Collaboration needs tactful leadership

7 December 2009

7 December 2009 | Jake Kanter

Joint buying groups must be chaired by a peacekeeper to succeed, according to the chairman of a hotel procurement consortium.

Speaking at a conference held by consultancy Prestige Purchasing in London last week, Ray Shannon, chairman of the Mayfair Buying Group, said competing personalities must be controlled to secure the best deal for all parties.

The group has nine members, including Radisson Edwardian Hotels and Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, and a combined spend of £50 million.

Shannon said: “When you have eight or 10 people, some are quiet and others are bullish and like to be heard. It’s important you have some mechanism to keep things on line. I’m that mechanism in the Mayfair Buying Group, the peacekeeper.”

A strong commitment from all members is also vital, he argued. “We all have to commit to a deal and sit in front of suppliers united. Some of the big suppliers are good at spotting and exploiting breaks in the group, so at those meetings we all put on a serious face and talk as one.”

Shannon, who is also procurement manager at the Doyle Collection, a member of Mayfair, added that the group had secured sizable savings on a diverse range of categories. It saved 9.5 per cent on a £7.8 million wine and spirits deal this year, as well as 20 per cent on a £400,000 waste management deal in 2008.

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