Saline Area Schools

Saline Area Schools

Embracing technology solutions, the district improves purchasing for teachers and staff.

Overview

An innovative, technology-driven school district in Michigan, Saline Area Schools engaged Amazon Business to streamline and modernize its purchasing workflow, giving time back to its teachers and staff so they could focus where it matters most: the learning mission.

 

 

A technology-driven district looks for an innovative purchasing solution

Saline Area Schools prides itself on delivering future-focused, high-quality education to ~5,300 students. The district’s procurement process was not meeting their needs. To make it easy for teachers to get educational items for their classrooms while giving procurement a simple way to track spending and manage compliance, Saline partnered with Amazon Business.

 

At the time, Saline’s procurement process was complex and almost entirely manual. It required 500+ teachers and staff at seven schools to comparison shop for supplies, funnel lists through seven administrative assistants, then wait weeks for their products to arrive. Purchase-related paperwork passed hands physically between buildings and the finance office.

 

Additionally, each school’s PTA/PTO maintained a separate tax ID number and budget funded by their board of directors. They needed a better way to manage funds and work cooperatively with the district.

“Time is money. Implementing Amazon Business has streamlined things so much that a lot of the cost benefits come from the time that’s saved, and that’s a wonderful thing.”

— Christie Patteri, Finance Office Specialist, Saline Area Schools

Implementing a procurement process that works for all stakeholders

Teachers and staff were already utilizing Amazon.com, where they often found competitive prices. The shopping experience was familiar—search, sort by brand and price, read reviews, choose shipping time. 

 

However, they were still tied to a system that limited the number of approved requisitioners. They didn’t place or manage orders—school administrative assistants processed all requests. Budget tracking depended on purchasers providing the right information, confirmations, and receipts.

 

As an early adopter of Amazon Business for education, Saline could shape the procurement process with a partner people understood. They could determine process flow, payment method, compliance monitoring, and reporting. They could broaden the number of stakeholders who could place orders. 

 

“We saw how easy Amazon Business was to use,” said Christie Patteri, finance office specialist for Saline Area Schools. “When we discovered they could invoice us, we were ecstatic. That opened the door for more people to make purchases and have them approved beforehand. It fit our model of how we wanted to do our purchasing.”

 

Amazon Business also partners with OMNIA (formerly U.S. Communities), a national cooperative purchasing program used by K-12 districts to ensure they are getting the best pricing when they hit a bid threshold.

 

 

Finance oversees finances, building secretaries manage buildings, teachers teach

Amazon Business collaborated with the district to implement a process that saves time and money and ensures stakeholders monitor compliance and stay on budget. The advantages:

 

  • All stakeholders are requisitioners who can place and manage orders
  • Building secretary oversight is limited to turning carts into purchases orders, adding the correct PO number, then sending it to the finance office
  • Orders are protected from stock and prices changes
  • Orders are paid for by invoice through the finance office
  • PTA/PTOs can approve their funding requests
  • Finance has a clear line of sight into spending
  • Stakeholders are fully compliant and get verifiably low pricing

 

“When we opened it up to teachers and staff to become requisitioners, it changed the ballgame entirely,” Patteri said. “My building secretaries tell me that it changed their life. It saved a lot of time, and it streamlined the process. I would absolutely recommend Amazon Business to other schools.”

 

 

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