Bloomberg reports that Walmart " is leaning on AI for a more pragmatic purpose: bargaining with suppliers.
"The retail giant uses a chatbot developed by Mountain View, California-based Pactum AI Inc., whose software helps large companies automate vendor negotiations. Walmart tells the software its budgets and needs. Then the AI, rather than a buying team, communicates with human sellers to close each deal."
“We set the requirements and then, at the end, it tells us the outcome,” says Darren Carithers, Walmart’s senior vice president for international operations.
According to the story, Carithers says Pactum’s software - which Walmart so far is using only for equipment such as shopping carts, rather than for goods sold in its stores - has cut the negotiating time for each supplier deal to days, down from weeks or months when handled solely by the chain’s flesh-and-blood staffers. The AI system has shown positive results, he says. Walmart said it’s successfully reached deals with about 68% of suppliers approached, with an average savings of 3% on contracts handled via computer since introducing the program in early 2021."
- KC's View:
So in other words, suppliers dealing with Walmart could, in the future, find themselves essentially negotiating with a version of Arnold Schwarzenegger's character from The Terminator? And when Walmart's AI, dissatisfied with the terms being proposed, says, "Hasta la vista, baby," it is going to mean it.