American Express Markets Success in Procurement by Launching New Purchasing Services for Corporations

Leveraging its own success in cutting more than $1 billion from its procurement costs over the past five years, American Express has developed and begun marketing two new corporate purchasing solutions as part of its expanding S2Ssm (Source-to-Settle) product suite.

The company announced the new solutions at the Institute of Supply Management conference held here this week.

American Express unveiled S2Ssm Contract Audit & Recoverysm and S2Ssm Catalog Prosm, which are designed to help companies optimize performance, drive savings and increase control and compliance in their supply chains. S2S Contract Audit & Recovery is an analytic service that provides best practices to help firms achieve the contract savings they negotiated and recover any monies lost through non-compliance. S2S CatalogPro is an online solution that integrates with a firms existing e-procurement software to enhance the product search experience with business-to-consumer (B2C) features, making it easier for employees to order from preferred suppliers and secure negotiated rates.

Companies that have made major investments to streamline purchasing and move it online are simply not getting full benefit from their efforts, said Rion Needs, SVP/GM of American Express Purchasing Services. We developed these new S2S services in response to our customers requests for more powerful ways to manage supplier contracts, as well as lead their employees to approved goods and services.

Andrew Bartolini, Research Director at Boston-based Aberdeen Group, noted that companies can generate significant savings through more discipline in procurement. Our research1 shows that more than one-third of all corporate purchases are off-contract, and companies lose 22% of every dollar spent out of compliance. Systems that directly support compliance policies are a critical next-step in enterprise efficiency.

Contract Audit & Recovery

American Express is offering its experience in corporate expense management to provide companies and their suppliers with in-depth analyses and recommendations to drive savings and build stronger partnerships.

Contract Audit & Recovery, offered globally, begins with a rigorous analysis of contracts, billing data and business processes and controls to identify pricing that strays from a companys preferred supplier deals. The Contract Audit & Recovery team then develops an action plan and provides support to recover monies owed. The team also provides advice on best practices to address any future contract challenges.

American Express offers flexible pricing models for the service, including contingency based pricing, depending upon the scope of the engagement.

"Through Contract Audit & Recovery, we were able to identify gaps in our contracting process, discover the types of pricing discrepancies we may have had with our suppliers and recover the funds owed. Also, we were able to leverage best practices by circling back and implementing them into our processes," says Nedi Telvi, Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer for Ameriprise Financial, which has remained an S2S customer even after its spin-off from American Express in 2005.

CatalogPro

Although many firms have implemented online procurement systems, corporations continue to face roadblocks to realizing full benefits: low employee adoption, high levels of maverick spend, an increase in the number of help desk resources required for user-support, limited ability to direct people to preferred goods, and a dangerous loss of control in getting accurate prices.

CatalogPro was initially a B2C solution that American Express acquired and extended to add business-to-business (B2B) functionality and controls to solve these issues in its own procurement operation. Ameriprise Financial continues to rely on CatalogPro as a key component of its e-purchasing solution as well. "With CatalogPro, we were able to implement a solution that was significantly more intuitive and made the customer buying experience easier. And we were really able to control the products we wanted users to buy and the price paid," adds Telvi.

CatalogPro works seamlessly with a companys existing eProcurement solution to transform purchasing after a requisition has been initiated. It offers enhancements that put it on par with online retail sites, such as guided navigation, advanced search and order capabilities, and greater product detail. To enhance corporate efficiency and control, CatalogPro also features automated approval and 100% catalog price compliance. Other functionality enhances purchasing professionals ability to source and manage their supplier networks more effectively through the use of a product control dashboard that streamlines updates.

Pricing for the product is flexible and is based on a monthly service fee.

S2S (Source to Settle) Suite

The S2S solution suite addresses the entire supply chain from sourcing and ordering to invoicing and settlement. S2S offers solutions to help companies optimize performance and drive savings.

S2S Contract Audit & Recovery and S2S CatalogPro complement the S2Ssm eInvoice&Pay solution, which was unveiled in March. S2S eInvoice&Pay is the first fully integrated Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment solution to help companies process 100% of their invoices from a single online portal managed by American Express.

About American Express

Through its Global Commercial Card group, American Express provides the Corporate Card, Corporate Purchasing Solutions, S2S solutions and other expense management services to mid-sized, large and global companies worldwide. In the US, it is the leading issuer of commercial cards, serving more than 50% of the Fortune 500 as well as tens of thousands of mid-sized companies. American Express issues local-currency commercial cards in 40 countries and International Dollar Cards in an additional 100 countries. More information can be found at http://www.americanexpress.com/corporateservices.

The American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel and international banking.

1 The Aberdeen Groups Source-to-Settle Compliance Benchmark Report.

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