The Power of Purchase knowledge session on the second day of Express Food & Hospitality Expo Goa covered various challenges that are endemic to the Goa market By Akshay Nayak
The second day of Express Food & Hospitality tradeshow’s 36th edition which concluded recently in Goa welcomed Vikas Khandagale, assistant purchase manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Goa Panaji; Constancio Gonsalves, purchase manager, Taj, North Goa; Nandkishor Kothamkar, purchase manager, Le Meridien Goa Calangute; Rony Rodrigues, materials manager, Vivanta Panaji, Goa, and Sanju Shirodkar, purchase manager, The Leela Goa, who discussed the procurement challenges they face in the Goa market during the ‘Power of Purchase’ knowledge session.
Stark dependence on neigbouring markets
Starting the panel discussion, Shirodkar underscored that one of the main procurement challenges in Goa’s hospitality market is its stark dependence, about 80 per cent, on the neighbouring states for fresh produce and perishables. “The Goa market lacks on the quality supply due to which we have to depend on the other states,” he said. Agreeing with him, Rodrigues said that for good-quality produce, many hotels in Goa including Taj have to depend on supply of fruits and vegetables from the nearby states. “For the fresh supply of vegetables and also mutton, we have to depend on the Belgaum market,” he added. Adding to this point, Gonsalves said that despite Goa is synonymous to high consumption of sea food, about 80 per cent of the supply comes from outside the state.
Highlighting the challenges of logistics in cold-chain supply faced by the hotels in Goa, Kothamkar said that the hygiene standards maintained in the supply containers is a question of great concern to hoteliers in the state. “Transportation of supplies is a major challenge in Goa,” opined Khandagale adding to Kothamkar’s views.
“The main challenge in the Goa market is that the supply chain is unorganised and the representatives handling the cold chain/frozen foods are not well-equipped especially with regard to the hygiene factor,” said Rodrigues. “To check on this aspect, we have audits twice a year to see whether the supply quality is maintained, and furthermore we also host training workshops to let the vendors/ suppliers understand the handling of perishables as per FSSAI norms,” he added.
Speaking on similar lines, Gonsalves said, “Although there are more than two hotels in Goa under the Taj brand, there are no common suppliers for all these hotels, only for the reason that a supplier doesn’t supply throughout the state. So yes, logistics is a major challenge in the Goa market.”
Cutting costs effectively
The panelists further discussed on whether considering the lack of proper infrastructure in the Goa market, were they likely to procure and promote usage of newer products in the market to save on the operational costs effectively without compromising on the guest experience. Gonsalves informed that they do promote and consider novel products available in the market. Rodrigues added, “We would initally look at the after-sales services provided by the manufacturer/ supplier of any new product before considering repeat orders.”
Shirodkar said that they have already started considering to invest in new and innovative products. “Considering the long hours of power cuts in Goa, hotels need diesel to run their generators, so we are investing in bio-diesel for our generators. We have also invested in new sensor lights to save on the energy utility costs.” he said.
Role of government
The panelists opined that the demand-supply gap of both quality and quantity of fresh produce and perishables needs to be looked into by the state government. Considering the FSSAI licences issued to vendors, the panelists agreed that there is a lack of clarification with respect to the eligibility of a vendor or supplier for the licence. “Similar is the case for fresh seafood suppliers who do not have a proper idea about the licences. The state government needs to communicate this to them,” said Rodrigues. Gonsalves agreed with Rodrigues and said, “Many vendors are not aware that the supply vehicles too need to have an FSSAI licence which is given after the vehicle meets specific criteria set for the same. The government needs to make them aware of this.”
The panel concluded with the panelists voicing a unanimous view that, together with the government, the purchase department of all the hotels in Goa need to educate the vendors about the FSSAI norms and the licences in order to make the procurement process in the Goa market seamless and hassle-free.