Procurement Service’s Fall Strategic Events

Procurement Services staff connected with many campus partners this fall through strategic supplier and catering events.

Strategic Supplier Show

On September 26, 2018, Procurement held their Fall Strategic Supplier Show at NCRC.  This annual event, open to all employees and students, enables attendees to meet and talk to manufacturer and sales representatives, see and test new products, and receive special “product show” prices.  

Strategic suppliers are suppliers that have been awarded contracts from Procurement to bring a best-value product or service contract to the university community.  Using these suppliers can help departments save time and money.

The strategic supplier shows began more than 20 years ago and they continue to be very popular. The product show held in March at the Michigan League had 250 attendees and 69 suppliers in attendance.  In May, two supplier shows on the Dearborn and Flint campuses attracted more than 200 people.

Some of the more popular supplier tables are Allegra Print Mail Marketing, Fisher Scientific, Office Depot, and Gordon Food Service (GFS).  GFS is completing their first year as the university’s strategic supplier for food and food-related products.

Thanks to the popularity, plans for more product shows are underway, including commodity-specific shows.  These shows would target a single commodity such as food, travel or research.

Strategic Catering Event

On Wednesday, November 11, Procurement held their annual Strategic Catering show at NCRC.  Unlike with the strategic supplier shows, this event is invitation-only. Around 1,000 invites go out to individuals with event-planning roles around campus, with a typical attendance of 300.    

The edible highlights of this event were the bacon wrapped brussel sprouts from Angel Food Catering, spring rolls from Lucky’s Kitchen, and generous portions of sandwiches and salads.  Most attendees find that the biggest benefit of the Strategic Catering show is the ability to meet these vendors and caterers face-to-face. Some attendees have worked with these people for a few years over the phone or via email and would have never met otherwise.  The attendees also leave the show with a plethora of menus and business cards to help them plan future departmental events.

The Strategic Catering event began in 2010, as part of Procurement’s strategic hosting and catering program.  Eight years later, it features 33 restaurants and caterers as well as florists and equipment vendors. To maximize vendor attendance, the event is always held in the middle of a week before an away U-M football game.   

This year was the second Zero Waste event.  Caterers know going in that anything that an attendee walks away with (plate, cup, utensils, etc.) must be compostable.  The Office of Campus Sustainability helps monitor the 5-6 compost bins that are spread throughout the event space and assists any new caterers prior to the show.    

Thanks to all the Procurement staff who help make these strategic partnerships and events possible! To remain up to date on all future shows, subscribe to the quarterly Procurement newsletter.