Simplifying ordering, and creating a balance between empowerment and speed of delivery.
Sugar Mountain’s mission is to change the way America eats by making real food with absolutely zero artificial ingredients, like industrial additives, colorings, or preservatives. They call this their pure food commitment, and it carries across all foods served at their restaurants and retail locations. In addition to making foods only with ingredients they know and trust, a percentage of all sales supports The Beecher’s Foundation, launched by Sugar Mountain in 2004. Through education and community engagement, the Foundation inspires people to eat real food and vote with every food dollar.
To help support these ambitious programs, the purchasing team has maximized efficiency and resources with Amazon Business since 2015, and, more recently, with Business Prime.
Sugar Mountain is committed to pure food—creating it, serving it, and raising consumer awareness about it. Through its food production, restaurant and retail operations, and educational programs, Sugar Mountain is on a mission to change the way America eats. As part of this commitment, in 2004, Sugar Mountain launched the Beecher’s Foundation. Through the Foundation, more than 150,000 youth, teens, and adults have experienced the Foundation’s unique food education workshops with over one-third reporting they have made material changes in their diet as a result.
Sugar Mountain is a rapidly growing business, and to serve its ambitious mission, resources must be used efficiently.
Initially, employee purchases were made from small vendors using credit cards and reporting expenses. “We have a number of different locations and entities, and they were all purchasing things and expensing them or buying them from smaller companies,” says Amanda Schulz, Director of Purchasing and Operational Systems. As the business grew, expense reports proliferated, and an ever-increasing set of vendors had to be managed. The small purchasing team was stretched thin trying to stay abreast of the activity. To streamline processes and at the same time empower employees to purchase what they need to do their jobs efficiently and well, in 2015 members of the purchasing team adopted Amazon Business.
Sugar Mountain has grown to 400 employees at eight locations in Seattle and New York. With this growth, the ability to track purchases and control spending has become increasingly important, especially for IT category spend on Amazon, which approaches 75 percent of total IT hardware equipment spend. As a midsize business, Sugar Mountain doesn’t order enough IT product to warrant contracting with a large vendor. To gain greater visibility into spend, especially for IT, and new tools for managing it, in 2018 the company signed up for Business Prime.
“Amazon Business creates a balance between empowerment and speed, while making sure we’ve got compliance with internal spending policies, too.”
— Nathaniel Polky, Director of Information Systems, Sugar Mountain
Using Amazon Business, Sugar Mountain employees have been able to shop around among multiple vendors to find the best products and prices without adding vendor management overhead. Amazon Business surfaces offers from thousands of third-party sellers and vendors, which customers access from a single account. “It was an easy one-stop shop to simplify and streamline our one-off ordering purchases across the organization,” says Schulz. Sugar Mountain employees use Amazon Business for most day-to-day purchases at its retail locations and nearly all non-software subscription IT purchases. This has allowed the purchasing team to reduce the number of vendors they manage by 50 to 60 percent, while giving employees choices and making it easier to order things they need. “Amazon Business creates a balance between empowerment and speed, while making sure we’ve got compliance with internal spending policies, too,” says Nathaniel Polky, Director of Information Systems.
The Amazon Business team has been working with Sugar Mountain to implement additional features. Using the Approvals feature, they’ve added spending limits and multi-tier approvals to help manage purchasing with less administrative involvement. Using the Business Order Info feature, they’ve added custom fields, so that when employees order an IT product, they must specify the IT GL account. With this capability, management can view aggregate purchases by category, location, or project. “We’re a rapidly growing business. Having visibility into cost will help us make better-informed decisions that will only improve as we and our purchases scale up,” says Polky.
To gain express shipping and greater visibility into its increasing IT spend, among other benefits, Sugar Mountain recently added Business Prime. Fast shipping will help the business continue to grow. “Meeting urgent needs using a tool that lets us order items and receive delivery quickly is a critical feature for my team,” says Polky.