Gunabalan D, Purchase Manager, Novotel Chamiers Road shares insights on handling purchase during COVID

Sourcing local food products is now an established strategy and the practice will continue to expand into other areas of procurement

Gunabalan D, Purchase Manager, Novotel Chamiers Road, COVID-19, Hotel purchase

Tell us about the coronavirus impact on the purchase department of your hotel?

I was able to get the required supplies for our in-house guests. With the cooperation of existing suppliers, I was able to function with limited resources. We had to be extra cautious about the source of products as we have laid down stringent cleanliness and hygiene protocols. We had to ensure that the vendors were maintaining appropriate safety standards that are up to the Accor and Novotel Chennai Chamiers Road recommended standards.

How has the domain of purchase changed with the COVID-19 outbreak? Do the purchase managers have to develop certain skills today?

The coronavirus outbreak has changed everything. People are living differently, buying differently, and in many ways, thinking differently. Retailers are closing doors. Consumers are looking at products and brands through a new lens. We need to identify the people and resources accountable for the implementation of the policy. We will need to allocate responsibilities for everything—from updating standards to providing support material, coordinating supplier and staff training, and evaluating suppliers’ performance over time.

Post assessment of supplier capability and categorisation of all operating supplies, the procurement team must ensure proper stockpiling. Looking beyond the traditional parameters of price, quality, functionality and availability, the job involves selecting products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health, the environment and society.

How strong should be a hotel’s local procurements process, given the current situation?

Sourcing local food products is now an established strategy and the practice will continue to expand into other areas of procurement. The benefits of local sourcing include reducing transportation costs, support for the local economy, creation of a strong community relationship, and predictability of delivery.

How do you identify high-risk vendors?

A good supplier is, at all times, honest and fair while dealing with customers, supplies within the promised deadline, whose financial position is sound, prices are reasonable to both the buyer and himself and has progressive management policies.

One of the most crucial components of the procurement process is the selection of the right supplier. A good supplier is an invaluable resource to the organisation that requires its products or services, as they make a direct contribution to a firm’s success.

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