Atlantis The Palm's best practices in procurement

Director of procurement Banu Pratap Singh on efficiency, passion and innovation

Bhanu Pratap Singh
Bhanu Pratap Singh

Food & beverage is a major aspect of the hospitality landscape and a significant factor for an enterprise’s success. And it comes as no surprise that the industry is challenged and made to fire fight more often than not, to survive and thrive.

At yesterday's Hotelier Middle East Procurement Summit 2014, Atlantis the Palm director of procurement, Bhanu Pratap Singh, delved deeper in to the issues faced by his peers, and the escape routes for such challenges, during a presentation.

To begin with, it must be understood that a purchasing manager for F&B has certain authority and contribution in operations, he explained. To assume that s/he is but a middleman between the kitchen and finance department would be to undermine his role and allow room for compromised deliverables.

He is expected, as identified by Singh, to connect with their customer’s expectation, and deliver accordingly, and bond with internal stakeholders to understand their business needs, and work through consensus driven approach.

Understanding what is required is only the tip of the iceberg. Understanding the demands, and strategising after requires much more.

Singh, from his extensive experience and success at Atlantis the Palm shared some insight about how it’s done at their Hotelier Middle East Award-winning facility:

• Undertake comparative studies, within and beyond your industry and region. If it can be done in Switzerland, it can be done here as well
• Connect with other related department’s plans. Knowing what marketing, sales and facilities management department will help you make informed decisions, aligned with the big picture
• Defocus from savings and emphasise on value addition
• Infuse passion in your team through talent development, motivation, reward systems and empowerment
• Embrace innovation and unconventional approach to business – instilling online bidding system and computerised transaction at Atlantis the Palm saved them millions, making a massive impact on the bottom line
• Invest in hiring specialist to analyse the decisions made, research alternatives, compare and evaluate options, offer insight and stay informed about the trends in the industry; this indirect support could make or break an organisation

Speaking to Hotelier Middle East after the presentation, Intercontinental Dubai Marina director of procurement Pushpa Nair added to Singh brief of expectations from the purchasing manager. She said: "It is very important to know the product. They (procurement manager) start negotiating even before understanding the product.

"Either ask the supplier to teach you, who is an expert in this field, or go to the chef and learn from him, but know the product.”

Nair champions a positive attitude, denouncing negativity in all forms. She believes it helps other trust you and allow you to successful drive them.

With the growth experienced in last few months and expected boom in the hospitality industry, F&B procurement managers have a substantial role to play, and learning from success stories like Atlantis the Palm is a great way to do so.

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 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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