Manchester Airport Group acts as matchmaker to big and small suppliers

7 September 2012
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7 September 2012 | Adam Leach

Supply chain director Steve Tanner hopes to reduce the number of vendors his team have to manage by introducing key suppliers to each other.

It is one of a number of changes he is making at Manchester Airport Group since he joined the business in January.

The group is today hosting a ‘meet the buyer event’ in a hangar housing Concorde to explain to suppliers how it is changing the way it operates. It has adopted a new category management approach wants to reduce the size of 3,500-strong supply base to make it more manageable. However, Tanner, supply said this doesn’t necessarily mean businesses will lose out.

He told SM: “We’re going to drill in on why we need to reduce the supply base but we’re not going to dilute. The real intent of this is to introduce suppliers to key people in the [procurement team] and also get businesses introduced to one another. I think [suppliers] approach it like, ‘what’s the point, what’s the real message, what are you trying to do and what’s in it for me’.”

Tanner and his colleagues will be pushing the message of bundling and stimulating discussions with between the big suppliers and in particular, the niche specialist providers. “There will be a lot of smaller niche providers there that we probably want to continue trading with but just can’t afford to keep managing directly. I’m expecting the [small suppliers] to look at who the big players are and if they’re interested in carrying on trading with us they’ll probably be there. It would be prudent of the [small suppliers] to talk to my team about who some of our key suppliers are and then to talk to them.”

The procurement team at Manchester has almost double in size from it’s original count of around seven as it moves from being transactional to strategic.

See the advisor section of the September issue of Supply Management for guidance on how to run a ‘meet the buyer’ event.

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