University of Washington simplifies procurement and gains visibility into spend.
The University of Washington (UW) recognized that faculty and staff were making university-related purchases using the consumer version of Amazon. The institution decided to consolidate these purchases through Amazon Business under a single master account, and, as a result, the university gained greater visibility into spend and simplified order administration for its Procurement Services department, giving faculty and staff greater autonomy and an easy purchasing experience.
Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities, educating more than 54,000 students annually at three regional campuses and employing more than 29,00 faculty and staff. The UW Procurement Services organization is responsible for purchasing across the university. The assistant director of Procurement Services at UW spoke with us about how Amazon Business has changed the way the institution thinks about purchasing.
A: We have diverse purchasing responsibilities, from everyday office supplies to expensive scientific equipment. We are continually seeking ways to simplify purchasing, gain greater insight into how money is being spent, and consolidate tail spend. At the same time, we have to balance centralized control over the purchasing process with the user experience of our campus process partners and stakeholders.
A: We noticed many of our faculty and staff were making workrelated purchases through Amazon, taking advantage of wide product selection, fast shipping, and Amazon Prime benefits. These purchases were made using ProCards, which are Visa cards issued by the university and intended for small dollar purchases of goods not available through our Ariba catalogs.
Using Amazon at work was appealing to some users, but we had relatively little insight into the transactions they were making. To gain more visibility, and to move users away from the Amazon consumer shopping platform, we decided to migrate our users over to Amazon Business under a single master account that is centrally managed by Procurement Services. Since people already preferred to buy from Amazon, it was very easy to make the transition.
“Amazon Business gives users the autonomy to find what they need [to purchase] in a way that’s familiar, easy, and intuitive. It lets us focus on the strategic purchases we make for the university. It has changed the way I think about purchasing.”
— Assistant Director, Procurement Services, University of Washington
A: The Procurement Services organization now has instant visibility into transactions. We can also use built-in Amazon Business Analytics tools to track and report on tail spend purchases. Amazon Business gives users the autonomy to find what they need in a way that’s familiar, easy, and intuitive. It lets us focus on the strategic purchases we make for the university. It has changed the way I think about purchasing.
A: Integrating Amazon Business into our SAP Ariba solution as a punchout supplier will create a seamless user experience for faculty and staff who can use the standard purchasing workflow to shop on Amazon. It will also enable us to consolidate a wider range of purchasing activities through a single supplier, which reduces management costs and the complexity of having to onboard new suppliers for one-off purchases. It also provides the opportunity for greater insights by bringing all Amazon Business purchase data together in one place.
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