As a strategic sourcing and procurement consultant, I have experienced first hand the importance of understanding your stakeholders. All too often, procurement groups are simply engaged to get the lowest possible price - and while this may simply do the job in certain categories, it doesn't always apply in more intricate categories such as IT and Marketing. When it comes to this area of spend, simply getting the lowest priced product for service doesn't appeal stakeholder groups or address the needs of the department. 

Understanding your sourcing requirements and your stakeholders requires communication and research - and in the case Event Sourcing, participation. I personally and highly recommend, attending the Client’s or stakeholder's event that will be going through a sourcing initiative, especially those that are more large scale in size, whenever possible. It is imperative to understand the breadth, size, purpose, culture and message of the event to properly source this type of category. Event sourcing not only takes into account the bottom line and long item lists, but it includes creating a customized an event look and feel, and ensuring the message of the event is filtered through to the audience.  

I have attended multiple corporate Annual Meetings over the last few years as a direct employee of the company and also has an attendee for sourcing purposes. As I am currently sourcing a likewise event, with an attendance of over 5500 employees, I was lucky to not only attend the event myself, but invite the alternate suppliers bidding on the event; this strategy is usually not accepted by the client, but in this case I was lucky enough to detail the importance of their attendance. The alternate supplier’s attendance was imperative to the sourcing processing for the following reasons:
·       Breadth, scope and size of the event and rooms/space utilized for event execution
·       Look and feel of the décor, set-up and staging
·       Creative and customization requirements
·       Attendance size
·       Production and A/V needs and requirements
·       Meet with the Event Manager/Coordinator
·       View Floor plans and production schedules
·       Understand company culture and importance/sensitivity levels of the event
Post the attendance of the event, not only was the incumbent pleased with the first step of the sourcing process, but each alternate supplier was very thankful in having the ability to see the event first hand as well as obtain business requirements, scope of work and necessary floor plans for bidding purposes.
On my side of the business as the RFx distributor, it was very insightful to hear the questions being asked, the needs to properly bid out a large event and have the ability to answer any of their questions. Also, allowing the alternate suppliers and myself to attend the event, it provides everyone the ability to view all of the tangible and intangible aspects of the event; therefore ambiguity of the event is taken out of the equation. On my end, this helps with supplier scoring and review and removes much of the back and forth that can and will happen. This also removes the variability of each supplier making numerous assumptions and keeps each supplier on an even playing field.
Overall, explaining the importance of not only your attendance but the alternate supplier’s attendance at the event is imperative for an event that is culture and message heavy. This, at times, may be a hard ask, but detailing the reasons as to why alternate supplier attendance is important will make the supplier scoring, selection and negotiations a much smoother process for all parties involved.
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Liz Skipor

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