Purchase Managers can live stress free lives by following these simple, proven techniques.

The significance of the purchase department in a hotel has gone unnoticed for a long time. From my past interactions with purchase managers, I’ve found them dedicated and inspired towards their work. As per my survey they work well within their means to ensure they maintain the budgets alloted.

My research over the years further corroborates their importance in not only ensuring steady supply, but these ‘fire-fighters’ are constantly putting off ’emergency fires’ when faced with last minute increased demand.

Certain unforeseen circumstances can derail the entire supply chain despite a year round plan. A sudden party or event booking can place tremendous stress on the entire hotel from food and beverage to housekeeping. The requirements from these departments may escalate with increased guests.

No property would want to harm their reputation. Hence, it falls on the purchase team to meet this unseen demand by careful planning and preparation. Much like the human heart that continuously pumps blood to all organs of the body, the purchase department works in tandem with all departments to ensure the healthy functioning of the entire hotel at this time.

At times the purchase department has to walk the tightrope between balancing the in-house teams and the external vendors who they maintain long, healthy relationships with. In some cases, the requirements may exceed the vendor’s stock or may not be available at short notice, in the case of perishable items. The purchase teams must be prepared to reach out to other sources to ensure their requirements are met.

Furthermore, the purchase departments have to work within the parameters laid down by the management. And given the last minute changes, the work cut out in front of the purchase team is never easy. They have to ensure hotel profitability without hampering quality and that’s always a tough act.

Stress levels can also increase when either there is a short supply of stock or there is an expected delay. In such cases, how effectively the team handles the situation will determine their success.

Over the past two years, my interactions with various senior purchase heads, cost controllers and general managers has led to creating this simple, nine-step proven strategy to deal with crisis situations. I have discussed this elaborately in my upcoming book, ‘Cheque In with Every Check In.’

Here are a few steps you can follow:

#1 Taking control over the situation

1. Be mindful of the situation. Talk to the team and prepare them to handle such situations when they arise. This will give your mind time to relax and allow you to take stock of the crisis.

2. Identify the stage of urgency.

3.  As the team head you must be aware about the limitations and efficiency of your team.

4. Based on the feedback, identify if these situations are within your control or not. In both cases do not hit the panic button. Your mind will not be able to perform in a stressed state.

5. As a leader, create an action plan and delegate the job to your team and keep monitoring the ongoing progress.

6. Don’t get involved  directly, unless your personal connection with a vendor is required to explain and request them to help you find a way out.

7. If you are handling the department single-handedly, ask the management for a team member who can assist you to call vendors or transporters and keep you informed. This will lessen your burden, and give you time to modify the plan. You can then gauge how much of your action plan can be implemented.

8. To avoid calls from various departments, it is advisable to create a small WhatsApp group with the concerned heads to update everyone about the progress. They can then plan accordingly. This will avoid calls to you directly and help you focus on the solution.

9. Once you procure the materials on time, call the vendors and thank them personally for their timely assistance.

Read more in part 2 in the blog that follows.

Prashant Kumar

‘Committed to excellence and growth of the hospitality industry.’ On a Mission
“To engineer excellence in the hospitality sector through carefully designed strategies for improvement, boost revenue and create timeless experiential customer journeys.To foster well-being and offer holistic solutions to maintain a work-life balance.”

Business Coach & Consultant to the Hospitality Industry |
Author of up-coming Book – Cheque in with Every Check-In |
Editor-in-Chief – www.ChampionsofHospitality.com |