Local suppliers benefit from Gatwick procurement networking events

5 January 2015

Gatwick Airport is boosting its local supply chain and relationships with a range of events for both current and potential suppliers.

Events organised by Gatwick Diamond Business – a network of local businesses with a powerful voice on local issues – have enabled the airport to boost the number of local suppliers it has relationships with.

In particular, a “speed-dating” type event for suppliers from a range of sectors, including the retail and financial, to meet buyers, called Networking at Ease, has recently enabled one successful bid from a supplier.

“We are keen to engage with local suppliers, because it’s quite an obvious thing to do,” said Ruth Slater, senior procurement manager at Gatwick Airport. “The process can be a lot quicker and less complex. [It’s also important] to be able to see suppliers in an informal setting.”

In addition, an annual supplier day – to which tier one suppliers with the highest invoiced spend over the previous twelve months are invited – boosts relationships.

The day involves presentations to about 70 suppliers from key stakeholders at the airport including the development director, head of health and safety and the chief information officer, for example, and a range of networking sessions.

“It gives us an opportunity to make sure that the key suppliers are getting the key messages from us, so they can then cascade these down to their suppliers,” Slater adds.

“We’ve got to learn about suppliers from across the whole business – it gives us a feel for the supplier, who at the airport their interact with and what direction they themselves are moving in. It opens up the relationships with the key stakeholders.”

This year, the invite was extended to about 20 of the airport’s tier two and tier three suppliers to further develop the commitment across Gatwick’s supply chain.

Slater added these events are a “really positive thing to do” for the procurement function's reputation at the airport. 

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