The Core of FF&E and OS&E Procurement – Part 3: Choosing a Purchasing AgentOver the last couple of weeks, we’ve covered a few of the primary basics to hospitality procurement, specifically in relation to the FF&E and OS&E purchasing. Our first week we discussed what goes into a preliminary budget and how a purchasing agent is the perfect person to help create an accurate budget. Last week we went a bit more into the purchasing process itself, and each detailed step of procurement.
This week our focus is the team itself. How do you choose a purchasing agent, and what factors are important things to look for?
Not All Purchasing is Created EqualAren’t all purchasing companies the same? Perhaps an argument can be made that on a very broad and basic level, yes. Purchasing agents essentially find the specified products from various vendors and get them to the location on time. But as we discussed in part 2 last week, there is so much more to procurement than that.
When comparing all purchasing companies, they really only perform the same function. And that goes for hospitality purchasing, but also healthcare and residential. The difference comes in the HOW. How they perform during the project, how they interact with the teams, and the experience for everyone involved along the way. That is what matters, and that can vary drastically.
Choosing a Purchasing AgentWhen choosing a purchasing agent, of course there are some common questions that come into play. Questions that show the purchasing company’s industry experience first and foremost. What sort of brand experience do they have? Have they worked in the same category or chain level as your project? Or better still, if it’s a branded flag, have they had experience with that same flag before? What about location? The location of a project can determine a lot of important factors relating to freight and warehousing. Does their project experience reflect that region? All of these are excellent things to consider from a project experience point of view.
Longevity. How long has the company been doing procurement? A company that has been around for a while not only shows experience, but also stability. With time comes market changes and the ability to ride them out. It is also a good indicator of trust and efficiency.
Trust. Do they have recurring clients/multiple projects with the same client? Are there brands or flags that they work with time and time again? Which projects they have done, how many, and with whom say a lot about the project experience. But it is the number of projects completed with the same group that says a lot about the client experience.
A Purchasing Agent to Rely OnHospitality procurement is a long process, and the teams you have involved go a long way towards a successful project completion. With many projects starting the FF&E process sometimes 18-24 months ahead of the opening date, you need a team you can rely on for the long haul.
For Beyer Brown, customer service has always been one of the most important things for our teams. We are a purchasing agent, but our main job is to represent the client. Whether that is the property manager, owner, developer, or project manager, our main job is to make hospitality procurement as stress free as possible. That peace of mind comes with constant communication through every stage, deep involvement in the project, and a drive to go beyond in every situation.
Experience, longevity, trust, and customer service. Those are the things that really show the true colors of a purchasing agent. Those four elements begin to paint a picture that shows a few vast differences between companies that may help to determine between them.
Thank you so much for joining us in this series of getting to the very core of FF&E procurement and the purchasing process. We hope you’ve enjoyed these segments. If you have missed any of the other parts, go back and read part 1 and part 2.