Abdul Kareem, Purchase Manager of The Leela Palace Chennai tells Vinita Bhatia how tech is omniscient in its procurement division, with almost 80% processes becoming tech-oriented Reviewed by Momizat on . Not too long ago, paper ruled in the procurement department – literally. From making entries to maintaining records, paper was omnipresent. However, slowly, hot Not too long ago, paper ruled in the procurement department – literally. From making entries to maintaining records, paper was omnipresent. However, slowly, hot Rating: 0
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Abdul Kareem, Purchase Manager of The Leela Palace Chennai tells Vinita Bhatia how tech is omniscient in its procurement division, with almost 80% processes becoming tech-oriented

Not too long ago, paper ruled in the procurement department – literally. From making entries to maintaining records, paper was omnipresent. However, slowly, hotels graduated to using technology tools especially created for the hospitality industry to become more competitive and efficient. And paper, or rather paperwork, is becoming redundant. To appreciate technology’s omniscience in the procurement department, one only has to take a closer look at The Leela Palace, Chennai, where close to 80% of procurement processes is tech-oriented, either leveraging online or software tools for emailing purchase orders (PO), reminders, reports maintenance, data backup, etc. However, the hotel will continue to maintain paper records of few major documents, like POs, agreements and approvals, for internal verification and pre-audit check-ups.

E-PROCUREMENT SPEEDS PROCESSES

Talking about how the hotel is using the e-procurement process in detail, its purchase manager, Abdul Kareem, said, “We use a web-based e procurement model that helps us send and save any document

TECH TAKES CENTRE STAGE

Abdul-Kareem---The-Leela-Palace-Chennai-(2)Abdul Kareem, purchase manager of The Leela Palace Chennai tells Vinita Bhatia how tech is omniscient in its procurement division, with almost 80% processes becoming tech-oriented (like POs), once converted for a relevant supplier and user member, online. This speediness in action and transparency of process ensures better job clarity.” Of course, using this model does pose a challenge at times, especially when the hotel is dealing with local suppliers of perishable produce who might not be digitally savvy. However, as per the mandatory criteria in Hotel Leela Palace Chennai’s vendor registration form suppliers need to have an email ID to enrol for business, which helps the hotel to digitally document and track at least 80% of its communications. It hopes to spread this dragnet wider gradually.

UNDERTAKING NEW INITIATIVES

In recent times, Hotel Leela Palace Chennai implemented many practices to enable smoother procurement operations. One of them, Kareem revealed, was commencing an annual ‘Direct Vendor Appraisal meet’ to interact with vendors on various topics like their product complaints, expectations, the company’s interest in their supply, etc. “This helps us understand and also share our expectations about their performance and discuss upcoming developments,” he said. Another initiative is the Vendor Satisfaction Survey. This is a feedback form shared with suppliers where they can give opinions about the attitude of the purchase representative while doing business, attention paid, lead time given, bills handling, clarity of specs from the purchase end and their overall experience. This exercise gives Hotel Leela Palace Chennai officials a better understand about the satisfaction levels of suppliers in being associated with the brand. One of Kareem’s pet projects was developing a Self Help Group (SHG), which is also a CSR activity, to develop small suppliers. He stated that Hotel Leela Palace Chennai will continue to harness the power of technology in procurement, but added that nothing can replace the impact of interpersonal vendor relations. The trick is in maintaining a fine balance between the two, so that business can be transacted faster and efficiently with maximum cost saving, without losing the human essence.

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