TACKLING ONE of the industry's most troublesome issues head-on, Meeting Professionals International, through a paper from its Global Corporate Circle of Excellence, is telling members that they must partner with their procurement colleagues if they want to succeed, or even survive, in today's global meeting environment.
“Planners and suppliers — if you think what you have been doing all along to keep your job is enough, think again,” warns the GCCOE, a group of senior corporate meeting planners, in “The Power of Partnership: Capitalizing on the Collaborative Efforts of Strategic Meeting Professionals and Procurement Departments.” The paper was released last month, along with a toolkit — a package of how-to articles and sample documents — that can help meeting professionals put a strategic management plan into place.
Because of the rapidly changing business environment, planners and suppliers must, the paper says, “be proactive in working with procurement, legal, travel, and other strategic alliance partners to facilitate better business. You must know your organization's strategic objectives, measure and report spend, maximize process, and deliver value.”
Hugh Lee, chairman of the board of MPI, says that while MPI surveys show that a small percentage of the organization's membership has been dealing with procurement issues right along, “there are members that belong to organizations in which procurement has not become involved.” That, according to Lee and the authors of the position paper, is bound to change. “If your work group isn't actively involved with the procurement process now, it probably will be,” the paper argues, adding that meeting professionals “must be prepared to embrace that reality.”
Yet meeting professionals need not fear change, the authors say. Instead, they need to work with procurement “to learn to leverage both groups' expertise for the good of the business. Such a partnership is not a threat; it's an opportunity.”
The online toolkit accompanying MPI's position paper includes samples of a cost-control policy and a preferred-supplier www.mpiweb.org., a glossary of terms, advice on how to assess a vendor's financial health, an outline of the key components of a strategic management program, and other documents. The position paper and the toolkit are available at