A new must-read has rolled off the presses at Meeting Professionals International. The third position paper from its Global Corporate Circle of Excellence tackles planner-supplier relationships in a strategic meeting management environment — that is, consolidating spending with preferred vendors as a way to save money and simplify processes.

The report begins with a discussion of the various objections raised in reaction to strategic meeting management — too much paperwork, too much focus on driving down costs, a negative impact on supplier relationships, loss of control, and so on — offering reasoned responses to each concern.

The paper then moves on to what there is to gain from strategic meeting management procurement, including spend tracking, simplified request for proposals, processes for meeting regulatory requirements such as those of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and, of course, cost reductions. Looking at it also from a vendor viewpoint, working in a preferred-supplier system can allow them to maintain or increase market share, streamline the bid process, and provide other benefits.

The authors give planners and suppliers advice on how to succeed in this new strategic environment, and an appendix offers key questions for both sides to ask one another as they consider a professional relationship.

“The big companies are already using preferred suppliers, the midsize companies are either doing it or working on it, and smaller companies are kicking around the idea,” says Daphne Meyers, president, Red Barn Group, Durbin, N.D.

As a former member of MPI's Global Corporate Circle of Excellence, Meyers helped to research and write a white paper on the subject, 360 Degrees of Partnership: Uniting Planners and Suppliers Through Collaborative Business Processes in Strategic Meetings Management Environments, released in September.

All three of GCCE's strategic meeting management papers can be found at www.gccoe.mpiweb.org, along with a tool kit of useful templates and documents.