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Jeff Reese, Procurement Manager at The Savoy, explains what a day at the hotel’s busy Procurement Department looks like. A great insight into the behind-the-scenes world of The Savoy and our colleagues.
What is Procurement? And Purchasing?
Procurement is something you may have heard of but are not 100% sure what it means. And Purchasing is something a little more familiar… aren’t they the people who buy the food for the hotel?
Procurement is the full cycle of purchasing, from sourcing the supplier, tendering the business, negotiating prices and contracts and then the ongoing contract management; in other words, making sure we get what has been promised.
So what does a day in Procurement at The Savoy look like?
It may be a cliché but every day is different. It tends to start around 6am with all the food deliveries starting to arrive. Depending on the day what turns up is different, but typically we have the fruit and vegetables come in, the meat, the fish, the dry goods and all the other wonderful things requested by the chefs and by the bars. Live lobsters, crabs and other interesting exotic items always mean we get one or two people in the loading bay keeping and eye on things. After the food, the couriers start turning up with packages for guests, for events and for the departments in the hotel. We have had clothing , buggies, kitchen equipment, chemicals for maintainig the pool, paint, uniforms, or special gifts for VIP guests (we had Anthony Joshua’s boxing glove and one of Messi’s football boots in not long ago, as auction items for a charity gala).
All of these deliveries need checking by our Receiving team. On them rests the responsibility of ensuring that everything that comes in is of the highest quality, and what has in fact been ordered. They then have to sign for it and get it to the right place in the building. Meanwhile, the store-man is busy getting all the requisitions together for the different kitchens, for the bars, the bakery, the pastry team.
The same happens down in the cellar; orders are being delivered for wine, for beer, for soft drinks, for water, for champagne (did you know we purchased over 25,000 bottles of our house champagne last year?) Requisitions for items have been sent in by the different bars and outlets and are being put together for delivery around the hotel.
Upstairs in the Procurement office the Food & Beverage and Non-Food Category Managers are getting ready for their day. This could be meeting a potential new supplier to see if they can provide what we need, it could be meeting a current supplier to talk about service, about new products or maybe negotiating about a potential price rise or even price saving. They might be going out to visit a suppliers premise to audit them or see how they operate to get a better understanding of them and what they can offer us. They could be putting the final touches to a tender, analysing the results of tender submission or getting themselves ready to present their conclusions to the relevant stakeholders.
And what do I do?
A little bit of all the above, but most of all I make sure that my team feel empowered to do their job to the best of their ability. What does this involve? A little bit of pushing and pulling, training, and most of all a lot of praise, trust and belief in them.
The whole team is crucial to the hotel. I tell them that it all starts with us, we find the suppliers, we find the products, we buy then, we receive them, we start it all. I also tell them that our guests, our customers is not the guest who comes into the hotel, our customers are the other departments in the hotel. It is our job to ensure we get them what they need as quickly, as efficiently and as cost effectively as possible.
The Procurement team are often a hidden but vital part of the hotel and its success, and I couldn’t be prouder to lead them.