Lamming: time to address specifics

28 March 2007
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29 March 2007 | Antony Barton

Buyers should have accepted that globalisation, sustainability and technology will transform the profession over the next few years, an industry expert has warned.

Professor Richard Lamming, director of the School of Management at the University of Southampton, told SM buyers should not be asking generalised questions such as "what does sustainability mean to me?" Instead, they should be addressing details, such as "how can I ensure the sustained supply of a raw material that I purchase from three countries in Africa?"

Lamming said buyers should refer to research such as the Goldman Sach's 2003 report Dreaming with BRICs: the path to 2050 on Brazil, Russia, India and China. This argues that the economies of these countries are rapidly developing and will eclipse most of the current richest countries by 2050.

He said: "This is the kind of thinking purchasing strategists should be on to - looking at what some would perceive as crazy non-linear views of the future and how they apply to us."

The need to accept change in procurement also shaped the speech made by Gerry Walsh, CIPS president, when he spoke at the institute's sixty-eighth annual dinner in London this month.

He urged buyers to look to the future and embrace globalisation: "In many ways the world is a much smaller and more accessible place and without the right approach to your procurement strategy, you are posing a risk to your organisation's profitability and success."

CIPS is encouraging members to express their views on how the institute should prepare for the future. Opinions will inform CIPS' next three-year strategy, which begins in November.

E-mail your views to


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