By Natalie Crampton, managing director of TEC
Procurement departments and their preferred supply chains are behind everything we use today, right from our everyday gadgets to entertainment events that we attend to the food we consume at our favorite restaurants. We cannot deny the important role that procurement departments play in ensuring quality products and services. As event professionals, we must work with procurement teams if we want to work with the best companies, government organizations and prestigious events.
A decade ago, the procurement function was almost unheard of in the region and it was very rare to have a procurement department at UAE-based companies. But as the market grew, the number of suppliers for various products and services increased and it became difficult for companies to figure out who could give them the best service. The need for a procurement department to source the right suppliers and materials, thus, became a necessity.
Procurement departments are more prevalent in the government sector, but, gradually, this trend is becoming more evident in the private sector as well. Organizations committed to using competitive, sustainable and qualified supply chain of partners and service providers, are moving toward establishing in-house procurement departments.
At the same time, the traditional role of procurement to just source goods and services is changing to become more strategic. For the example, budget is not the only consideration when selecting agencies; their creativity, past experience and rapport with the management team is also taken into account.
Ultimately, both event agencies and procurement teams have their own standards to live by – creativity for agencies and value for procurement – and both teams need to work together to achieve success for both parties.
Procurement departments ensure that clients are getting the best value for money and the best suppliers. They are especially useful when complex purchases are involved as they have the specialist knowledge, experience, and expertise to understand the dynamics of the supply chain and ensure careful research, a great deal of logistics and management. Especially for a small size business, this helps in maintaining consistency and quality of products and services.
On a positive note, procurement teams that have excellent relationships with vendors can negotiate the best deal and get through multiple vendor proposals faster. A strong partnership with a procurement team leads to cost reduction. It also leads to profitability, as it ensures continuity of service with proper inventory management and ability to deal with rush orders.
We have a role to play in facilitating friendly relationships between the procurement team and the client’s expectations.
Whatever the event may be, we need to provide a definite, quantifiable, and commercial return on investment.
It is also important to keep the procurement department aware of any potential changes that could occur to the event format and give them various options to choose from.
Setting expectations and quantifiable results at the outset will help both parties to achieve the best results; and nurture a valuable and longstanding relationship.