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The Prince's Trust

Enabling greater visibility and transparency through digital procurement


The Prince’s Trust is a UK charity which was founded by Prince Charles in 1976. The charity focuses on helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, aged 11 to 30 years old, to stay in education, gain employment, learn new skills, and set up their own businesses, among many other impactful activities.


As two of their core initiatives are supporting young people in gaining employment and in setting up their own businesses; It means they have very unique and varied requirements when procuring products - from purchasing suitable attire for those who have upcoming job interviews, to obtaining the basics to start a business, such as nail kits for a young adult aspiring to open a nail salon.


Like many organisations in the charity sector, Covid has led to changes in how the charity operates, including moving a lot of what was once face to face interactions to digital experiences.


The impact of the pandemic has presented the procurement team with the opportunity to have a positive influence, through how they purchase, and create cost savings for the organisation, in a time where funding is ever more important.


Identifying an opportunity for a more streamlined procurement process


Until recently, the large variety of items that The Prince’s Trust acquired for their initiatives were spot purchased, meaning there was no visibility of this spend, making it hard to understand and report on what was being bought. As the team grew, they identified this weakness and were looking for ways of improving this.


One of their key needs was to manage and monitor tail end spend effectively, as well as having the ability to create an authorisation process, to ensure that there was no rogue spending taking place that wasn’t aligned to their delivery and strategies.


With the variety of products they were purchasing in the tail-end, they needed a ‘one stop shop’ that could provide them with as many of their required items as possible. 

“Amazon is synonymous with being able to get more or less anything you need. Because what we buy is so varied, it’s about having that platform where we can get anything from a bike to a suit to a nail kit and so on."

— Verity White, Senior Head of Procurement, The Prince’s Trust

Along with the required products, they needed the ability to control payments and ensure that all purchases were valid and required for the organisation, as well as aligned to their income contracts.


The impact of digital optimisation

Senior Head of Procurement, Verity White, set out to find a solution that would cater to the charity’s specific needs, giving them greater clarity on purchasing and freeing up time to focus on other areas of the organisation.


The familiarity of using the Amazon consumer marketplace combined with Amazon Business catering to their B2B buying needs, made it an easy choice.


Administratively, it has made it easier for all of their employees to use one platform to buy the large variety of products that they need, at any given time.


It also means that employees, regardless of region, are now following the same process, reducing the risk of fraudulent purchases and effectively managing tail end spend.


By using the Amazon Business Guided Buying feature, Verity and team now have the ability to set guardrails around products that can and can’t be purchased. This has significantly reduced time spent on reporting and manually managing ad hoc spend.


“It’s flowing very smoothly for us”, Verity said. The vast selection of suppliers in one place saves them the time and hassle of trying to source reliable suppliers or get multiple quotes for single items, as it is all available to them at the click of a button on Amazon Business.


Another priority for The Prince’s Trust was to demonstrate how they’re spending their money, as a charity who receives Government grants.


Having that information readily available, with the ability to download their VAT invoices straight from their account, made it easy to report how their money is being utilised, for who and where.

“Being able to see what we’re buying for the first time ever, means we can sit down and make positive decisions about what we want to do moving forward.” 

— Verity White, Senior Head of Procurement, The Prince’s Trust

With the time they have saved by using one central source, their next project will be to analyse the data on their account to see what products are sought after most frequently with their employees. This information will guide them in making more informed procurement decisions moving forward, like standardising items and utilising online catalogues of products.


Moving forward with new opportunities


Feedback from The Prince’s Trust employees has been very positive, with many stating that Amazon Business has helped them to overcome the blockers they were facing, freeing up time to commit to other projects.


“The move to Amazon Business has given us full visibility in terms of tail end spend. It’s a no brainer, you get the supplies that you need, you can keep track of your supply chain and tail end spend, you can manage the overall procurement process a lot more effectively.”


Procurement within the charity has developed year on year and one of their key objectives is to continue moving towards a fully digital procurement experience.