How a California charter school optimized their purchasing process to spend more time helping students succeed
Visions In Education has been an Amazon Business customer since 2015. Starting with the initial testing of the Punch-out integration to eventually becoming a Business Prime customer in 2020. Their staff needed to ensure that the process for parents to purchase curriculum supplies and materials was a fast and user-friendly experience, but also met all Visions In Education’s purchasing guidelines.
Visions In Education is a K-12 public charter school located in the Sacramento Valley region in California. Established in 1999, Visions In Education is a tuition-free public school which provides a high-quality standards-based education supporting Home School families, students in the Independent Study High School program and students engaged in the University Prep High School program. Within these three programs, Visions In Education serves approximately 7,000 students across a nine county service area, making them one of the largest charter schools in the region.
Leveraging Amazon Business has made buying easier by bringing choice to their charter school families. As Tom Tafoya, Chief Operations Officer at Visions In Education said, “We leverage technology to make things easier for others. Charter Schools can’t go to scale without these types of solutions.”
Tom Tafoya said, “In the past, purchasing was a tedious task. Parents had to research materials from a vast number of vendors and then manually type orders into an ordering system. Once entered, parents then had to wait for the school to approve and process orders which often took a substantial amount of time, resulting in a delay that impacted the student’s learning.”
In order to alleviate these constraints, Visions In Education enabled a cXML Punch-Out integration with their existing LaunchPad Student Support System. This solution allowed their families to purchase curriculum and supplies directly through a single automated Amazon Business account, thus eliminating the manual entry process used with other vendors. This new centralized approach ensured that purchases were compliant with purchasing policies and met all budget guidelines.
Tom Tafoya added, "It's a significant transition for us. We were doing credit card transactions on all of our orders. When you talk about the paperwork and just the time-consuming delays of the old process Amazon Business basically eliminated that."
Michael Brubaker, Director of Operations for Visions In Education added “Overall, our Visions families, teachers and staff have all benefited from working with Amazon Business.” Key features that have contributed to this success have been:
“We leverage technology to make things easier for others. Charter Schools can’t go to scale without these types of solutions.”
— Tom Tafoya, Chief Operations Officer, Visions In Education
Today, about 88% of Visions In Education parents leverage the Amazon Business account to purchase their student’s materials and supplies throughout the year. They choose to use Amazon Business as their main point of purchase due to the wide variety of product options, pricing and the familiarity of the Amazon experience and purchasing process.
In a recent survey conducted by Visions In Education, 70% of parents believed that pricing through Amazon Business was better than other options. This pricing that Amazon Business customers have come to expect paired with the fast shipping that parents are also familiar with is why parents choose Amazon Business for their student’s school supply needs.
"I have appreciated being able to order items off of the Amazon [Business] site for any needs we have regarding homeschooling. It’s a one stop shop in that, I can order school supplies, books, textbooks, art materials to support Directed Project subjects and exercise items for PE all in the same place. It’s been easy to navigate the site and find what I’m looking for and often offered at a reasonable price or lower than other vendors. The prompt shipping of items is also a plus as there have been times we’ve needed items more quickly. In general, I look to Amazon first unless there are vendor specific items that cannot be found on their site.” -Bernadette Kawazoe, Homeschool Mother, Visions In Education Academy
Visions In Education has grown from a test and measure Amazon Business model customer to a Business Prime adoption customer for 7,000 users. These users are leveraging Amazon Business in a unique way through the integration of their homegrown eProcurement system (LaunchPad Student Support System) with Punch-Out. This has resulted in the Visions In Education parents enjoying a more seamless and user-friendly purchasing experience along with fast shipping to meet their needs while the Visions In Education staff have the visibility and compliance of spending controls they require.
Amazon Business has allowed Visions In Education to address the key aspect of their mission which is to focus on the students and prepare them to succeed. Through cost and process efficiencies, Visions In Education is able to do more with less and to become faster, and better at finding success in that mission. As with the charter school mission, Amazon Business procurement solutions are not one size fits all. The flexibility of Amazon Business procurement has allowed Visions to continue moving towards a fully digital procurement experience.
“Overall, our Visions families, teachers and staff have all benefited from working with Amazon Business.”
— Michael Brubaker, Director of Operations, Visions In Education
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