sourcing Excellence.

Alan Holland then shared his expertise on Game Theory and Mechanism Design for Sourcing, followed by Wolfgang Schnellbächer of Boston Consulting Group (BCG) who addressed the audience on Pushing the Value Envelope through Digital Procurement.

In parallel, Build-A-Bot Workshops began, with Keelvar’s engineers hosting individual workshops for various key players in this space. These illustrated how we can not only automate repetitive manual tasks but also get our bots to make smarter decisions by enabling them to learn from historical data.

Keelvar Konnect Amsterdam ‘19 wound to a close with Benjamin Jakobus, Senior Software Engineer with Keelvar, showcasing two Bot demonstrations developed with Google and KPN. Main highlights included the bot detecting the event design, cost calculation and suppliers to invite. Using TensorFlow (an open source library developed by Google), it then used a trained neural network to make predictions as to which auction configuration would produce the most competitive bidding behaviour.

The action packed, information laden day powered by industry experts, sparked interesting and diverse conversations throughout the various coffee and lunch breaks scattered throughout the day. Drinks and food  (Heineken included naturally) provided in the bright and airy WickedGrounds venue after the event ensured a satisfying end to the first of its kind events.

The Keelvar team at Konnect'19

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