Fairmont Dubai procurement manager Zehra Masood talks supplier challenges and why transparency is key
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN HOTEL PURCHASING?
I have been working in the hotel purchasing for the past seven years, across a number of reputable luxury hotel brands. After graduating college, I joined Fairmont Dubai in January 2017.
WHAT SPECIFIC PRODUCTS ARE YOU ON THE LOOKOUT FOR?
As we anticipate all the departmental needs at the hotel, I am on the lookout for everything that is in demand. Once the hotel budget has been approved by the owners, each department head comes to the purchasing department with their inquiries; in order to get the yearly procurement needs fulfilled.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN FINANCE AND PURCHASING TODAY?
As there is an increasing competition in the market between different suppliers, I personally feel that one of the challenges is the transparency factor, which we always have to be aware of. Have we really done our market research well? Have we put all our forces to the market, in order to obtain the best prices for the hotel?
TELL US ABOUT ONE OF YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL DEALS?
The most significant project during my seven-year hospitality career has been a lobby refurbishment worth AED32 million (US $8.71 million). Amongst many of the items, I had to purchase a ceiling chandelier, which initial proposed price was an AED1.8 million ($490,000) and I managed to negotiate it down to AED1.4 million ($380,000). I was personally involved in this deal from the beginning throughout a five-month period:
From securing the deal, shipping the item, and purchasing the insurance for the people, who were installing the chandelier.