Procurement staff lament being sidelined

Hotelier's Procurement Summit unveils divided sentiment in purchasing

The first panel discussion of Hotelier Middle East Procurement Summit 2014.
The first panel discussion of Hotelier Middle East Procurement Summit 2014.

In the first panel discussion of the day at the Hotelier Middle East Procurement Summit 2014, delegates debated how best the work of procurement managers should be highlighted to management so that purchasing staff are recognised for the work they do.

The panel, moderated by Wissam El Cheikh Hassan, managing partner at Provident Solutions Ltd, featured three panellists from hotels  and hotel groups across the GCC.

These were Madhu Gopal, director of procurement, Anantara Hotels & Resorts, Abu Dhabi, Mohamed Baloch, central purchasing manager, Shangri-La Hotels UAE, Sarfaraz Bashir, Officer - Supply-chain & Logistics, Jumeirah Group and Katie Kuuslkler, independent procurement specialist.

While some of the panellists and audience members said that recognition of the work of a procurement manager is the responsibility of the GM, others debated that it was up to the procurement manager to make him or herself noticed.

“It’s up to how management wants to define purchasing,” said Gopal. “Changes should come from top management to identify the work that a purchasing manager does and what the process is. It shouldn’t come from the bottom up.”

Sarfaraz said that it is actually a two-way responsibility to recognise the work of the purchasing department.

“The GM and purchasing manager need to work together to educate other departments. There are many things involved but I think managers are starting to put the spotlight on us now. In the last 10 years the purchasing department has become more important.”

According to Baloch, it is up to the finance department to put purchasing managers forward to present in front of the GM. “Communication skills are one of our key skills; they are what we use to negotiate and that’s how we present to a clients. So we should be allowed to present to management.”

From the audience, Stephanie Timsit, director of finance at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Abu Dhabi argued that at her hotel, the purchasing manager does not need her permission to present to management.

“Procurement managers have to have personality and they have to make sure the ex-com is challenged. Nothing happens at my property without the procurement department being involved,” said Timsit.

Another audience member, Zehra Masood, purchasing manager of The H Dubai, suggested that it is purely up to the purchasing manager to make themselves noticed. “I think it’s very important for us to empower ourselves. Even if we are not given due credit it’s very important to self-invite,” she commented.

Kuuskler from the panel agreed with this sentiment, saying: “It’s up to purchasing managers to make themselves heard. You’re already doing the job so go for it!”

The Hotelier Middle East Procurement Summit took place in Dubai on Tuesday November 4 at Ritz-Carlton DIFC.

The event attracted more than 90 delegates and was sponsored by by Associate Sponsor A. Ronai, Official Water Sponsor Horeca/ Aqua Panna & San Pellegrino and exhibitors Pulsar Foodstuff Trading/Gourmet Olive Market, Lavazza/Eurocoffee, Ruud Lighting, Unique Precise and Sun & Shades.

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