WeAreBrain collaborate with a world-renowned FMCG company to provide their premium beverage brand with an innovative digital vendor procurement chatbot.

Written by: Samantha Wolhuter

Utilising the latest in digital bot technologies, WeAreBrain have developed a truly innovative vendor procurement product — an intuitive chatbot made in collaboration with one of the world’s biggest beverage companies. The customised chatbot is a helpful and informative technology which serves as a personal assistant to internal employees, assisting them with making new procurement orders more quickly and efficiently — saving time and money.

The Challenge: Update the Outdated

Before this, the process for this specific partner’s official vendor requests was fragmented and cumbersome, involving multiple complex Excel forms without validations and a process which needed to be driven by the requestor, who is usually unaware of all the necessary steps involved. Offline forms to collect vendor information caused manual validation issues and multiple data reentries. This inefficient and lengthy process caused low percentages of first-time-right requests and the unguided process caused long lead-times and delayed deliveries of the products and services in demand.

The Solution: A Virtual Personal Assistant

A new digital business process was created, one which is now orchestrated by the system. The WeAreBrain-made chatbot is able to track each individual request and it ensures that all participants are guided through each step of the process.

This chatbot is a virtual personal assistant that helps employees successfully perform each task in the process, such as: starting the request; the procurement to process the request in the most efficient way; supporting and guiding the vendors to fill in their data correctly and checking it with sources like DUNS and IBAN; and helping the controllers with the correct data in the correct format. Using Microsoft Luis and Microsoft Bot Framework 3, coupled with Azure and PHP on Laravel we were able to build a procurement assistant that is able to handle the complexities of the job.

We introduced an eSignature solution, saving time and paper for vendors. Additionally, the chatbot runs as a custom web-based chat interface on the existing SharePoint and uses existing Active Directory to identify the users. This technology comes with a likeable avatar character, instantly becoming a virtual colleague everyone can relate to.

For some of the required steps, we have used other user interfaces and channels to offer the most optimal user experience, such as online forms, emails and a secured web portal.

How will the use of this bespoke chatbot make things better?

This chatbot service will launch in Q1 2019. The business case of total cost-saving benefits made possible by its efficiency and easy-to-use interface will become apparent a year after introduction. Preliminary trials show a strong case for better user experience for all participants with positive reviews from the first use.

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Samantha Wolhuter
Author info
Samantha Wolhuter
Sam is in charge of writing a big portion of WeAreBrain’s creative content. She is a digital nomad always on the go, inspiring us with her words from some of the world's most beautiful locations.
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