Years ago, procurement groups began to express an interest in helping meeting planning departments. As you might guess, this was often not well received by meeting pros who didn’t think procurement managers understood the complexities of the venue-sourcing process. Fast-forward to today, and I am pleased to say that, in most cases, procurement has become the friend of meeting and event teams!
There are many positive qualities to the procurement skillset that are an essential part of a successful strategic meetings management program. In fact, in many cases, the SMMP responsibility falls under the procurement organization. Here are four strengths of procurement professionals and how they can benefit SMM program development:
One: Stakeholder identification and mapping
Stakeholder engagement is central to building a successful SMMP. Casting a wide net for a diverse group of stakeholders is important. Going the next step to “map” and address the concerns of stakeholders who are positive, negative, or neutral influencers is critical to program acceptance.
Two: Sourcing strategies
Developing various sourcing strategies for different supplier types helps to ensure best-in-class suppliers, and the most favorable. Sourcing strategies can also vary depending on the importance of a supplier. For example, a Level 1 supplier could have a trusted-advisor relationship, as opposed to a Level 4 transactional supplier.
Three: RFX support (Request for Information, Proposal, or Quote)
Managing the RFI, RFP, or RFQ process can be very complex. Detailed market analysis may be needed to determine the supplier base, communication planning, and timeline management for suppliers and the internal RFX review team, as well as analysis of RFX results. Having procurement lead this process, and be the “bad cop” during negotiations, is truly a positive procurement quality!
Four: Opportunity Analysis
If you’re just starting down the SMM journey, the procurement team can assist in developing an “opportunity analysis,” which can help to identify current spend, supplier utilization, and estimates of the volume of meetings and events, as well as potential program savings. This information is critical to an accurate picture of the existing meeting and event portfolio and defining the beneficial outcomes of implementing an SMMP.
Collaboration between procurement and the meeting teams is essential to bridge the knowledge gap that both have regarding each department’s area of expertise. This becomes a mutually beneficial relationship that brings together the positive qualities of both meetings management and procurement to help drive SMM optimization forward!