With Emergency Preparedness, Avendra Makes a Difference

NATIONAL REPORT—During Hurricane Dorian, Avendra went above and beyond to support the Benchmark team when they needed it the most.

Avendra’s Emergency Preparedness Communications Protocol, managed in partnership with its suppliers, helps customers prepare early for hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, blizzards, winter weather, fires or any other natural disaster. The company also employs a communication protocol for recalls or other safety alerts, and important news from manufacturers and distributors.

“Avendra has been collecting and enhancing our emergency preparedness best practices since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast as a Category 5 hurricane. It was during this time that Avendra saw a need, firsthand, within our hospitality community to support our customer procurement teams in their pre-planning and restoration efforts to minimize guest impact and get our customers up and operational as quickly as possible,” said Chip McIntyre, SVP of strategic sourcing, Avendra. “We sought to develop a protocol whereby we could lend expertise and guidance to customers, helping them prepare for natural disasters as much as possible beforehand, and then recover quickly after the fact. Since then, customers have come to rely on this support to quickly and confidently help them plan and minimize negative business impact.”

When Hurricane Dorian battered areas from the Bahamas to Florida this summer, Avendra was instrumental in providing necessary support to its clients, including Benchmark.

“Avendra’s team was in constant contact with our suppliers and they shared that information regularly with our teams during Hurricane Dorian via customer advisory communications,” said Molly Fierro-Preston, director of procurement, Benchmark. “These communications are vital to our on-site property managers and helps them to prepare pre-crisis so that our operations don’t suffer if our supply chain is impacted. Information on real-time supplier updates—closures, limited delivery, etc., are sent early enough so we have time to prepare and order, reducing any guest disruption.”

“Their Emergency Preparedness Brochure is a great checklist reminder to stock up on essentials and offers key supplier contact information in case of power loss. It also included a handy reference list of suppliers that could help clean and restore our properties as needed post-Dorian,” she said.

According to Fierro-Preston, Benchmark’s goal is to help its properties increase profitability, and Avendra has been making that possible for nearly 10 years.

“The procurement program is one of the very best in the industry—the field support and oversight of each property is top notch, and the reporting shared with corporate is indispensable. Working with any other procurement company would mean having to hire people at the home office to manage our account the way Avendra is taking care of us today,” she said. “Because Avendra consistently goes the extra mile, they make it easy for each property to make smart buying decisions. With Avendra, we know which suppliers are the best fit and who delivers the best pricing and cost savings. This enables us to reduce expenses and increase operating efficiencies.”

Avendra’s goal, in collaboration with its supplier partners, is to help prepare and inform customers so their operations are minimally impacted.

“Supplier and customer communications early and often can be critical to ensuring the hotel’s supply chain operations are successfully managed, without negatively impacting employee or guest safety,” said McIntyre. “Through early preparation, our customers can also protect their bottom line and potentially reduce any unnecessary expenses that they would incur otherwise.”

Fierro-Preston added, “Avendra is the ideal choice for Benchmark because it doesn’t just create supplier contracts to save us money; it does so much more. Avendra is constantly pushing information in meaningful ways that impact the procurement and buying habits of our management group. I have not seen as extensive a service offering like this anywhere in the industry.”

McIntyre wants hoteliers to know that Avendra plays an integral role in the communications process for sharing invaluable real-time supplier updates and information.

“We take our role seriously, particularly during an emergency situation, and have the structure and processes in place to help customers and clients protect their operations and prepare ahead of time as much as possible,” he said. “Our deep supply chain expertise and supplier relationships give peace of mind to customers and clients and enable us to guarantee the services and products our suppliers provide meet the strictest standards for safety, quality and value. Together, with our suppliers, we are committed to ensuring our customers are engaged, informed and prepared to handle any potential supply chain issues.”