Welcome to the Global CEO (UK) blog. Its aim is to draw attention to developments and ideas in the world of procurement and supply management and in the work of the profession’s Institute.
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David Noble FCIPS
The problem with retail. Again.
It bears repeating that bullying is a short-term tactic that is unlikely to bring long-term gains. This is something that as procurement professionals we have long known, not least because of the moral and ethical aspects, but also because it simply does not work. ‘Pay to stay’, and long payment terms or intentional late payment are all examples of poor practice.
That’s why it beggars belief, why the supermarket chains should continue to take such an approach. Almost 90% of supply chain professionals who took our retail survey earlier this year were in agreement that such tactics gave our profession a bad name. Because, that is not how many successful sectors work, so why should retail be different?
Our call for a licence for the profession means self-regulation first, and the confidence this can bring to consumers and businesses cannot be underestimated. Especially as there are fears, not entirely unfounded that the Food Standards Agency, the Groceries Code Adjudicator and other official agencies are unable to successfully tackle the issues we in the profession understand so well and have solutions for.
The retail industry may have some unique challenges – speed to market and the incessant push for new products to the highest quality, which are all major drivers in how retail does business. The survey highlighted these as some of the admirable aspects of the sector. But the survey also revealed that transparency and traceability were the biggest areas for improvement. This is nothing new in good management of supply chains but almost half the respondents in the survey said that retail must implement these developments as a matter of urgency if they are to recoup some of the financial and reputational losses in recent years. Such findings echo the results of an earlier survey amongst our members which revealed that almost three quarters of British supply chain professionals have zero visibility of their supply chains and only 11% had full visibility.
It’s time for change; real change, and commitment after years and years of scandal and malpractice. Consumers and business deserve better and to know their goods are being procured in a fair and transparent manner, and we in the profession have full accountability and responsibility for that process.
Finally, almost 90% of the survey’s respondents said those running retail supply chains should have professional qualifications and training. CIPS has a big part to play. We’re listening.