While most people would not be aware of typical supply chain interruptions, 2020 brought a pandemic that impacted the global supply chain network and led to people feeling the ramifications of it on a very personal level. There was no better example of this than the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when consumer panic-buying and factory closures led to a widespread supply chain collapse and empty shelves in stores across the world. During this time, HSM went into overdrive, activating supply chain solutions and pivoting procurement streams to help people where they needed it most.

Hilton Supply Management’s initial Covid response was largely based on strategic communication, established relationships and ever-evolving agility. When the crisis began in China, the first steps were to leverage regional partnerships to gain a full-picture understanding of what was happening, how it was affecting inventory availability and mapping out potential demand. As the virus spread out globally, HSM adjusted its focus to collaborate with suppliers and evaluated production capabilities in each region to ensure that open hotels were getting what they needed. Throughout the process, HSM Team Members kept constant communication with customers, providing updates on market conditions, as well as our commitment and effort to fulfilling their requests.

After mitigating the initial shock of supply route disruptions, HSM quickly shifted its focus to sourcing protective equipment for hotels who were staying open and offering guidance and support for those who were forced to temporarily close. To effectively procure protective equipment, HSM worked closely with Property Operations, developing sources and supplies for equipment needed to operate. HSM also played an integral part in developing and launching Hilton’s CleanStay program. For properties forced to suspend operations, HSM provided checklists, supplier communications and supplier support to help facilitate the process when closing and with eventual re-opening.

In addition to supporting hotels during the onset of the pandemic, HSM also worked closely with its vast network of suppliers to offer relief and to re-negotiate workable contracts. Having multiple suppliers in each category helped to keep supply lines open so that vendors could push products and customers could get what they needed most. As an intermediary between suppliers and customers, HSM helped mobilize resources by identifying factories with production capabilities, pre-paying for and physically securing deliveries of high-demand PE, securing financial relief for owners from key supply partners and establishing a global risk management team.

Of course, at the end of these supply chains are real people, many of whom suffered without basic supplies due to distribution disruptions. That’s why, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, HSM and our program produce supply partner Freshpoint collaborated to provide fresh produce to employees and community members impacted by the virus in cities like Atlanta, Dallas, South Florida and Southern California. Overall, we partnered with our top suppliers to donate 500,000 pounds of food to 6,000 Team Members at 14 of our largest properties.

Most people don’t realize the crucial importance of keeping procurement streams moving, especially during a global crisis. Whether it was securing PE, negotiating relief agreements, offering risk mitigation resources or responding to immediate needs like hunger, HSM’s COVID-19 response was about leveraging supply chains to make a difference in the lives of those affected in the early days of the pandemic.

Published: April 01, 2021

Category: News