Hotel procurement managers should be more flexible when it comes to working with new suppliers, according to speakers in a debate at the HOTEC Middle East conference in Doha today.
In the panel session that opened the event, which is being held at Ritz-Carlton Doha from June 1-4, Mohammad Alatiyat, director of materials for Rotana, acknowledged the challenge new suppliers had in targeting the large hotel chains.
He said purchasing managers should give suppliers the chance “to come and offer alternative products and alternative quality that can be aligned with the company’s quality”.
“Now it is about opening the doors to the suppliers, it’s not only to stick with one or two suppliers,” said Alatiyat.
He suggested one way of overcoming this would be to reduce the length of contracts with preferred suppliers.
“It is not only to keep one agreement with [one supplier for] two years or three years, let’s reduce it, let’s go down to one-year, let’s have preferred suppliers for one-year instead of two or three years where we can offer the chance to all suppliers to offer their solutions,” asserted Alatiyat.
At Starwood, however, N.A. Karunakaran, area director supply chain for Starwood Hotels Abu Dhabi, said Starwood relied upon preferred vendors to ensure that its brand standards were maintained across the group’s nine brands worldwide.
He said he was currently focused on “complexing purchases within the city” for Starwood – a new approach for the company, which previously managed procurement on a per-property basis.
Speaking from the audience, Steve Bolson, president of Partners Management Group, a New York-based turn-key procurement and fit out company, questioned the value of preferred suppliers.
He referenced the example of an owner he had saved US $400,000 by sourcing an alternative supplier, but admitted he had to “fight the operator tooth and nail” to use a supplier that was not on its approved vendor list.
Bolson claimed the saving was critical to the project for the owner and that the quality of product exactly was the same.
Now its in ninth year, HOTEC Middle East is an exclusive forum that brings together hotel procurement and materials managers with suppliers in a series of pre-arranged face to face, back to back meetings.