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Amazon Doubles Down on Procurement With New Business-Buyer Solutions 

When the operating landscape is uncertain and dynamic, businesses must prioritize controlling for what’s controllable.

And with the news Thursday (June 20) that Amazon Business, Amazon’s online business-to-business procurement store, has announced a number of new technology features designed to help large business customers simplify the way they shop for business supplies, unlocking operational leverage through tighter control over sourcing and procurement is top of mind for forward-thinking B2B firms.

“Amazon Business wants to change how companies shop for supplies through our unmatched selection, deep discounts, and smart capabilities,” said Shelley Salomon, worldwide vice president of Amazon Business, in a statement. “We don’t just react to the biggest challenges our customers have shared with us; we get ahead of them with new technologies so our customers can use their resources to navigate the unexpected and continue expanding their business.”

As the global economy becomes increasingly volatile, the need for more transparency, control and actionable insight into key payment processes, particularly procurement, is critical.

Ongoing economic instability can lead to liquidity issues, supply chain disruptions and increased financial risk. To mitigate these risks, B2B companies must prioritize robust procurement strategies and leverage digital technologies that fortify their procurement operations.

By moving away from legacy procurement programs mired in complexity and hung up on multi-step processes and embracing streamlined purchasing programs that reduce the amount of time leaders spend auditing purchases, firms can identify areas where savings can be made and implement cost-control measures without compromising on quality or operational efficiency.

Read more: Transforming Back-Office Functions Lets Firms Move Forward With Certainty

The Importance of Tightening Control Over B2B Processes

Supply chains are the backbone of B2B operations, and unexpected disruptions along the procurement journey can cause significant supply chain interruptions, from delayed shipments to even supplier bankruptcies. Tight control over procurement processes allows businesses to manage their supply chains more effectively, ensuring that they can adapt to changes swiftly. This involves maintaining a diversified supplier base, closely monitoring supplier performance and having contingency plans in place for potential disruptions.

“The single biggest challenge in B2B payments is that they are so fragmented across the company that being able to get a good healthy view of what my budget is, and where my actuals are, is the business problem most people are trying to solve. And once you finish that layer, then comes up the most important question, am I getting the ROI [return on investment] on my spend?” Karandeep Anand, chief product officer at Brex, told PYMNTS last summer.

Effective procurement strategies can help companies manage costs better by optimizing purchasing processes, negotiating better terms with suppliers and reducing waste. This requires a detailed understanding of spending patterns, identifying areas where savings can be made, and implementing cost-control measures without compromising on quality or operational efficiency.

“Many folks don’t want to buy from 30 or 40 different vendors. They want to be able to consolidate that with a few vendors, as few as possible … To differentiate ourselves, we have to make it truly seamless to buy, and to have a pricing structure that is completely transparent,” Dave Haase, president at ChemDirect, told PYMNTS in a conversation posted last November.

Read more: B2B Marketplaces Unlock New Opportunities for Commercial Procurement

What B2B Firms Expect From The Modern Procurement Experience

The solutions that Amazon Business is bringing to market provide clues around what B2B firms are seeking from procurement solutions.

For example, the Amazon Business App Center includes integrated shopping, accounting management, expense management, rewards and recognition, inventory management and business analytics, providing a single point of discovery as well as eliminating or reducing the need to develop a custom solution.

Separately, per the release, the platform’s Budget Management solution streamlines the process of setting and reviewing time-bound budgets across an organization, allowing business customers to set spend thresholds and make budget amounts visible to buyers to get ahead of overspending.

For larger orders of more than 1,000 items or more than $10,000 in total value, Integrated Quoting helps B2B firms generate custom quotes for bulk orders as well as other suppliers via third-party eSourcing and eProcurement platforms.

Amazon Business isn’t the only platform focused on streamlining procurement. Also this month, Airbase added spend analytics and vendor management capabilities to its spend orchestration software designed for mid-market and larger organizations; while Bamboo Rose has added supplier relationship management (SRM) capabilities to its retail management platform.

“We hear time and again from our customers that they can never be better than their worst performing suppliers,” Matt Stevens, CEO at Bamboo Rose, said in the release.

PYMNTS Intelligence has found that businesses across the board have upped their investments in technologies to support their procurement processes. In addition, many businesses that have been slow to invest now plan to increase their spending on these solutions.