'Meet the buyer' (MTB) events have been part of the procurement lanscape for many years, and have been run in many different formats. But there are growing murmurs that how these sessions are run needs to be refreshed to make them work as hard as possible for all involved.
Traditionally these events have served as a simple networking opportunity, but they can be put to better use. Considerable time and expense is put into hosting and attending MTB events, so it’s important buyers know what they are aiming to achieve and have a clear goal in mind. Further, the sessions must be structured to be as beneficial as possible for all attending, ensuring potential bidders are supported and know exactly what will be expected of them during the procurement process.
The foundation of a successful MTB event is to: hold the event at the beginning of the procurement process; promote the event in advance; and identify your targets to ensure attendance by the organisations and individuals within them who will really benefit from the advice on offer.
Gaining buy-in from the key individuals at potential future suppliers can sometimes be a challenge, but if an MTB event is held near the beginning of the tender process, when there is a real market opportunity, this becomes much easier as they can see the scale of the opportunity in front of them.
Furthermore, by tailoring each session to the opportunity available, those hosting it can ensure every step they’re asking potential future suppliers to take is necessary and relevant for the tender exercise in hand. By creating such bespoke events, organisers can ensure the bidders in the competition are best suited to the framework’s needs, and provide highly tailored advice to help them be successful in their bids.
At Re:allies we adopt a clear focus with our MTB events, only holding then when we have a real intention to procure and a defined strategy in place for the framework. This was reflected in a recent event we held where we tailored the session to provide:
• A detailed background of the organisation and the framework
• An understanding of how those bidding could be part of the framework and how the framework will be called off
• Live demonstrations of how to complete the tender documentation, with a particular focus on areas that experience has shown bidders find difficult
By carefully planning every MTB event, we can all strive to create opportunities for contractors and suppliers of every size and shape to bid for work in a fair but competitive arena, and use our learnings to improve our future events or tenders accordingly.
☛ Clare Tetlow is senior procurement manager at Re:allies