Fairmarkit Uses Smart Sourcing to Reduce Tail Spend and Optimize Procurement
When COVID-19 hit, the world was suddenly in desperate need of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). But shortages occurred as larger supply companies ran out of inventory. Seeing a burgeoning need, smaller manufacturers — who usually made other products — pivoted, churning out PPE for consumers. Yet there was still an obstacle: How would those in need of PPE know where to find it?
Enter Fairmarkit, an intelligent sourcing platform that enables organizations to more efficiently purchase goods and services. When it came to solving the PPE conundrum, Fairmarkit was able to use their large dataset to identify new, lesser-known suppliers, connect them with large enterprises, and direct more than three million units of PPE to the front lines.
Fairmarkit then donated over 40,000 masks to a local Boston community. “It was just a way we could give back by using the technology and the platform we had built to the fullest extent,” says Kevin Frechette, Fairmarkit’s CEO and co-founder.
Headquartered in Boston, Fairmarkit’s mission is to help companies decrease their tail spend when sourcing smaller, more frequent purchases. In order to do this, the Fairmarkit team built a SaaS platform that uses data and algorithms to streamline the procurement process. This allows customers to source items at a low cost, with little manual interference, while engaging with the lowest amount of risk possible. At the end of each transaction, the customer has additional vendor data to add to their portfolio, which they can reference when making future purchases.
AWS has been Fairmarkit’s chosen partner since the beginning. While many procurement processes are bogged down by legacy technology, AWS allows Fairmarket to use data pipelines to collect a plethora of information on each of their customers. This is at the core of how Fairmarkit is transforming procurement. “Historically all this data is just lost,” says Frechette. “So it’s not being used in a strategic fashion.” Through AWS, Fairmarkit has been able to enhance their ML algorithms, ensuring that the platforms gain more intelligence as they bring in data from various sources.
On the other side of the equation, vendors are also benefiting. Data algorithms allow Fairmarkit to be intelligent with how they recommend their suppliers, and ultimately drive more business. “At the end of the day, it is a marketplace, and we want to make sure we’re fostering both sides efficiently to drive a strong, productive outcome for both parties.”
After a customer’s data is collected, Fairmarkit uses ML to analyze the information. Both Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) and SageMaker have been instrumental in doing this. While MTurk has lent additional support to Fairmarkit’s internal team, SageMaker has allowed them to create a data labeling platform and enhance communication between their scientists. “We use Amazon SageMaker for our whole data science communication right now,” explains Victor Kushch, Fairmarkit’s CTO. “We have four data scientists working on the shared SageMaker environment and testing all the ideas there.”
And with AWS, Fairmarkit is breaking into global markets. Using Global Footprint, the company has tapped into other regions, serving customers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. “It’s very exciting to be able to go and have the data and the processing where we need it at our fingertips from Amazon,” says Andrew Kenney, VP of Engineering.
AWS has allowed Fairmarkit to identify what Frechette refers to as “a massive opportunity to transform,” and innovate a historically archaic industry. Going forward, Fairmarkit hopes to continue strengthening their partnership with Amazon and other like-minded organizations “that are putting a big focus on the end user, on simplifying the process of using data, and not just trying to throw a pen and paper at a problem.”