Relationship between procurement and event agencies 'moving to a better place'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
19 August 2016

Procurement has dropped out of the top five challenges faced by event agencies, according to a report.

The Conference & Incentive Travel State of the Industry report 2016 found while procurement had been cited as the third and fourth biggest challenge by agencies in 2015 and 2014, this year it has not even made the top five.

The report said purchasing departments “have long been portrayed as the bad guy, focused purely on cutting costs and disrupting relationships between in-house event departments and their agencies” but “there were signs the tide was beginning to turn”.

Mike Kunheim, senior vice president and director of the London and Seoul offices of Jack Morton Worldwide, ranked number one in the report for event-based turnover, said: “Procurement challenges will never be replaced. However, I would say it’s evolving and moving to a better place. Procurement teams are far more interested in working with the events team in partnership, driving value rather than lowest cost.”

Anthony Coyle-Dowling, senior director of business development and marketing at BCD Meetings & Events, said: “You have got your event managers and you’ve got the procurement team. They support and facilitate a process. They bring best practice and fairness to a process, especially if you are pitching as the outsider and you don’t have the relationship.

“You have to work the two different audiences ­– both the event team and procurement, which you have to have a strategy for dealing with because their strategies and objectives will be slightly different.”

However, the report said procurement challenges had not disappeared. Dale Parmenter, managing director at drp, said: “Procurement hasn’t gone away. Some procurement people are fantastic – they get it – others are awful.

“In the last 12 months we’ve turned down more work than ever before because of unrealistic payment and procurement terms. We have dug out heels in more and ore with procurement under unacceptable terms.”

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