Michael Bregenhorn manages the procurement processes for voestalpine Edelstahl Deutschland, and since recently, also via Amazon Business.
Purchasing needs to be learned,” is an old slogan, but one which is still relevant today for Michael Bregenhorn in the Regional Procurement Office (RGO). He manages the procurement processes for the voestalpine High Performance Metals division sales companies in the Central Europe region.
His area of business has changed rapidly and fundamentally over the past 20 years: with the business world globally networked and digitalized, voestalpine now no longer uses the Internet exclusively as a sales channel, but also for purchasing.
Purchasing by numbers
Bregenhorn organizes his activities according to the key performance indicators his employer has defined in the corporate “Procurement 2025” strategy. One of the indicators that Bregenhorn keeps a particularly close eye on is the e-procurement rate, i.e., the number of electronic purchases. “The higher the e-procurement rate, the greater the degree of automation, and the lower the process costs,” Bregenhorn calculates. He has found a promising lever to help achieve this goal:
voestalpine has been a registered partner on the global retail giant’s business-to-business platform since 2019. The company is an early adopter, one of the first to join the fully electronic procurement trend, while helping Amazon develop its marketplace for business customers by providing feedback. The company accesses Amazon via the corporate ProCatalog webshop. “The platform has developed quickly in recent years,” Michael Bregenhorn observes. “Although connecting to the ERP system was initially quite an effort, many of the teething troubles have now been solved, and the service is as you would expect from Amazon: quick deliveries, short response times, and plenty of goodwill when it comes to complaints.” Following a test phase with office supplies, the sales companies can now purchase many other goods categories not covered by corporate procurement contracts, such as IT accessories, through Amazon. It will get really exciting soon when the first so-called MRO articles, for maintenance, repair and operations, are added. Our plan is to gradually reach a volume which makes trading via Amazon more efficient and profitable for everyone involved in the procurement process—also for the suppliers.”
Always looking for alternatives
For Bregenhorn and voestalpine, the main advantage of Amazon lies in simplifying the procurement processes. As for most of his colleagues, ordering from Amazon has long since become second nature, and the Amazon Business look and feel precisely mirrors the one used on the famous retail platform. The quality of service is also equally high on both platforms. Bregenhorn knows that Amazon usually quotes the best price. But it is a mistake to assume this, and so offers must be constantly benchmarked: “For that reason, we monitor the ordering process on Amazon carefully and on an ongoing basis, and are always on the lookout for cost-effective alternatives.”