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How Amazon Business connects the B2B purchasing flywheel for USO and HanesBrands

Business buyers are able to discover new suppliers, and sellers can be matched with new customers.

United Service Organizations (USO), a nonprofit charitable organization, provides support for 5 million military service members and their families through more than 250 USO Centers located across 32 U.S. states, 14 countries, and seven continents. Put another way, USO provides anything and everything it can for American men and women in uniform, wherever they are throughout the world. “We buy everything from TVs to gaming consoles to groceries for the centers,” says Tina Stockov, procurement manager at USO. “It’s 300 to 400 lines of products that we can provide.”

This incredible diversity of items combined with a truly global footprint complicates efforts to maintain visibility in purchasing and managing expenses. “We wanted to leverage global volume spend and stop going to so many vendors,” Stockov says. “We had to build in a workflow and create better processes that bring everything together with real visibility.”

To simplify and modernize, Rick Quaintance, senior director of procurement and contracts management, USO, and Stockov leveraged Amazon Business’ punchout integration with Coupa, USO’s existing procure-to-pay solution. This allowed anyone responsible for purchasing across the organization’s global network to search, select, and submit purchases directly from Amazon Business through Coupa. The team launched globally in less than five months, moving USO from a complex, multisupplier infrastructure to a streamlined sourcing solution.

"Through Amazon Business, we’re able to have large-scale production with a predictable supply-and-demand model, meaning manufacturers can access customers seeking large quantities."

— Charlie Stack, Vice President, American Casualwear and E-Commerce, HanesBrands

Consolidating sellers through a single store with Amazon Business provided critical time and cost savings for the organization. Users across USO access the Amazon Business store to source for their unique needs without having to search through individual supplier catalogs. New purchasing workflows designed to fit the organizational structure help center directors worldwide to review and approve spending, reducing the workload for the main office. “Things like approving invoices and reconciling receipts for expenses used to take five to seven days, and now it takes two,” Quaintance says. “What used to be a manual process that took up much of our time is now almost entirely automated. This reduces processing times and allows us to provide autonomy to center directors to get what they need more quickly and efficiently.”

”Amazon Business can beat 90% of my current vendors in pricing,” Stockov says. “Having that leverage of the best spend is what my users are looking for.”

 

 

Reducing friction for procurement at scale

 

A fully transformational procurement solution isn’t just about buyers finding sellers, but also about helping sellers more effectively find buyers. HanesBrands is the world’s largest marketer of basic apparel, driving revenue of nearly $7 billion annually through brands including Hanes, Champion, and Bali. As the pace of online sales of consumer packaged goods accelerates, HanesBrands has put an increased focus on B2B sales and bulk ordering.

Large enterprises trading in high volume—bulk transactions, for example—need a channel that accommodates scale. As Petra Schindler-Carter, director and general manager at Amazon Business, notes, “in business-to-business purchasing, it can be about quantity as much as quality. You need a format that allows purchasing in pallets or truckloads.”

With Amazon Business, HanesBrands has been able to more effectively tailor its selection and pricing to buyers purchasing in bulk, including uniforms for schools and government buyers, along with food service operators.

Scale became a particularly important consideration as the impact of COVID-19 deepened globally and demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) rapidly increased. “We decided to pursue two areas—to create our own Hanes-branded masks for consumers and to ramp up to get masks to business customers in need, such as large employers, governments, and healthcare systems,” says Charlie Stack, vice president of American casualwear and e-commerce at HanesBrands.

King County, Washington, home of over 2.2 million residents in and around Seattle, zeroed in on HanesBrands through Amazon Business’ supplier outreach program as a potential source of badly needed masks to help in the county’s phased reopening plan. “This turned out to be a really successful matchmaking opportunity. We delivered 5 million masks to King County to purchase through the Amazon Business store, so they could distribute throughout areas of need,” Stack says.

“Through Amazon Business, we’re able to have large-scale production with a predictable supply-and-demand model, meaning manufacturers can access customers seeking large quantities,” Stack continues. “My primary focus is to leverage the strength of our brand recognition and quality and combine that with B2B channels such as Amazon Business.”

 


Simplifying transactions



A transformational purchasing solution should provide the same efficiencies to sellers like HanesBrands as it does to buyers like USO. Time spent finding potential partners and negotiating prices with each comes with a cost, says Moz Thomas, director, Business Prime at Amazon Business. “Sellers were stuck in this loop, and pretty soon you realize the marginal gain from negotiating each contract is very minimal relative to the amount of bandwidth from people’s perspective that you’re putting in to doing that,” he says.

Amazon Business seeks to improve the process for sellers by allowing them to scale in multiple ways, from reaching new customers, to the creation of highly visible, easily understood tiered discounts for customers that prefer to purchase in high volumes. “You can offer a product, showing all the breakpoints on the discounts that come in at different levels, available for everyone with no contract negotiation required with each supplier,” Thomas says. “It’s helping sellers sell themselves through these kinds of mechanisms.”

Moreover, as companies become more attuned to supplier diversity or buy local initiatives, buyers can quickly identify sellers that meet specific criteria on Amazon Business, directing spend to those suppliers. This visibility, in turn, creates opportunity for certified sellers to serve new customers.

“Purchasing policies with tools like Guided Buying can automatically direct teams to the products and sellers that satisfy organizational purchasing tools much, much more easily,” Thomas says.

For USO, the increased visibility and access to multiple certified sellers in one place reflects the larger value proposition of Amazon Business. It’s an opportunity not just to save money by leveraging organizational volume, but also to create better partnerships with preferred vendors while reallocating the energy of its staff from routine work toward higher value planning and strategies to improve procurement.

“It reduces manual intervention. It’s about being nimble, acting very quickly,” Quaintance says. “We can spend more time looking at ways to create better efficiencies and cost savings, in turn helping us continue our mission of supporting the military by keeping them connected to family, home, and country throughout their service to the nation.”

"Amazon Business can beat 90% of my current vendors in pricing. Having that leverage of the best spend is what my users are looking for."

— Tina Stockov, Procurement Manager, USO

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