There is no doubt that the public sector relies on Amazon Company as a key supplier. “Yes, local governments are good potential customers for Amazon offerings,” says Mike Kernish, director and general manager, public sector at Amazon Business. He offers this statistic: “Amazon Business currently works with more than 90 of the 100 most populous local governments and special districts.” He explains that his business is help these government entities digitize their sourcing efforts by simplifying and streamlining processes and leveraging its enterprise-integrated tools to increase cost savings, visibility, and agility.
OMNIA Partners Amazon Enterprise offer cooperative contracts. Online marketplace contracts solicited competitively come from two primary government agencies: the State of Utah and Prince William County Public Schools. Contracts are available to public sector entities, including state and local government agencies, public and private K-12 school districts and higher education organizations, as well as nonprofit companies.
It should be noted that Utah was the first state government to tender an online store for an entire product category. Kernish explains that the Utah state government awarded a cooperative contract to Amazon Business to modernize its procurement practices. “Amazon Business gives the state procurement team increased visibility, reporting capabilities, and fast two-day delivery with Business Prime to ensure compliance and save time.”
Cooperative contracts can save time and money for the public sector, Kernish believes. “Having multiple government entities combine their buying power and buy through competitive contracts can certainly save time for procurement departments. Moreover, aggregating demand to get lower prices from selected vendors will also save them money. When it comes to saving time, Amazon Business increases efficiency and reduces costs by allowing purchasing managers to quickly compare vendors and access competitive pricing and selection.
Kernish points out that under the Amazon Business-OMNIA cooperation agreement, government procurement departments can search a range of vendors and products in a single, consolidated view. “Having these capabilities is a huge advantage over traditional processes, which can be time-consuming and require hours of manual quote comparisons. He adds that the Amazon Business-OMNIA cooperation agreement allows customers to analyze their agencies’ product spend in real time and identify issues even before an order is processed.
Kernish says his team sees a trend among commercial and government buyers who expect the same ease of use they expect from their consumer shopping experience. “Cooperative purchasing agreements through online channels enable local government procurement teams to use the same digital tools at home, at work.” An example he offers: “When the State of Utah realized that employees were using their personal Amazon accounts for out-of-contract spending, the organization needed digital tools to gain control and visibility into their purchases to ensure compliance.Through a cooperative agreement with Amazon Business, the state procurement team leverages the familiar consumer experience in a business-to-business setting.Kernish says setting up his company gives state buyers access to integrated solutions and features to control spending, increase reporting transparency, and discover purchasing insights, all in one place.
Undoubtedly, understaffed public procurement teams have more to do in 2022, and the old ways may no longer work, Kernish says. “Government procurement departments have historically spent a lot of time and resources on traditional processes, such as manually sourcing vendors and managing expenses. But small-staffed government agencies facing larger workloads are finding that by moving to online procurement, they can simplify the buying experience with tools and features to improve visibility, reduce paperwork and free up time and budgets.
He notes that Amazon Business’s purchasing tools can increase efficiency and reduce costs by allowing purchasing managers to quickly compare vendors and access competitive pricing and selection. “Additional features such as Guided purchasemulti-user accounts, reporting and analytics are also useful solutions for streamlining government procurement processes. »
Reach local and diverse suppliers
The Amazon Business executive says he sees more and more local governments seeking cooperation contracts through online channels to connect with more local and diverse suppliers. “According to Amazon Business B2B E-Commerce Evolution Reportgovernment buyers rated “supporting local businesses in the community” and “increasing supply chain diversification” as the top five procurement priorities last year. »
Kernish adds that many federal and state government buyers are required to allocate a certain percentage of their procurement dollars to various companies. “With the Diversity Certificates on Amazon Business, a government purchasing organization can easily direct spending to small, local or socio-economically diverse vendors. He believes co-operative contracts will continue to improve procurement for both buyers and sellers, as they simplify the buying process for governments. At the same time, they help level the playing field for small businesses.
Targeted filtering is another key tool available when buying through Amazon Business. Users have the ability to filter by certification status, which helps procurement departments find and buy from small, local and diverse vendors to meet their supplier diversity goals. Moreover, through the GSA Trade Platforms InitiativeAmazon Business offers government buyers an easy way to connect with small and diverse sellers through search and filter tools and diversity identifiers.
Kernish predicts that several technologies will have a big impact on public procurement over the next five years. “With the shift to remote working, many public sector procurement departments have had to rapidly implement digital transformations and adopt new technologies to successfully continue remote operations.” He notes that his company B2B E-Commerce Evolution Report predicts that more than half of organizations surveyed plan to invest in automation and digital invoicing within five years.
Amazon Business executive says technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are poised to continue reshaping public sector purchasing as more shoppers invest in sourcing line. He explains, “AI and machine learning not only enable organizations to automate purchasing guidelines and meet spending goals, but also deliver immense savings in time and money, which which is ultimately beneficial to organizations of all sizes and in all sectors, including those in the public sector.” Kernish highlights two of his company’s technology solutions:
- Amazon company Spend Visibility The tool is powered by machine learning and tracks purchasing patterns to inform budget decisions, manage purchasing policy compliance, and unlock time and cost savings.
- The Guided purchase The tool on Amazon Business is also powered by AI and machine learning. This tool allows purchasing managers to easily implement spend policies in the shopping experience. Organizations using Guided Buying can mark certain products or selling partners as “preferred” or “restricted”, helping buyers purchase products more efficiently and in accordance with each entity’s policies.
Amazon Business recently hosted its annual virtual shopping conference remodelwhich offered sessions on several procurement-related topics, including:
• Sourcing strategies for the C suite
• Achieve business goals with purchasing agility
• Respect the digital agenda
• Empower employees with digital purchases
• Promote socially responsible purchases
Go here for more information and to find out how to view the on-demand virtual event.
Michael Keating is editor for US city and county. Contact him at [email protected].