The Honeywell Heating Specialty Co. was formed in 1906, built around a revolutionary new mechanism for heating water. Over the next hundred-plus years, Honeywell has transformed into a massive enterprise with a footprint across industries as diverse as aerospace, specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals, along with a large portfolio of technology services. Supplying its workforce—over 100,000 people in more than 70 countries—is no easy feat, given the range of needs across each business. “We need everything under the sun, from things as common as pens and paper to special metals and coatings capable of going into space,” says David Canales, manager, strategic sourcing at Honeywell.
Some might view purchasing across so many industries as a colossal challenge. Canales, though, sees it differently. “I think it’s an asset for the organization, just because of the needs of the different businesses,” he says. “This gives us the opportunity to have a broader supply base.”
But that’s only if Honeywell is able to leverage its scale without getting lost in it.
“We want data availability and accuracy across our businesses, as well as a consolidated procurement system allowing us to capture the indirect spending needs in a single place,” Canales says. To that end, Honeywell has integrated Amazon Business into its e-procurement ecosystem, helping to consolidate suppliers and bring agility to purchasing by automating many functions that had been done manually.
“We not only use it for our tail spend, but are delighted to be able to discover our hard-to-find items and maverick spend that is underserved and undermanaged,” Canales says. “Amazon Business allows us to have great reporting, which helps us identify opportunities. And we can use it across all our businesses, through a purchase order or a p-card, opening up a larger population of people who can access procurement tools.”
Canales points to the usability of Amazon Business as a major plus, noting that employees at Honeywell are accustomed to making purchases in their daily lives on Amazon. Doing so at work with Amazon Business provides the same type of easy buying experience, removing complication and friction from the purchasing process.
The partnership with Amazon Business means Honeywell can work directly with Amazon to forge stronger, more mutually beneficial relationships as both an Amazon Business customer and a selling partner on Amazon Business. One example is “Buy Honeywell,” a program that drives its employees to Honeywell’s own products using Amazon’s Guided Buying feature, which Honeywell plans to open to outside customers. Canales says that as technology helps digitize and automate considerable portions of the procurement process, it frees up enterprises to be more thoughtful and innovative around purchasing.
Those connections, then, become more critical.
"We want data availability and accuracy across our businesses, as well as a consolidated procurement system allowing us to capture the indirect spending needs in a single place."
— David Canales Manager, Strategic Sourcing, Honeywell
“Procurement and sales are moving away from the transactional piece that was an inherent part of it for years and toward something more automated,” Canales says. “We’re going to have more valuable conversations on partnerships, on ideas, on projects, on initiatives. It’s much more now than ‘Send me the product’ and ‘Is it coming on time?’”
The tools provided by Amazon Business helped Honeywell move with agility at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, by allowing the company to react quickly and respond to the needs of its essential workers to keep operations running smoothly, particularly in areas of safety. Face masks, safety glasses, thermometers, and other items were critical, and often hard to find, though the demand remained strong for more traditional head-to-toe safety equipment, like hard hats and gloves. Honeywell itself manufactures many of these products, which are available on Amazon Business. While using Guided Buying, Honeywell is able to steer purchasers inside the enterprise to those preferred goods, as well as the wider range of Honeywell products. “We try to use our own products whenever it makes sense,” Canales says. “Amazon Business allows us to flag preferred items and brands, including our own.”
With a program in place to move products across industries, Honeywell is able to develop strong relationships with its suppliers and can highlight its safety products to its business customers. The same tools that help Honeywell feature its products to buyers inside the company can help expand this “Buy Honeywell” program beyond the company’s borders.
“We have a good product that is competitive, regardless of the product line we’re talking about, so partnership is also about having those suppliers give us a shot at providing their needs,” Canales says. “We’re asking for a seat at the table, that those partners consider us as part of their procurement process.”
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