tails.com Supplier Fest 2021

One of the great joys of working in procurement is that you get to see every part of a company. On Monday, you can begin by strengthening kibble supply chains, by Wednesday, find yourself proof reading a marketing contract for an influencer to sign, before helping the data team tender for a new software system on Friday afternoon.

This makes Supplier Fest a really important day for all the other departments at tails.com: it is our chance to give everyone else a similar insight into who the company as a whole works with day in and day out.

What does it involve?

We do this by inviting some of our suppliers each year to give talks, not just on what they do for us, but also on what they are involved in within the outside world. In previous years, for instance, our long-term kibble partner, C&D, has presented on sustainability, social and environmental issues. We hope that everyone comes away better-informed and that our suppliers appreciate the chance to meet us outside of a performance review!

For the second year in a row, alas, we were unable to host our guests in Richmond. Instead, we once again hosted zoom calls, with many a dry run to ensure that all videos and PowerPoints ran smoothly.  But again we saw the bright side, with online polls ensuring that everyone was able to engage with the talks, whilst the flexible nature of zoom calls allowed people to drop in and out of the day as best suited them.

On Emarsys: “It was great to hear from a voice outside tails.com on a difficult topic.” - Tim Barber, Senior People Partner

Who Came in 2021?

This year, five partners presented to us, including both new faces and returning friends.

We kicked off with a fresh face, Emarsys, a new heavy-weight addition to our marketing arsenal. They spoke to us about the power of AI and personalised marketing, and how much more refined the process is becoming.

Following hard on their marketing heels came Influencer.com, a fellow ‘.com’ business. Their presentation on the future of influencers felt no less 21st Century but was perhaps more immediately relatable to the ordinary employee.

Our third supplier, Circl, gave perhaps the most inspiring talk, on leadership and diversity. Both very important themes for any business, we were even given a takeaway exercise to use amongst ourselves at a later date.

In the afternoon, Fivetran returned us to the theme of data, enlightening us about the world of data connectors, and how we clean and agglomerate the products of our myriad data sources. As our head of data, Alan, suggested, I suspect that for many this was insight into a problem to which many had previously been totally oblivious.

Finally, one of our oldest and best suppliers, C&D, rounded off the day with a discussion about global commodities and how global shopping has changed over the pandemic. Building on a popular performance last year, as well as on their well-deserved reputation, it is hardly surprising that this was one of the best attended talks, and dare I say it, my own personal favourite.

Whilst each talk addressed a different aspect of the tails.com company, common to each was the knowledge that we were working at the very forefront of wherever we work: whether that is adapting to new consumer habits, through our product or marketing, or using high-tech data software to make informed decisions, we were doing it.

“Really enjoyed the Circl presentation, we asked quite a few tough questions and the hosts  were amazing at answering everything we threw at them.” - Martina Dascollas, Customer Experience Specialist

For the future

This year, as we hear almost daily news stories of supply chain woes, Supplier Fest felt particularly important. We know that it is a trying environment out there, and so now more than ever, we appreciate the work our suppliers put in. Without them, we wouldn’t even begin to be able to feed so many of our wonderful pets. I hope that they enjoyed the day as much as we did, and we are very grateful that they took the time out of their busy days to come speak to us.

Next year, of course, we can still hope that we can actually meet our suppliers in person in the office. Maybe, we will be such hybrid-working pros that we will have the presentations in our new collaboration space on a big screen. Either way, I am already looking forward to meeting more of the people who make tails.com possible.