Come One, Come All – The importance of procurement involvement in site visits
With everyone being asked to do more each year at their events with the same budget as previous years, the importance of the procurement department has grown exponentially in recent years. Often with little meetings & events experience in their background, procurement professionals have had to do their own research and legwork to understand more about the services and items they are responsible for sourcing. Often shifting the mindset from acquiring a vendor of building supplies to selecting a partner delivering meetings and events services, such as a DMC, is difficult and confusing.
To combat these struggles several companies have begun involving their procurement professionals in the site visit experience, and even onsite during the events. This hands-on, jump-in-feet-first mentality is breeding a new perspective for these professionals looking for a better way to connect with their supplier-partners and deliver for the planners dependent upon their procedures.
Site visits are opportunities for DMCs to demonstrate their capabilities, level of service, and attention to detail in a form that is closest to the actual program. This provides our clients with more of the intangible aspects of the proposal that may not come through on paper (or via email) while working through the RFP process. Perhaps the vehicle pricing is slightly higher for one DMC versus another, on a site the client may have an opportunity to view and ride in the vehicles helping to demonstrate the possible difference between proposing DMCs.
For our Sales Team the relationship built through this experience of having procurement onsite for the site visit created a level of trust and open communication we rarely have the time to foster. Their ability to view the services beyond motorcoaches, linens, and chairs allows the planner to focus of the proposed experiences in relation to their whole program and their guests, while the procurement team has the knowledge to negotiate and add value for both parties involved. If bringing procurement to a site visit isn’t in the budget, consider the alternative option to bringing them onsite for the operations of the program to assist the planning team. There is no better way to learn than by standing in its midst!