Amazon Business Exchange 2021 - France Country Keynote

Amazon Business Exchange 2021 - France Country Keynote

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I'm delighted to see you for this new edition of Amazon Business Exchange, ABX. Last year, we were the first to be able to meet up and this time, it's still not possible. We're doing everything we can to make sure this can be as interactive as possible, and I'm delighted that you are able to communicate with our teams via the chat box on the site during this session. Obviously, we would have preferred to meet in person, but we'll try to make the session interactive by splitting it into two sections.

We'll start with a presentation from Amazon Business that I'll deliver, And then, we'll have the pleasure of welcoming two purchasing experts with two completely different scenarios. We'll have Sandrine Cortes from Faurecia and Eric Bollengier joining us from Aramis Group. Each of them will tell you and explain in detail how they tackle concerns regarding user and superior expectations, and about how Amazon Business is the general marketplace integrated within their strategies.

Allow me to begin by saying, because what I've been told all year while meeting different Amazon Business clients, that your expectations are what we're trying very hard to address at Amazon Business every day since we always start with our clients' needs. A lot of feedback we've had this year has obviously been related to the Covid situation, in particular, the following four points: You and general management have been telling us that you're looking for efficiency in your purchasing. We want to both respond to management's obligations and expectations who are seeking cheaper and less time-consuming purchasing, but what our end users are expecting are easy solutions that can meet their purchasing needs. The second thing you told us is that we need a sustainable purchasing strategy. We need Amazon Business to support us in this and we'll talk a lot about that alongside solutions that allow us to purchase more respectfully in terms of our commitments to social and environmental responsibility in every sense.

The third thing you've been saying is that now all our collaborators are working from home, either partially or just have more flexibility in the workplace, how does Amazon Business respond to these concerns about working from home? Finally, what we're seeing increasingly more, and what we want to support, is the expectation to support local and responsible businesses. As in, by buying from Amazon Business, you're telling us that you'd like your business expenses to benefit local vendors either in your area, in France, or ones who strongly meet societal and environmental norms. Our mission at Amazon Business is to help professionals to simplify their purchasing by saving time and money for both them and their collaborators. Let's come back to who our clients actually are at Amazon Business. We're really proud to report that today, 16% very small and small to medium-sized businesses in France have an account on Amazon Business in France. That's obviously a huge part of our activity and we still need to keep bringing them products and efficiency, whether it be for a shop, building site, offices, or for a freelancer working at home.

On the other side of the spectrum in terms of business size, 90% of CAC 40 companies also have an account on Amazon Business and exchange in open and constant dialogue with us. We don't limit ourselves to the private sector because we also have a large presence in the education sector, both public and private, with more than 3000 schools who buy from Amazon Business on a daily basis, and we're dealing with nursery schools right up to university or further education level. Last year, we greatly developed our offer in the health sector thanks to the support we received in clinics, care homes, hospitals, and today we have more than 300 healthcare establishment clients on Amazon business, and we're working really hard to stay on top of concerns for both private and public hospitals. We talked a little about who our clients are, but let's come back to what they're buying. Amazon Business has more than 100 million available products so that all our client needs may be satisfied.

These products are proposed at competitive prices and I'll come back to how our bulk order discount works on Amazon Business for some of these products. At Amazon Business, after a presence in France of over three years, we are increasingly enriching our offer in order to meet specific professional client expectations who are seeking professional products. Let's take a few examples. A school wants games that aren't necessarily games that parents would use on a daily basis. Those would be very specific educational games. In the same way, personal protective equipment that hospitals expect of us are once again, very specific products.

We work very hard every day alongside our partners to provide this offer through Amazon Business. More and more, we're getting artisan companies asking us for maintenance and operational equipment like portable electrical devices, drills, or other necessary tools for daily activity that need to meet safety requirements as opposed to tools used every day in the home. Once again, we work very hard to collaborate with French brands and resellers to be able to bring you these very specific products. Finally, we work a lot with most of our clients in categories like office supplies or in anything you might need in office kitchens every day, and we're continuing to try and enrich our offer. These are categories that we're still in the process of developing. Let's now come back to what the key purposes of Amazon Business are.

The features our clients tend to elect for currently include scheduled payment features where you can pay within 30 days through an invoice. Obviously, amongst other advantages, the Prime business programme offers fast delivery, discount on bulk orders, as well as the option to establish approval processes to limit products you want your collaborators to buy or not with that famous Guided Buying policy, that many of our clients adopt. Finally, if we get back to basics, what is Amazon Business? It represents the chance for all businesses, be they large or small, in the public or private sector, to have just one provider for thousands of products on offer at competitive prices. One topic that is close to our hearts here at Amazon Business as well as to our clients, is the importance of responsible purchasing. Societal and environmental responsibility is at the heart of our activity at Amazon as well as at the heart of our clients' activity and we are devoted to meeting their expectations in this area. The first thing I'd like to talk about that we're very proud of is that last July, we launched a feature that allows businesses to focus on, or guide rather, collaborator purchasing across tens of thousands of products that have a responsible label.

We're all familiar with these labels in the market that have specifically been tied to these products and we've created a feature, I mentioned guided buying earlier that allows you to limit or prioritise responsible products that meet obligations, that are organic, eco-friendly, recyclable, and so on. So, we selected a certain number of labels and this allows your users and your employees to prioritise buying these products. What's more, we're co-founders of the Climate Pledge which commits to reaching zero carbon emissions by 2040. This is one of Amazon's priorities and is transposed into so many of our actions on a daily basis, including with our partner sellers. Responsible purchasing will be at the heart of our priorities. We spoke about what we're currently testing, and we'll continue to develop features with this in mind as well as continue to improve our carbon footprint and obviously, help our clients in this direction.

Another priority of ours is to continue, as we mentioned before, to add products that our clients actually need, to keep our prices competitive in order to meet your expectations and to offer better quality of service in terms of better support, delivery, billing, and digitisation of purchasing and advice. Save the date, 2021 at ABX so we can take stock on our progress on these topics. Don't hesitate, as I said you have a chat box where you can ask us questions and we'd be delighted to chat with you and answer your questions more specifically.

We'll see you very shortly with Sandrine Cortes and Eric Bollengier, our two clients from Faurecia and Aramis Auto for our session where we'll finally get to hear from our clients. Thank you. with some Amazon Business clients who'll talk to us about their experience and the point of a marketplace within a purchasing strategy. I have the pleasure of welcoming Sandrine Cortes and Eric Bollengier to the panel.

I'll give them a few minutes to introduce themselves now. Sandrine, go ahead. Yes, hello and thank you, Geraldine for allowing us to come and chat together. I'm Sandrine Cortes and I work in indirect purchasing at Faurecia and I coordinate different projects related to automation, digitisation, and simplification. For those who might not know, Faurecia is a rank one automobile parts manufacturer which means we interact directly with the manufacturers.

Our group's strategy is to transition from a traditional parts provider role, like seats, dashboards, and exhaust systems, to more of a global solutions provider role related to sustainable mobility within the cockpit of the future. Those are our two strategic actions. Great, thank you very much. Eric, if you will. Hello, I'm Eric Bollengier and I'm a Real Estate and General Services Director within the Aramis Auto group. Aramis Auto is mainly based in France and we're the French leader in online second-hand car sales.

We're now present in three other countries. We're in Spain under the name Clicars, in Belgium under the name Cardoen, and in the UK as CarSupermarket. Aramis Auto's aim is to simplify buying and mobility for all Europeans. Thank you both for your introductions.

I'd just like to remind you that there's a chat box you can interact with Amazon Business in, so if you have any questions about our chat today, if you want to dive further into it and get in touch, don't hesitate to use the chat box. We're here to answer your questions. Let's begin and I'll start with you, Sandrine, I'd like you to tell me if your company's purchasing objectives have changed over the last 12 months given the circumstances. I'd say so, yes. Our objectives have indeed adapted

and some of them have even gotten stronger. I can share three examples with you. The first, particularly given the situation we were facing last year, obviously our priorities, of which we have three, are the following; we have to protect our teams and secure the company's financial situation as well as prepare a safe relaunch for the company. So, we were able to learn some lessons in terms of relationships developed with our providers in order to be ready and it also allowed us to enrich our risk management process.

Our second example concerns societal responsibility. Around 2012, we launched a programme called Buy Beyond which has recently been reinforced concerning anything to do with CSR which is centred around four approaches, as in, protecting and respecting the environment. We're talking a lot nowadays about being carbon neutral. It also concerns human and workers' rights, ethical business practices, as well as the spread of good practice. So today, and what we started over the past few years, and even more so now is to encourage our providers to participate actively in this programme and self-evaluate their maturity in terms of these approaches.

The last example I want to share concerns indirect purchasing and the fact that in terms of objectives, which the crisis has only reinforced, our conviction to speed up digitisation. So, we're aiming to focus our teams on category A purchasing and work alongside operations and our internal clients on how we can implement smarter spending. And for category B and C purchasing, how we can industrialise in terms of tools and simplifying the process, and notably, we can mention Amazon there. -Yes, in terms of digitisation. -Exactly.

Great, thank you. Eric, back to you on changes over the past 12 months. Following what Sandrine said, I'd say yes and no. We've seen structural changes in the market with Covid which had significant impacts across all our supply chains including very evident increases to our turnaround times. That has allowed us to speed up a transformation in the purchasing process by basing ourselves on two basic and significant fundamentals of Aramis Auto's DNA which are, on the one hand, operations and strengthening our relationships with all our providers.

It's essential to build real, sensible, and fair partnerships built mutually alongside our partners and providers so we can help each other towards our common objectives And obviously, regarding digitisation, we're a very digital company. So, for us, it was necessary to speed up in this regard in order to make much more efficient tools for our users. As Sandrine said, digitisation is simply essential nowadays. As I mentioned before, we're present across Europe and obviously, it's part of our objective to be able to propose an offer that extends beyond borders.

So, this digitisation with Amazon has helped and supported us a great deal across all category C purchasing. Okay, very nice. Thank you. Let me start over, because we talked while getting ready earlier, about concentration on your efforts to meet end users’ needs.

How is that being expressed and would you say you're interested in the end user? Is this a new thing or has it always been this way? In the same way, the user, the client really is the centre of all our attention at Aramis Auto across all our services. At Aramis Auto, each person's aim is to look at how we can satisfy our clients, our end client, obviously. So for the purchasing services, it was obvious that to succeed in restructuring our transformation of the purchasing service, it was necessary to put the client at the centre of our considerations. So, we worked with users to try and understand what their needs were, how we could adapt our tools, once again, to make them more efficient which obviously relates to digitisation and access to an abundant marketplace and offer at Amazon, alongside a certain consideration, because it's necessary to manage our information flow that extends to clients, otherwise, they'd just get lost.

That's not our aim. Our aim is to simplify things So, this consideration of our users was to understand what the product was that they needed, as in, which is best adapted to their needs, which is what we need to keep in mind while purchasing. Obviously, the right price at the right time. I think we represent this well. Just to clarify, your clients are the internal users. -Oh, yes. -They're the people buying.

Yes, totally. My client is the internal user like agency managers, financial services, IT services, support services. We're not at all open to Aramis Auto end clients. -Of course. -We're a support service. What about changes relating to working from home? Not so much working from home, it was more the continuous lockdowns that forced us, let's say, to view the workspace and user comfort differently. In our respective management positions, we all have, whether you're in the real estate sector or not, a physical workspace.

In purchasing services, we still have the aim to bring better comfort, we mentioned ease of use, and now I think it's absolutely necessary to ask ourselves the right questions and concentrate on what the role of purchasing services is. What are our partners' roles, including the improvement of collaborator comfort? And I'm not even referring to quality of working life here, I really mean quality of life in work. It's about how we're supporting our collaborators to where they are within this access to tools in the workplace and comfort throughout the service. Thank you. How has the implementation of Amazon Business worked? Can you talk to us a bit about those steps and the journey? It's been great, thanks.

No, seriously, so the implementation of Amazon Business within Aramis. So, to pick up on something Sandrine said about what's essential is in building Amazon's offer at Aramis Auto, not at Amazon, obviously, we focused on the users and how they were consuming. And I mean how they were consuming outside of the professional sphere. That's when Amazon said, "Wait, it’s really simple to buy on Amazon. Why can't we manage to purchase these products easily?" We had the same idea.

Yes, it's a great idea and in any case, for us, we saw that the assimilation rate of the platform is excellent. I don't think I had a single user or site that didn't order through the platform last year. I've seen some really good feedback both to do with, as Sandrine was saying, freetext research as well as our ability to perform a bit of auditing.

I don't want to say monitoring, but that's kind of it. What's important to know at Aramis Auto is that we implemented Amazon by basing ourselves on one of the group's essential values, which is trust. I mean, each of Aramis Auto's collaborators has an acute awareness of the value of their work and the importance of their responsibilities.

So, we start from the idea that the user will definitely use the tool and budget we make available for them. This only impedes the fact we operate a quarterly picking assessment. But this assessment, this audit, you could call it, has more an aspect of willingness to learn about the way users consume and eventually adapting our standards, or whichever aspect of the platform available to users, than the value of an inevitable consequence of an error or something. So, it's this aspect of trust that we've placed at the centre of the group, it's essential and then beyond this-- What about the implementation? For the implementation, we've had support from commercial and technical teams who have really been there to listen. That's been highly appreciated,

and above all, what's quite impressive has been the agility you've shown in terms of the size of the operation. It's been very impressive and has worked really well. I'll pass on the message.

Exactly, but I talked about it to those interested on several occasions, and honestly, it's a real breeze to work with you. Thank you very much. So, Sandrine, for Faurecia, from memory I think we said the implementation took two months for Aramis Auto. With Faurecia, it's a different scale, which is why it's great to have you both with us today to see how the solution can adapt to different-sized clients.

So tell us a bit about that. So, the solution that we implemented was a source-to-pay one between the end of 2018 and start of 2020. This allowed us to start from a strong foundation and so, last year, in less than 12 months we implemented Amazon in about seven countries. To be fair, it's more like 6 + 1, but we focused on countries where you have your hubs which allowed us to propose this Business Prime option. So, we did Japan, the US, Germany, Spain and Portugal, France, and the UK. What we did was set up access to Amazon for our collaborators via a PunchOut catalogue, as in, they don't use the website.

They log in through a PunchOut catalogue that's completely integrated into our procure-to-pay solution. So, we put on our foundation and added features to it. So there, the advantage-- So, they don't even leave the Intranet. Exactly. They're in our tool, our solution--

They don't need a password or anything. Exactly, and we have single sign-on so there are no issues there. -Okay. -So if they want to purchase something like a service, if they have to make a supply order on Amazon they don't leave our tool. So we're completely integrated in terms of purchase requests and the order system. That was important.

We went even further since we implemented, which we did over in two goes. We integrated billing as well. That was also important to us and today, we don't use paper invoices any more, we've passed that stage. However, we do have PDF invoices that have to be scanned, etc.

But anyway, every provider can have their own invoicing format, so sometimes there are bum ones. So, the advantage of having the billing completely integrated is that there's zero manual intervention. So, that's a real advantage that stays within our idea of simplifying and automating. That's what we've appreciated about our collaboration, the integration. So, if the invoice is correct and is validated upon receipt, we can then pay them and no one can intervene. Indeed, that is dematerialised billing and you mentioned Business Prime.

So, as I said, we also have Business Prime which we chose for the CPI. We made an exception for Portugal, hence the 6 + 1, but we chose those CPIs for that reason because it had the Business Prime option. Aside from that, in terms of organisation, we've had different teams managing the European side. We've had another team coordinating the American side and another in Japan, so we have, let's say, three teams.

We have quite a robust base of people in France and it's true that, as Eric said, our teams do a great job. A big thanks to them. That's not the end, we'll keep going. No, it isn’t. We've got loads of projects and the teams work well together.

Even this morning. We haven't disclosed anything. Thank you, Sandrine. I'd like to conclude this session by talking about what's next. So, what are your next steps with Amazon business in two words? Because we're coming to the end of our discussion.

Eric, if you had two things, on your agenda for your upcoming exchanges. So, we really need to sort out the dematerialisation of our invoicing and integrate it on our side. That's essential for us and I'm happy to hear that it works for you. We still have some things to sort out yet with you. The second thing is about creating an internal order hub at Aramis Auto. Integrated with Amazon Business.

-Exactly. -Perfect. Sandrine? I don't have two things, I've got four. Go on, four then. So for us the first thing is to strengthen and develop business where we and you already exist while working together and our teams are working on that.

The second thing because, like I said, we're in around 30 countries and we're interested in Amazon in other countries. So, we'd like to see how we can get there together while avoiding delivery fees. The third thing is to see how you could help us optimise our provider base.

I mean, certain providers' activity with us is quite limited and see how we could, let's say, work via your intermediary which allows them, in turn, to extend their business to new clients. And last but not least, everything to do with responsible purchasing. As we said, that aspect is really important to us.

So, working with Amazon in this area. We're working on that indeed, and thank you both very much for participating in this session. Thanks to all of you for watching and see you soon.

2021-11-07 11:52

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