Two Wins for MarketMile

Sippican, AMS Services sign up for e-procurement service

Mountain View, CA  April 1, 2002  Two new customers are set to use e-procurement services from MarketMile, the American Express offspring that offers a hosted online purchasing service for mid-market companies.

Sippican Inc., a defense electronics contractor; and AMS Services, a provider of insurance software and services, have signed up for the company's e-procurement service.

MarketMile's service combines a hosted e-procurement application with a network of national and buyer-requested suppliers to automate a company's procurement processes. The solution provider said it can help its customers reap the benefits of e-procurement quickly because it handles "heavy-lifting tasks" such as supplier enablement and catalog management, which have proved problematic for some companies implementing e-procurement.

MarketMile boasts American Express as a key backer, and the latest announcements highlighted the benefits of that relationship for the solution provider.

Sippican  a government and defense electronics contractor that designs and manufactures oceanographic and meteorologic instruments, underwater vehicles and submarine communications systems  implemented the American Express Corporate Purchasing Card program in early 2001. The company views MarketMile as the next logical step in streamlining and automating the procurement process through e-procurement, according to Bill St. George, materials manager for the company.

"We're always trying to keep abreast of the latest procurement technologies and methods, seeking continuous improvement to stay competitive," said St. George, who explained that a pilot group of 20 Sippican employees will begin using the service immediately, with plans for 50 users to be trained and authorized to access the procurement service by year-end.

Although MarketMile accepts various payment methods, St. George said he expects the vast majority of Sippican's spending on MarketMile will be done through the American Express Corporate Purchasing Card, in part because the card information can be imbedded in the e-procurement system.

AMS Services is a provider of software and automation services to insurance agents, brokers, banks and other distributors of insurance and financial services. With more than 20,000 customers, AMS is the largest provider of comparative rating systems in the insurance industry.

Like Sippican, AMS Services began using the American Express Corporate Purchasing Card in 2001. The company added financial integration and reconciliation software from American Express last month. e-Procurement seemed the next logical step, according to Darrell Stanley, director of corporate procurement at the company.

The company had been watching developments in e-procurement for the past couple years but only recently moved to implement an e-procurement system, Stanley said. "We recognize e-procurement is the future and felt now was the time to implement a solution. We didn't want to be caught behind."

Stanley said that AMS went with MarketMile because the provider approached e-procurement as a service, bundling in tasks that other providers left to outside consultants or considered a premium offering, and because of MarketMile's focus on the mid-market. "MarketMile seemed the most accessible  the best value  for middle-market companies like AMS Services," Stanley said.

As part of its pilot program, approximately 10 users will be trained to process transactions on MarketMile, and AMS will access six to nine suppliers. By year's end, plans call for 40 to 45 users at 14 AMS Services locations to be using the service.

"We expect to significantly increase the usage and effectiveness of our purchasing card program with the implementation of MarketMile, in part because certain purchases we historically made using other payment methods will now be made via MarketMile using the purchasing card," said Stanley, citing maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) supplies as an example of such purchases.