Berkeley County Schools

Berkeley County Schools

How they're modernizing sourcing, and reinvesting saved time back into the learning mission.

Overview

Berkeley County Schools, the second largest school district in West Virginia, adopted Amazon Business to digitize and simplify the school supplies requisition and purchasing process for each of its 32 schools so its teachers and staff could focus their full attention on the education mission.

 

 

Giving teachers and staff time back to devote to education

Berkeley County Schools strives to give each of its 19,500 students an excellent education. With that mission top of mind, the district sought to reduce the administrative burden on its teachers and staff by digitizing and streamlining the school supply requisition process.

At the time, Berkeley’s process often required extra manual effort to communicate wants and needs of staff to purchasing authorities. When staff members ordered supplies, they submitted paper-based approval sheets with purchasing requests to a department purchasing authority, who then searched for the item, built the cart, and placed the order—often having to decipher what was meant by ambiguous items such as “folders.” In some cases, teachers were driving across the district to access a department’s Prime account so they could build their own cart and use the department P-card to check out. To make ordering simpler and give the district a straightforward way to reconcile purchases, Berkeley partnered with Amazon Business.

 

 

A digitized requisition process that simplifies ordering and reconciliation

The district does not have a centralized purchasing department, preferring to maintain separate procurement authorities for individual schools, Title 1 funds, special education, and curriculum departments, among others. This autonomy ensures that decisions are made by those who best understand the unique requirements associated with each. However, it fostered disparate workflows and complicated reconciliations--purchasing an item might include multiple credit card transactions from several sources. The district wanted to maintain the autonomous structure, but the requisition process needed to be modernized.

 

Teachers and staff were using several stores, one of which was Amazon.com, to research and purchase supplies. They preferred Amazon.com because of their familiarity with the online experience and its broad selection. However, it wasn’t aligned to their organizational needs, nor did it give them control over their own orders. Finance wanted a way to reconcile purchases and consolidate vendors.

 

Berkeley partnered with Amazon Business to reduce order time and create a streamlined process with a familiar and trusted online purchasing experience.

“When teachers needed supplies fast, they contacted a purchasing authority to check out a credit card, drove to the store to make a purchase, then traveled back to school with their items. That’s a lot of wasted time better spent on education. With Amazon Business, teachers create a list on their classroom computer and submit. Workflows immediately take over, streamlining approvals. Teachers get exactly what they need, and they get it in two days.”

— Bradley Sponaugle, Assistant Treasurer, Berkeley County Schools

Mirroring the school’s funding sources and replacing paper-based process

Amazon Business collaborated with Berkeley to develop an end-to-end purchasing process that accommodated the district’s funding structure, including configuring multiple unique approval workflow processes, best practices, and business lists. Amazon Business provides a district-wide purchasing system, migrating the requisition process almost entirely online from a paper-based requisition process that required hard copy workflow, internal courier services, and wet-ink signatures. 

 

The advantages:

 

• Teachers and staff are able to order exactly what is needed fast and easily

 

• Digitized approval workflow reflects department and funding structure

 

• Time between order placement and delivery is reduced from two weeks to two days 

 

• Purchase orders provide clear line of sight for spending and budgeting purposes

 

• Analytics tools make monthly reconciliation easy

 

• Centralized oversight enables smooth personnel transitions 

 

“Teachers and staff can now build a precise list online and submit to the purchasing authority, who can easily click a button to create an order. That’s great,” said Bradley Sponaugle, Assistant Treasurer for Berkeley County Schools. “Since every credit card purchase comes with a corresponding purchase order number, we can easily trace between the two.”

 

 

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