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Powerful Purchasing Execs

Trio Of Veterans Discuss Continued Evolution Of Procurement During BITAC® Panel

Monday, October 28, 2019
Dennis Nessler
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A trio of veteran purchasing executives weighed in on a number of topical procurement issues--such as the impact of international tariffs, advances in technology and the latest design trends--during a panel discussion at the recently concluded BITAC® Purchasing & Design West.

The panel--which was Entitled “Powerful Purchasing Execs: Leaders Examine How Procurement Has Evolved”--served as a keynote for the event, which took place at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, CA.

Anne Hanch, SVP, global procurement, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, acknowledged the latest round of tariffs has impacted timelines, particularly as many companies have moved production outside The Americas in recent years.

“We’re seeing longer delays at the ports, because they actually want to look at the containers, make sure of the paper work and that they’ve gotten the tariffs correct. We’re seeing clearance into the states is taking up to another three weeks,” she said.

Hanch added that product timelines that were generally 12 to 14 weeks a few years ago have often been extended to 16 to 22 weeks. But she pointed it is not tariffs alone that have increased the delays.

“We all want to work with reliable vendors and reliable factories so those sometimes are the ones with the highest demand,” she said, adding that designers are also taking more time to complete drawings than in the past.

Kimberley Kushner, managing director of Supply & Design, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, weighed in as well. “There’s definitely no doubt tariffs have had an impact. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint exactly what that might be, but you have to imagine any uncertainty in the marketplace could delay capital decisions. We’ve got a great group of suppliers that really kind of insulate us from higher costs in various different ways, but we are hopeful that gets resolved soon,” she said.

David Hoelzer, corporate vp, procurement, Station Casinos, has also seen an impact and underscored the importance for contingency plans. “We’ve had a similar experience with delays on the import and export side…[It takes] a little bit more planning and forethought now. You’re going to have to figure out what’s going to happen and you have to look up potential back-up plans more so than you had to a year or two ago,” he said.

Meanwhile, technology continues to evolve and as such creates both more challenges and opportunities for purchasing firms.

“The amount of technology that’s available to us is staggering, it’s growing exponentially. Folks now have these phenomenal tools, but it [technology] is just that, it’s just a tool. You have to have the right people to leverage those tools and put them in place,” said Hoelzer.

Hanch talked about the differences just within the last decade alone.
“Technology was incorporated into what we do in the guestroom, or how we check guests in, or what owners want as far as reports and analytics, but now today that is the first thing that we think about. Obviously we think about the guest experience, profitability and a lot of other things, but 10 years ago table stakes for a guest was a clean room. Today when they come in they want all the technology in their room,” she noted.

In terms of design, the group collectively agreed that from a color perspective they are seeing more muted colors used today, such as beiges, grays and whites.

Hanch, meanwhile, elaborated on her role as it relates to working with designers within the various Hyatt brand prototypes.
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Dennis Nessler    Dennis Nessler
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