Covering All Bases

By using appropriate vendor evaluation systems, procurement professionals can optimise the sourcing process for their hotel’s supply chain

By Vinita Bhaitia

When the Marriott Hotels sources water for any of its hotels in India, one of the criteria for purchase includes a lab test to ensure there is no contamination or presence of unwanted chemicals. Similarly, before placing an order for linen, a wash test is conducted to ensure that the thread count of the linen can withstand various detergents and to check its durability.
These are part of Marriott’s well-defined vendor evaluation process. “We evaluate a supplier on various parameters, which includes product delivery, product quality, post-sale support, track record, etc. At the same time, for quality, we focus on blind tasting, yield testing, cook test, lab test, wash test, etc., depending on the product line,” Bharanidharan Ramaswamy, director of procurement – India, Marriott International.
When it comes to services, he revealed that it normally tries to work with defined service levels with suppliers, especially those with whom it has existing service contracts. “These service levels vary from product to product and service to service. For example service level for a cleaning supplier could be very different from a service level of an elevator maintenance supplier or marble polish supplier. Ultimately, we expect superior level of support,” he added.

There are times when the user department expects very high level of services, while not quite matching up to the supplier’s deliverables in terms of payment. In this kind of a tricky situation, it falls upon the procurement team to bridge the gap between what service offered versus the kind of cost that will be incurred in the entire process.
“In such cases, we mainly look at the delivery timelines, within how many days they can deliver, the kind of warranties connected to the products, etc., and then negotiate accordingly so that a common ground is found,” Ramaswamy said.
To be able to do this, procurement professionals need to have a clear understanding of market dynamics, price fluctuations, trend analysis and taxation policies. “It is important to always stay informed about import policies, any tax reduction, GST, even changes in climatic conditions – as these can leading to change in the product prices and affect supply-demand movement,” he pointed out.
Of course, with the availability of internet, one can always resort to social media to find out the trend analysis of various products for last few months. However, Ramaswamy recommended talking to various suppliers instead. They are the ones who have their pulse on the market and are in a better position to give you latest information. And who knows, while talking to them, you can also get some other valuable information, which you could use for making your purchase decision!

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