PTTPM using AI for letters of credit
Targeting efficient international trade
PTT Polymer Marketing (PTTPM), a subsidiary of PTT Group, has embraced artificial intelligence (AI) for letters of credit (LC), making it the first firm in Asean to improve its international trade process efficiency.
"Emerging technologies like blockchain and AI help improve import and export efficiency, not just in the private sector but also at the national level," said Narongchai Pisutpunya, president of PTTPM, a polymer sales and marketing company.
In the past six months, PTTPM adopted IBM's Watson, an AI tool, for LC verification of export sales documents.
Global trade via LC amounts to US$1.6 trillion (50.8 trillion baht). As PTTPM exports polymer products overseas, LC is a major payment method that facilitates business expansion.
Reviewing LC applications and original LCs is a repetitive process, requiring PTTPM's LC verifiers to spend at least 30 minutes per LC, or up to three hours in more complex cases.
Verifiers need at least five years of experience, as any errors can cause longer or repeated reviews, which could delay product delivery.
While AI can work with a wide variety of data types without any additional integration, it understands the language of industries and helps PTTPM leverage data from a broad range of sources with ease.
With natural language understanding and natural language processing models, as well as machine learning capability, PTTPM staff can train Watson to review LC terms and conditions bias-free and contextually adapt to the industry, without requiring coding or deep technical skills.
PTTPM can effectively manage and automate LC verification of export transactions and perform pattern-based contextual fraud analysis while also eliminating human error and solving the problem of limited LC experts.
"After testing, AI can verify one LC per second, consequently reducing document processing time from seven days to two days," Mr Narongchai said.
This upgrade helps create new customers, as every transaction will be smarter, quicker and more cost-efficient, features that are important for competing internationally, he said.
PTTPM is also embracing blockchain technology in Thailand's first blockchain-based letters of guarantee project to improve efficiency through secured electronic documentation, which can cut costs by half.
The project, under the Thailand Blockchain Community initiative, is being carried out by 14 Thai banks, three state enterprises and four large corporations.
The system is being tested in the Bank of Thailand's regulatory sandbox and is expected to launch in the third quarter this year.
"The study found that the export ordering process has some 100 communications via email that can cause human error," Mr Narongchai said. "AI and blockchain can make this process more efficient."
Wiboon Thanandornsuk, country manager for industrial and distribution at IBM Thailand, said AI adoption is increasing due to the rapid data explosion in many areas.