CIM: Why did you move from meeting management to procurement?
Roeterdink: 2001 we discussed having a global position for corporate travel and meetings spend within procurement. There was not really any alignment between the countries regarding policies, procedures, global contracting, preferred suppliers and data. It was not easy because every business unit is separate and responsible for its results. The question is how much to centralize and how much and what to leave up to the local company.
What did your colleagues from procurement teach you?
They can be an added value especially with negotiations. Planners are more focused on service than price. Streamlining to preferred suppliers and using templates for contracts and RFP optimize meeting and travel management. There should cooperate; planners know more about planning and the value of meetings however they should accept assistance of procurement in creating synergy and improving the buying process. The involvement of procurement eliminates silos within the company.
What did you teach them?
I see purchasing as the facilitator in the buying process with meeting planners as the main stakeholder, to give the criteria for the negotiations. It's not always best to have the lowest price, the total cost of ownership is key. The service level is important, which you need to pay for. Purchasing of meetings isn't similar to purchasing commodities.
What is the greatest challenge in your new position?
To get all countries aligned and get buy-inn for our global processes, procedures and policies. Whereas we have a "glocal" approach, global outlines for policies and procedures but local responsibility for the operations.
What are the biggest changes for planners in the coming five years?
The merger of the travel and meetings departments. There are lots of similarities; i.e. the technology used, such as direct booking systems. But a travel manager is not a meeting manager, and both are not real purchasers. The influence of procurement will increase and therefore the need for data.