With over 200,000 employees spread across more than 160 countries and jurisdictions, financial services leader Citi requires a tremendous range of goods to make the enterprise run smoothly. “Citi procures a wide array of products and services, ranging from things like office supplies for our branches to multimillion-dollar technology equipment for our data centers,” says Guillermo Bambach, director, Citi Resource Management Organization source to contract global process owner. Meeting those needs, the job of Citi’s Resource Management Organization (RMO), is fundamental to helping Citi deliver services to its customers, from consumer and corporate banking to wealth management.
For Citi, its international reach presents challenges in standardizing buying so that practices can be uniform from region to region. “Our global footprint requires us to track changes in currency, inflation, and varying laws and regulations around data privacy and payment processing,” Bambach says. “Each of these variables results in process changes, different system requirements, and necessities to have breadth and manage risk.”
Critical to those efforts are transparency and visibility throughout Citi’s purchasing ecosystem. In 2017, the company began a relationship with Amazon Business designed to simplify purchasing by consolidating suppliers through a single solution, rather than having the RMO handle the sourcing of thousands of products from dozens of sources. Integrating Amazon Business into its existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software essentially reversed that process by creating an automated end-to-end user experience for ordering, invoicing, and expensing. Launched initially in the United States and Canada, the program has grown to include ongoing rollouts in the United Kingdom, Germany, and other European countries, with plans for expansion to other regions. “This is a diversified model we’re going to move forward expanding across the globe for Citi,” Bambach says. “It’s fully automated and consolidates suppliers into one channel.”
Improvements, he says, have been tangible.
Citi implemented a Guided Buying program linking purchasing policies to match the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC), a product classification system used by companies and government agencies worldwide, creating an internationally understood framework for the goods employees could purchase. It can similarly help drive users to more sustainable products and diverse suppliers while complying with purchasing policies. The integration has removed a great deal of friction from Citi’s purchasing ecosystem, creating a quick, easy, and familiar process for employees to obtain needed goods and services, all while helping standardize procurement from market to market.
"This is a diversified model we’re going to move forward expanding across the globe for Citi. It’s fully automated and consolidates suppliers into one channel."
— Guillermo Bambach, Director, Citi Resource Management Organization Source to Contract Global Process Owner
Meanwhile, Amazon Business provides the agility to respond quickly to changes in procurement needs—shifting about 95% of Citi’s global workforce to a virtual working model at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example—while delivering flexibility to business units in every region in which it operates, so that purchasing can be tailored appropriately. Through its relationship with Amazon, Citi equipped approximately 300 California branches with pre-assembled earthquake preparedness kits sold on Amazon Business.
“This is just one example of how we’ve been able to leverage Amazon Business to help with our Citi network of branches,” he says.
The value of relationships
There are other benefits, Bambach notes, such as cost savings brought by leveraging the scale of Citi’s purchasing with the size of Amazon Business and data-driven tools, along with quantifiable improvements in user experience. He points as well to opportunities for suppliers to build relationships with Citi. “We have a program where some of our smaller suppliers can interact with us through Amazon Business, where they can have increased visibility into our products and services, and we can still enjoy the negotiated pricing,” he says.
Citi thinks creatively about procurement at every stage of the process. And ultimately, better practices around purchasing make for happier, more productive, and more efficient employees—and a better company.
“Our employees are the ones providing their expertise and servicing customers,” Bambach says. “If we can’t take care of their personal needs in order for them to do the work, if we can’t provide support to our data and customer service centers, or employees in a remote work environment, they can’t provide the service required to our customers.”
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