Boyd Gaming Thinking Fewer Is Better

22 November 2005

Boyd Gaming Corp. officials believe a recent one-day seminar geared toward its suppliers broke new ground in helping vendors gain insight into how they can better provide goods and services to the company's 12 Nevada casinos, which will include the $600 million South Coast in late December.

At the same time, Boyd Gaming hopes it can help suppliers better target their products and, at the same time, provide an avenue so that larger companies can team up with smaller, locally owned businesses.

"This was a way for us to educate suppliers about our business, and it hopefully gave them some strategic direction on how they can better serve us and we can better serve them," Rick Darnold, Boyd's vice president of strategic sourcing, said during the one-day conference held last week at the Stardust.

Boyd Gaming invited 116 vendors to take part in the seminar, in which they were given an overview of the company by Boyd Gaming President Keith Smith, and some insight into Boyd's current and future procurement developments.

Darnold said the attendees represented $155 million in annual Boyd Gaming spending by Nevada casinos. The company is planning a similar seminar for its suppliers serving its casinos in Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Indiana.

The goal, Darnold said, is to reduce the number of suppliers Boyd Gaming uses so that it can improve both the quality and quantity of its products.

"It's not always about getting the best price," Darnold said. "That's an important aspect, but if one vendor can provide a product for multiple properties, then it's mutually beneficial."

He likened the session to how Boyd Gaming explains its business to Wall Street bankers and the investment portfolio managers when the company makes presentations as a public-traded company.

Boyd Gaming's casinos in Southern Nevada run the spectrum, from the locals-oriented Coast Casinos to the Strip-based Stardust to a cluster of downtown properties.

"Initially, I was a little apprehensive, but at the end of the day, I gained an understanding of the direction the company is going and how they want to run purchasing," said Mike Brandal, assistant vice president of global accounts for Ecolab, a worldwide company that supplies cleaning and sanitation products for kitchens, hotels and laundries. Brandal said Ecolab employs about 100 people in Las Vegas.

"It was a good meeting and helped us understand what company's expectations are from its vendors," Brandal said.

Boyd Gaming also gave its vendors a look at the company's newly-launched technology plans, which includes Internet-based sourcing and transaction reporting tools.

"The technology give us the tools to evaluate our supplier base more easily," Darnold said.

Boyd Gaming also discussed its inclusion programs and the emphasis to contract with additional women and minority owned businesses. A panel discussed how smaller businesses can successfully secure contracts by distinguishing themselves from larger companies.


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