By choosing to work with a big name in online shopping, Johns Hopkins is making room for some smaller businesses to get the visibility they need to grow, including a new primary supplier for office needs such as paper, pens, and coffee.
On May 1, the Amazon Business eMarketplace became the system through which university departments can order what they need—including office and lab supplies—replacing the previous online HopkinsSelect eMarketplace as our primary eMarketplace. Based on a pilot phase with more than 1,000 Johns Hopkins users, the Procurement Office believes employees will enjoy the platform's improved ability to search for, compare, and read feedback about products.
"Purchasers at Johns Hopkins have often said they want an Amazon-like experience," says Matthew A. Persic, director of Procurement Services. "It is exciting that with the adoption of this user-friendly platform, we can still highlight our preferred vendors and display negotiated prices. Because Amazon offers a platform for a wide variety of outside vendors, it also makes room for local and diverse businesses to be part of the mix."
AJ Stationers, a woman- and minority-owned office supplier recognized as a Minority Business Enterprise by the City of Baltimore, is one of the vendors available on the Amazon Business platform. Following a recent procurement event, the university has decided to designate AJ's as the primary source for office supplies. Pricing specifically for the JHU community will appear automatically in search results, and the university expects at least 10 percent annual savings in aggregate within the office supplies category.
"This relationship is right in line with the goals of the HopkinsLocal initiative to support diverse businesses and local employment opportunities," says Crystal Burns, small business and supplier diversity lead for the Procurement Office. "We look forward to additional ways we can work together to support economic inclusion as AJ's has also committed to open an office in Baltimore City in addition to its Elkton location."
AJ's has been a Johns Hopkins supplier before, a relationship that dates back 40 years. Previously, the company had an office in Baltimore to be a distributor for the university and a few other clients, according to Rusty Balazs, vice president of the company. He says that renewing the partnership with Johns Hopkins and returning to the city "feels like we are coming home."
The Procurement Office will be providing additional information and training for purchasers across the university in the coming weeks, and individuals are encouraged to find AJ Stationers on the new Amazon Business platform for both SAP and Procurement Card transactions. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.