MSDUK weather the Storm at first Meet The Buyer of the Year

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Fiona Hynds, Events and Marketing Manager rounds up our latest Meet The Buyer event in London

As MSDUK events go, I am positive, and I am sure that the rest of the MSDUK team will agree, that February’s Meet The Buyer at the Grange Hotel in London was anything but plain sailing- in fact, it was more or less rough waters.

The pressure was already on for me to help deliver the same high quality event that our network is used to, and as this was my first hands-on event, I was determined to please.

Just days before the event, planning was a breeze; the meeting matrix was perfected, individual schedules were scrutinised and set and all last minute issues were dealt with. However, come the morning of February 23rd, it was very clear that a storm (Doris) was brewing.

Not an hour into the working day, Storm Doris was already causing chaos to the national rail-lines and MSDUK phone lines- suppliers and buyers from the other end of the country frantically called, claiming to be stuck in their office or stranded at train stations; in addition, our team was preparing to face our own very frustrating trip into London.

Despite our best efforts (even attempting to sardine pile into a replacement service at Wellingborough because of a fallen tree on the tracks) myself and two other team members didn’t make it to the event.

The forecast at that point was not looking good; however, thanks to the determination of our devoted network members and our CEO Mayank and Malvika, the only two members of MSDUK who made it to the capital, we had one of our best Meet The Buyers yet.

See how our February 2017 Meet The Buyer compares to our final one of 2016 in November:

infographics feb 201 vs nov 2016

New Look 

2017 introduced our new look Meet The Buyer, which extended invitation to all suppliers and buyers in all industries, as opposed to quarterly industry specific events. The change provides more opportunities for both businesses and corporates to network and build relationships across industries, and of course, give each business more opportunities throughout the year to take part in the event.

Although Gibbs Hybrid Workforce Solutions, formally Gibbs S3, have been a member of our network since 2015, Senior Legal Counsel Punam Tiwari attended for the first time and was delighted to have made it to the event.

“For me, the event went above and beyond my expectations. I had expected to go along, meet people and come away with a few contacts that may or may not be useful with regard to my service offering. Instead, I met Harish Bhayani from PRM Diversity Consultants by chance and I explained to him what I do and what I was looking to achieve with my service offering. We parted ways. He then came back to me and told me that he wanted to introduce someone to me that was independent of himself that he felt would be interested in my offering. He introduced me to Jagjit Singh from In-Form Consult and we have since been in contact with a view to me forming part of his tender to provide my offering to one of his clients.”

In addition, this year, we have also added training workshops and seminars for businesses and corporates alike to take place in the morning and, combined, the sessions welcomed just under 30 delegates for 2 hours of knowledge, Q&As and interactive workshops.  To kick off the Business Development Workshop, our CEO Mayank was temporarily promoted to Vice President of International Procurement of Wyndham Worldwide and took over the Business Relationship seminar when Gurvinder Patara was unable to attend. Nathan Lovegrove, Sales Director from the Squa.re closed the session with the dangers of ‘vanilla pitching’ and gave a concise step by step guide on winning corporate business.

In regards to the business training workshops, Antje Derks, Head of Content, PR & Communications at Gibbs Hybrid said: “The business workshop was really interesting and I loved the fact that it was interactive – we had an interesting debate and really learned from each other.”

At the same time across the hall, Harish Bhayani, CEO of PRM Diversity Consultants, delivered an interactive Business Case workshop to corporate attendees, helping them to understand the key requisites, common pitfalls and increasing business case for Supplier Diversity.

New Faces

While it is great to see familiar faces at our events, it is even better to see new faces; at this Meet The Buyer, there was a higher number of EMB and corporate attendees available to network with during the 1-2-1 meeting, ultimately resulting in a few new network members!

The Cheeky Panda manufacture sustainable and affordable luxury tissue paper products from bamboo; they attended our event, initially interested in an opportunity to meet buyers and find out more about MSDUK. Their presence was welcomed and certainly noticed- they wore Panda hats to match their branding- and at a time when minimising carbon footprint is a top agenda for business, Chris Forbes, Director at Cheeky Panda, believed that it was the right time to introduce their product.

“We attended the MSDUK network on recommendation from one of the account managers at ISS.  There was a lot of useful information about how to engage with the buyers, what they are looking for and how to stand out. We focussed on our ultra-sustainable angle and the fact we are now carbon neutral so it was great to know that this was another major plus point.”

The Cheeky Panda are already enjoying the benefits of attending our event; they are already looking to work with one of our corporate members on some strategic accounts that have low carbon initiatives.

“We decided to join MSDUK as it is engaging with big brands and it’s a great opportunity to showcase our bamboo tissue innovation.  It’s a very well run business and we liked the focus and energy.  We are looking forward to future events and to meet and network with other group members.”

On that note, we are looking forward to holding our next Meet The Buyer event at the Hilton Hotel in Leicester. With a cyber security workshop led by InfoSec team experts in IT security in the morning and more opportunity to attend 1-2-1 meetings and network in the afternoon, come rain or shine, we will be there- and we hope you will be also!