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How to Simplify Vendor Management -- Tips From Leading Hotel Brands


Step up your procurement with Fohlio’s vendor management system. Speak to a product expert today.

The bigger your hospitality brand, the wider your pool of supplier options. And that’s great because you’re more likely to acquire competitive pricing and better materials.

However, this part of the procurement workflow can get complicated very quickly, and the money you save on competitive proposals could easily be canceled out by time spent managing numerous quotes. 

Here’s a nagging question you’ve probably come across, too: With all the factors you’re having to compare – and very few of them directly addressing each other – how do you even know for sure you’re getting the best deal possible?

Go Beyond a Building Material Calculator 

Selecting the best FF&E and/or OS&E proposal doesn’t only take price into account. Supplier A may offer products that are slightly more expensive than Supplier B, but provide much shorter lead times. And if Supplier A delivers on their promise, that increases the likelihood that you’ll complete your project on time and avoid late fees. So who’s really offering the bigger savings?

If you’re getting hives just thinking about the process that’s essentially akin to comparing apples to oranges to pineapples to … hedgehogs … well, a material calculator just won’t cut it. Neither will a spreadsheet. (A lot of procurement teams actually still use pen and paper for part of their work, but we’re hoping to change that.)

Learn more: 5 Ways to Cut Down on Procurement Costs

Create a Standardized Evaluation Process and Criteria for Your Materials 

No matter how many products you compare and how different they are, they’re bound to have similar properties. This is where we go from comparing fruit to animals and comparing, say, colors. 

Make a list of factors that matter the most to your decision-making process on top of cost: 

  1. Quality: Look for high-quality materials and construction that can withstand the wear and tear of hotel use.
  2. Durability: The ability of the product to withstand the rigors of hotel usage, the environment and time.
  3. Functionality: The degree to which the product meets the intended use and purpose.
  4. Aesthetics: The degree to which the product is visually pleasing and enhances the overall design of the hotel.
  5. Brand compliance: The degree to which the product meets your hotel’s brand standards.
  6. Energy efficiency: The degree to which the product conserves energy and reduces the hotel's environmental impact.
  7. LEED or WELL compliance: Similar to the previous item, except these certifications have very specific requirements. You can learn more about LEED here, and WELL here.
  8. Maintenance and repair: The ease and cost of maintaining and repairing the product.
  9. Brand reputation: The reputation of the manufacturer or supplier in the industry.
  10. Life cycle cost: The total cost of owning and operating the product over its expected life.
  11. Guest satisfaction: The degree to which the product enhances guest experience and comfort.

Send this list to your suppliers and ask them to fill it out for each item. Make it clear that completing this data sheet is a basic requirement for bidding.

Next-Level Vendor Management: More Standardization

It’s not just products that need an objective method of evaluation. The suppliers themselves must be held to a standard as well.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. Have you worked with this vendor before? How have they performed in the past?
2. Does this supplier consistently deliver on promises?
3. What is their reputation in the hospitality industry? (This is especially important if you’ve never worked with them before.)
4. What kind of support will they provide after the sale?
5. Does this vendor accommodate reasonable requests?
6. What sort of relationship do you have with this vendor?

As you spend more time working with these suppliers, you’ll start having a shortlist of your “favorites” – the ones that are reliable and consistently deliver on value (whether on price, service, or lead time).

From here, you can start building an approved vendor list (AVL). You can use this to further streamline procurement work for your teams.

Learn more: Step Up Your Procurement Game: How to Build an Approved Vendor List (AVL)

Putting It All Together: Your Firm's Custom Vendor Management System

Now comes the fun part: Having all the information in one place.

In the past, this would entail your procurement team downloading PDFs or spreadsheets from emails, then painstakingly copying and pasting the different bits of information into the correct boxes.

Not anymore.

Fohlio’s vendor management software allows you to send out requests for quotes (RFQs) to as many suppliers as necessary in one fell swoop. You don’t have to send a single email.

Learn more: 5 Ways to Eliminate Time-Wasting Procurement Emails

And then, like magic, your suppliers’ quotes come back into the same platform, neatly arranged and organized according to all the categories for which you requested information. You’re comparing product price against product price, lead time against lead time, freight cost against freight cost, and any other data your heart desires.

Again, all of this happens without you having to open a single email, download one spreadsheet, or copy and paste a single specification.

You don’t just save money when you find the best deals. You also save time and even more money when your team doesn’t have to mess around with messy spreadsheets and manual, repetitive work.

Step up your procurement with Fohlio’s vendor management system. Speak to a product expert today.

Featured image: The Daily Moss

Expore Fohlio

Learn how to:

  • Save days of work with faster specification
  • Create firm-wide design standards
  • Automate and centralize procurement
  • Keep your whole team on the same Page
  • Manage product data
  • Track budget against cost in real time.
  • Prepare for asset valuation
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Published Jan 25, 2023