In a world driven by constant technological advancements and groundbreaking ideas, it is individuals with the courage to push boundaries and challenge the status quo who truly redefine our future. Recently, we had the opportunity to gain some valuable understanding from one such visionary, Brendan Reidy, whose relentless pursuit of innovation has captivated the hospitality industry. Reidy is Executive Chairman of BirchStreet Systems, the leader in hospitality procurement.
With a reputation that precedes him, Reidy has built a career based on providing customer-focused capabilities and technologies delivered on time, on budget, and on quality. As the Executive Chairman and driving force behind BirchStreet Systems, he has worked to revolutionize the landscape of hospitality through a variety of trailblazing solutions.
Throughout this exclusive interview with the host of No Vacancy Live, the number one podcast in the hospitality industry, Glen Haussman at The Hospitality Show exhibit, Reidy sheds some light on how hoteliers are leveraging advancing technology to reduce labor-related issues while simultaneously lowering other operational expenses.
One of the issues that I’m seeing continually being discussed is labor, labor, labor, and inflation. So, I found Brendan Reidy over here—he’s the CEO of BirchStreet Systems. I want to talk a little bit about this. I want to get to the bottom of how we can solve some of the problems that hoteliers are having out there. That’s why what you’re doing is really interesting, as a group purchasing organization, right?
Well, what we do is provide the software for both GPOs and our hotel clients to better manage their whole procurement process.
Right, and what you’re doing by getting it out of paper and books, is you’re really having to streamline things, plus get better pricing on goods and services.
We’re able to operate far more efficiently than a manual paper-based system would be, and it’s really critical today, especially with the labor shortage. Even if you wanted to do it manually today, you’d be hard-pressed to find enough clerks to come in and do the work for you.
I’m still surprised that a lot of people are still doing stuff off Excel spreadsheets when it comes to revenue management. It’s the same situation when it comes to purchasing. I think one of the things that you guys could really do effectively is if you’re running low on products, it already knows that kind of stuff.
That’s right. Through our inventory system, you’re able to stay on top—on a real-time basis—of what goods you actually have in the warehouse, and what goods you need to be ordering, and really helps you optimize for on-time delivery of products that you need for your hotel.
So, what’s it like getting involved in BirchStreet? Is it a very complicated way to get off a running? Because a lot of people are worried about training, and they’ve got a lot of other things they’re worried about. And I’m afraid it’s one of those things that they want to do, but then there are so many other pressures that it’s hard to make that switch.
Sure, and today, hotel management has, as you said, so many contentious opportunities for their time and more. So, with BirchStreet, we provide a lot of assistance in getting our clients up to speed.
I’m not going to kid you; I’m not going to say it’s easy. Anyone who’s told you that putting in a new procurement system is easy? Well, that’s someone you don’t need to invite back for the next round of talks. But at the same time, it’s not rocket science. So, there’s effort involved in converting your existing suppliers and your existing inventory over to the new system. But we really provide a lot of help with that.
For instance, we’ll do all of the EDI integrations with your big suppliers—so like CISCO and US Foods. We probably have thousands of vendors who are already enabled from our EDI perspective.
What if I’m somebody like, ‘Yeah, I’m happy with who I’m working with, but maybe there are other opportunities? Is it easy to source products that are different on your system that I’m not already using?’
It certainly is. The most important part, though, is that it’s both easy for the end-user and we enable the strict financial controls that someone in a central procurement or central finance role would want to be able to exercise over an end-user.
Any advice for people out there as we go through the rest of the hospitality year?
I think that when we look at the two biggest challenges confronting the hospitality industry toyed, it really comes down to labor, but also inflation. So, it’s really important in this environment of rapidly changing prices, and commodity restrictions, we still haven’t debugged all the supply chain issues from COVID. It’s really important to have excellent insight into their inventory, their procurement, and into the ability to control which suppliers you use for optimal pricing.
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