Simplifying processes with an auditable procurement system to save time and costs.
A global engineering firm and supplier of professional services for infrastructure, AECOM strives to be the best provider of intelligent data for construction services, building design and management. The company was named one of Fortune magazine's "World's Most Admired Companies" for the sixth consecutive year. Employing approximately 87,000 people, AECOM is a multinational company with offices worldwide.
AECOM’s EMEA procurement team manages the purchasing processes for all employees – from small purchases through to multi-million pound subcontracts. With 7,000 employees in the UK, the business needed an auditable procurement system to simplify the purchasing process for tail spend items. By working with Amazon Business to integrate the online store into their procurement systems, AECOM were able to simplify their purchasing processes and save time and money.
AECOM’s purchasing process for tail spend items, such as stationery and IT supplies, was complex and inefficient, with siloed processes managed by different teams based on product type. Over 80 employees were purchasing four to five items per month through their personal Amazon accounts. Each purchase was made using a CITI virtual card, which then required individual reconciliation of the Amazon invoice to the CITI statement. In all, the buying process involved 16 actions across nine different steps — from searching and ordering the item, opening a PO request, paying for the item and then manually sending the receipt to the reconciliation team, requiring extensive time from both the employee and that team.
The challenge was to find a procurement system that would provide a consolidated buying experience and meet the organisation’s auditing and compliance needs, while providing an intuitive user experience, saving time and money by eliminating steps from the purchasing process.
“By lodging a single payment card and using a punchout catalogue to Amazon Business, the time taken to place orders and reconcile invoices reduced by over 70%.”
— Stewart Dalton, EMEA Senior Procurement Manager, AECOM
Senior Procurement Manager Stewart Dalton was responsible for making buying simpler for UK employees across an enormous volume of diverse purchases. He set out to find a solution that would allow AECOM employees to find everything they needed, from stationery and office supplies to IT products and PPE, but with full visibility and control.
Following a review of existing procedures using several systems, each with multiple steps and separate approval requirements, the decision was made to simplify the purchasing of goods and supplies using AECOM’s procurement platform, Coupa. Dalton selected Amazon Business, embedding the online store via punchout catalogue in Coupa in 2019. Dalton also signed AECOM up for Business Prime for the cost savings and convenience offered by free next-day delivery. The team transitioned purchasing to Amazon Business over a six-month period, moving stationery and then other procurements onto the online store. There are now over 350 users who can purchase easily and in a compliant manner.
With support from Amazon Business , Dalton found it relatively straightforward to introduce the online store and purchasing process to UK employees. One of the biggest benefits was the familiarity of Amazon’s consumer marketplace. As employees recognised the user interface, it was an easy and efficient transition to Amazon Business.
"We're excited to be building a better procurement process leveraging Amazon Business".
— Stewart Dalton, EMEA Senior Procurement Manager, AECOM
Introducing Amazon Business successfully reduced the required actions in the procurement process by 44%: from 16 actions across nine steps down to nine actions across five steps, enabling a far more efficient purchasing process and facilitating more agile business operations.
There have been direct cost savings too: with 94% of all products being ordered through Business Prime and qualifying for free delivery, purchasers are able to maximise the delivery savings on orders. Stewart estimates that in the first six months of using Business Prime, the organisation saved around £11,100 through delivery savings - an estimated annual saving of £22,200.
Amazon Business has also helped AECOM achieve efficiencies in time spent placing orders. By lodging a single payment card and using a punchout catalogue to Amazon Business, the time taken to place orders and reconcile invoices reduced by over 70%. By using the Amazon Business Guided Buying feature, the procurement team has set guardrails around which products can be purchased. This was particularly critical as COVID hit and physical offices closed; using Amazon Business, AECOM were able to support their employees by allowing them to order home office equipment straight to their personal addresses.
The time spent invoicing and auditing has also been greatly reduced, thanks to the consolidated report offered by the Spend Visibility feature with Business Prime, making the process far simpler. This also allows users to have the freedom to select the most suitable and cost-effective supplier, subject to policy restrictions, and are always encourages to use Business Prime to benefit from free next day delivery.
Feedback from AECOM’s employees has been very positive and Dalton would wholeheartedly recommend Amazon Business and Business Prime. AECOM has also just rolled out Amazon Business into Ireland, and looking forwarding to rolling out to other European countries in 2021. As Dalton says, "We're excited to be building a better procurement process leveraging Amazon Business".
AECOM clearly sees Procurement as an enabler within the business following the recent appointment of a new Head of Procurement, Angus Craig. One of Angus’ key objectives is to rapidly introduce additional ‘buying channels’ to further simplify and streamline source to pay.