Document details

Purchasing for the new wonderful world of... [Disney]

Orlando, Fla.: One man's dream world can be another man's land of horrors.

Case in point: Walt Disney's dream of a major resort/amusement complex could easily have been a nightmare of awesome proportions for purchasing. Imagine building a city from scratch, and you have a picture of the job faced by the procurement men at Walt Disney World.

Take transportation: Orlando is the end of the line as far as transporting material is concerned. "There is no manufacturing in this area, so nothing moves out of here," points out Kelly Smith, director of corporate purchasing. "As an example of how this affects us, a truck out of Atlanta - the big market for the South-east - will go to Miami five times before it will come to Orlando."

Compounding this headache is the nature of constructing Walt Disney World. Everything is planned on a tight schedule, so the slightest delay in getting material on-site causes trouble. "A railroad strike that was only in effect a couple of days tied up our cargo," Smith notes. "Even though it was of short duration, we had twelve cars of lumber tied up and didn't even know where they were."

Beefing up hometown suppliers

Complicating the supply problem even more is the fact that Smith and Roy Noblitt, locally hired purchasing agent, had to establish suppliers and deal with markets that weren't prepared for the volume of business offered. "We try to buy at home as much as possible for two reasons: We like to stay in the good graces of the local people, and it's usually cheaper to buy locally," Smith says. "But,' adds Noblitt, "we buy more in six months than many of them [local suppliers] have sold in 10 years.' Local suppliers, accustomed to dealing with small ranchers and grove owners, do not have the inventory-or the capital to invest in inventory-necessary to meet Disney's needs. "We may go into a place needing 100 to 150 spark plugs, and the man only has a handful on the shelf," Smith says. "So we can't be interested even if we'd like. We've a schedule and a deadline. If local suppliers can't meet that deadline, we're forced to go outside the area." There's quite a bit to go outside for. Phase I of Walt Disney World -expected to take five years to complete-is designed as a family-oriented resort destination. Included in the plans: The Magic Kingdom, a theme park similar to Disneyland in California; five theme resort hotels; camping facilities; recreational facilities; and a transportation network composed of monorail trains, surface vehicles, and steamboats. Smith and Noblitt share over-all responsibility for buying everything required for the project. [...]


Source type Magazine
Volume 15.3
Language en
Document type Feature
Media type text
Page count 2
Pages pp. 16-17


Id 7144
Availability Free
Inserted 2023-02-09