Amazon Business aims to lower supply spend for healthcare purchasers: 4 key insights

Small, local and nonprofit healthcare providers hurting from COVID-19-related losses can reduce their overall supply spend by reevaluating their procurement strategy, an Amazon Business spokesperson told Becker's ASC Review.

"Ultimately, there is an opportunity to rethink the purchasing processes holding the organization back," the spokesperson said. "As more and more aspects of the healthcare industry continue to digitize, the adoption of an e-procurement strategy through an online store can help to ensure purchasers are ready for the future."

Four insights from Amazon Business:

1. Traditional purchasing processes may involve making one-time purchases from multiple different vendors, having staff members drive from store to store using a purchasing card or reviewing hundreds of new vendor requests a day. These strategies limit organizational control over transactions, complicate budgeting efforts, and ultimately drive up costs, the spokesperson said.

2. By contrast, e-procurement can help lower supply spend by: 

  • Eliminating the need for employees to procure supplies in the field and wait on vendor approvals
  • Giving healthcare organizations the power to make buying decisions using real-time data, price comparisons and customer reviews
  • Providing the option to establish purchasing guidelines, spending limits and approval processes 
  • Offering access to a larger variety of equipment from sellers around the world 
  • Allowing healthcare purchasers to choose how orders will be delivered
  • Consolidating non-contract spend to one purchasing channel

3. Compounding these advantages is millennials' tendency to prefer online stores like those on Amazon Business. According to the online marketplace platform Mirakl, 80 percent of today's business-to-business purchasers expect a convenient purchasing experience like what's offered by consumer-facing websites. 

4. E-procurement can help improve budgeting at a time when it's never been more critical. Mary's Center, a nonprofit community health center in the Washington, D.C., metro area, is one organization that began using Amazon Business amid COVID-19-related challenges. With access to dashboards that facilitate regular audits as well as a centralized system for personal protective equipment orders, the staff at Mary's Center is more engaged in the procurement process.

"Now, sourcing supplies doesn't slow down the organization, and they can delegate purchasing of products to their individual centers," the Amazon Business spokesperson said. "Mary's Center can also see the details of their purchases and easily compare them in one place, maintaining oversight into spending."

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