by Lisa Grimaldi | July 01, 2008

Dallyce E. MacasCorporate procurement departments have a significant and, not surprisingly, none-too-welcome impact on incentive programs, according to an online survey of incentive professionals conducted by the New York City-based Incentive Research Foundation. In agreement were the attendees of a roundtable discussion on the topic conducted during IRF’s 2008 Invitational, held May 27 to June 1 at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.

The survey took a look at procurement and purchasing departments’ effect on the planning, supplier selection and implementation of programs.

Three-quarters of the 75 incentive professionals who responded to the poll said procurement’s level of involvement has increased over the past two years. Nearly the same number (67 percent) expect that involvement to grow through 2010.

Fifty-nine percent of those queried feel procurement has had a negative impact on incentives. Among reasons: They emphasize the cost of programs at the expense of results; they lack an understanding of the incentive business; their involvement dampens the creativity of events, and it has a negative impact on incentive professionals’ ability to plan and implement programs.

The 12 percent of those polled who said procurement had a positive effect felt the involvement forced programs to be different and standardized practices and procedures.

Dallyce E. Macas, vice president, meetings and events, North America, at Paris-based Carlson Wagonlit, one of the 100 IRF roundtable attendees, told M&C, “Procurement is a black-and-white business, and we are in a business that is everything but.” However, she added, “Procurement is still new to this business, and they are trying to fit it into the mold in place for meetings and corporate travel. They are not trained and educated on how to look at the ROI of incentives; they are purely about hard-dollar cost savings.”