While many event organisers go to the same suppliers for ease and familiarity, switching up your supply chain options can have it’s advantages, to help reduce costs, discover new products, and even lower your business’ carbon footprint.
It’s natural to want to stick with what you know: “Making improvements to supplier relationships is something that is becoming more crucial for businesses,” says Ollie Brand, CEO at Zupa, a hospitality technology firm. “Historically, if you were looking for a product or service you would consider a range of supplier options. You would then likely choose the offering that delivers the best quality and most competitive prices, at that point in time, or you may base your selection on suppliers that are local to you. Whatever the deciding factor, once those suppliers are on board it is very easy to become complacent and to operate solely within those comfortable circles. Later down the line however, you may discover the agreement you have now, isn’t quite what it was when you first signed up and suddenly, you’re regularly overspending and losing control of your costs.”
The current financial environment means that businesses are looking to cut costs, however, the price is only one of many factors to consider: “Food inflation continues to be an issue, and this is only set to worsen, so this brings with it a number of challenges. Will the quality you receive be the same if you choose a less expensive supplier? What about food shortages, delivery times, and supplier reliability? Should you consider more national suppliers that are more cost effective or operate a larger network of delivery drivers? These are all questions businesses are wrestling with right now. The reality is, businesses do need to widen their supplier networks, both to expand their range of purchasing options, and to boost their powers of negotiation.”
Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa has recently switched up its supply chain to focus on local suppliers, as Commercial Director Amanda Brady explains: “Our North West location on the Formby coast is a key part of our resort DNA, and a significant selling point for leisure and corporate guests. With that in mind, curating a supply chain with a local ‘red’ thread, particularly in food and beverage, has numerous benefits.
“Local suppliers, particularly in food and beverage, enable us to tell an authentic story and create greater meaning and purpose behind our events, all while adding significant value for guests and delegates through the quality it offers.”
If you are looking at a new supplier, always ensure that you’ve done your research before you head into discussions, it could also help with existing relationships: “Knowledge, and in this case data, is always power,” Ollie explains. “If you want to discuss price rises and discounts, you need access to intelligent, accurate data which can be accessed via the right procurement technology. For example, having access to supplier data nationally and being able to highlight the costs you would be paying (in real time) were you to move, might have a more tangible effect. Maintaining robust supplier relationships is vital and by presenting solid information there will be a much greater opportunity to negotiate, and you will have set a benchmark for communication and mutual cooperation in the future too.”