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Customer Snapshot

Empowering the Humanitarian Supply Chain

900 square miles in 10 states

Area covered in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts


Whether it’s one family losing a home to a fire, hundreds of miles of coastline ravaged by a hurricane, or a unit of lifesaving blood needed, there’s no such thing as a small disaster—and the American Red Cross is there to help. Using Ariba® solutions from SAP, they ensure that needed supplies and people get to the right place as fast as possible.



American Red Cross


Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Customer Website




~US$3.2 billion (Operation Budget)

Number of Employees

30,000 staff / 500,000 volunteers

Implementation Partners


Line of Business



Public Sector

Featured Products

Ariba procurement solutions, Ariba Network


More than 130 years of commitment

Since it was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton, the American Red Cross has continually expanded its commitment to relieve human suffering. Its services include: rapid disaster response, community services for the needy, support for military members and their families, blood collection and distribution, disaster preparedness, health and safety education, and international relief and development.


  • 1881First local chapter of the American Red Cross was formed in Dansville, N.Y.
  • 1881Red Cross undertook its first disaster relief effort aiding victims of Michigan forest fires.
  • 1905American Red Cross received the Congressional Charter under which it still operates today.
  • 1912Red Cross came to the aid of survivors of the sinking of the Titanic.
  • 1914Red Cross "Mercy Ship" sailed to Europe with medical staff and supplies following the outbreak of World War I.
  • 1932Red Cross begins distribution of government surplus wheat and cotton products to victims of the Dust Bowl drought, which affected more than five states including Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
  • 1941Red Cross began the National Blood Donor Service to collect blood for the U.S. military. Moments after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Red Cross volunteers went into action.
  • 1947 In an effort to include more representation from local chapters, the Red Cross Board of Governors replaced the Central Committee as Red Cross governing body.
  • 1965The Red Cross Movement adopted its Seven Fundamental Principles: Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity, and Universality.
  • 1983United States blood banking groups issued their first warning about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
  • 1991Ellizabeth Dole became the first woman president of the Red Cross since Clara Barton.
  • 1995Red Cross provided aid to victims of the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City.
  • 1999Red Cross initiated Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT), a method for early detection of HIV and Hepatitis C in blood.
  • 2001Red Cross responded to terrorist attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C, and outside the town of Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania.
  • 2005Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, killing nearly 2,000 and leaving millions homeless. The Red Cross mobilized its largest, single disaster relief effort to date.

Business Model

A fast paced world demands faster and
more efficient systems

The Red Cross must have the systems in place to rapidly respond to disasters as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible.

Success Strategy

Simplicity + Synergy + Systems

The American Red Cross has a formula for success, Simplicity + Synergy + Systems. A vast network of caring, compassionate volunteers is mobilized and supported by technology that leverages the latest cloud-based applications to procure and distribute goods and services where and when they are needed.

The Challenge

How to optimize disaster response in
the 21st century?


Disaster can strike anywhere at any time. The effective coordination of information and materials is critical for the American Red Cross to successfully deliver humanitarian aid. Limited access to information can cause delays and drive up costs, particularly during large events that may require thousands of volunteers and cover hundreds of square miles. The Red Cross maintains relationships with numerous suppliers and transportation providers. However, disaster may require the rapid engagement of additional organizations due to geography or availability.



The American Red Cross needs a system that can transparently connect people with information, and quickly present and manage alternative resources when circumstances change unexpectedly.


Enter SAP

The Red Cross turns to SAP’s Ariba Network

The American Red Cross sought out solutions that would eliminate costly and time-consuming paper based processes. They discovered Ariba. Ariba provides access to industry-leading technology, proven process expertise, and community-shared best practices via the Ariba Network. With Ariba solutions, the American Red Cross gains immediate access to its humanitarian supply chain, connecting with thousands of suppliers in the Ariba Network, the world’s largest trading partner community.


For instance, in an emergency, the Red Cross can easily search for suppliers of specific products in specific locations, which helps the organization rapidly get resources to people in need.

The SAP Experience

The benefits of a strong and flexible system

Internally, the Ariba solution is known at the American Red Cross as ReQuest. The organization wanted everybody who interacts with the system to consider it a seamless, internal resource characterized by simplicity and reliability.


The Ariba Network enjoys a premier reputation, and this track record of satisfied customers appealed to the American Red Cross. ReQuest gives managers the ability to engage directly with suppliers. This function is critical during disaster response efforts.


The Red Cross wants to connect with the largest number of suppliers as quickly as possible and uses digital application technology to increase the flexibility of its workers and volunteers in the field.

The Red Cross uses Ariba solutions to help foster positive relationships with suppliers, by ensuring speedy payment for goods and services. Automated Ariba solutions minimize many manual tasks that can delay payments, and rewards supplier organizations even faster for their help during emergencies.

Running Better

Serving victims of the superstorm

Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive storm of 2012, and provided a demonstration of just how important Ariba systems are to Red Cross efforts. The ReQuest solution, powered by Ariba, enabled the efficient distribution of shelter, food, and relief totaling 81,000 overnight stays, 17 million meals and snacks, and 7 million relief items including blankets, coats, and personal items.


ReQuest brings speed and efficiency

The American Red Cross is now able to achieve its mission of saving lives and serving those in need with faster response and more accurate deliveries of provisions.


Expanding supplier connections

The American Red Cross continues to connect with suppliers through the Ariba Network. The agency believes that technology is a critical component of its mission, and is establishing a larger, broader network of suppliers to ensure it can provide aid and comfort quickly anywhere in the world. Supplier connectivity is being expanded to suppliers, warehouses, transportation companies, and non-governmental organizations that must all work seamlessly together in times of crisis.

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