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15 March 2012 | Adam Leach
CIPS president David Smith told buyers to promote the procurement profession to people of all ages and backgrounds to ensure it can fulfil its increasingly important role.
In his speech at last night's CIPS Annual Dinner, in association with Proxima, at the Park Lane Hilton in London, he highlighted the increasing prominence of the profession. “Procurement is in the news, it’s extremely important, it is where savings will come from, it’s where austerity will be managed and it’s where profits will come from.”
Turning to his presidential theme of drawing more people into the profession, he said: “My fear is that great procurement is going to be needed more than ever and I’m wondering where your successors will come from.
“This is the fastest growing profession around but if you spoke to a 20-year-old about procurement or purchasing or buying as a career, they might not know what you were talking about.”
He then called on the audience of over 500 senior procurement professionals to go out and promote what they do. “I’m asking you to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to consider the opportunities within procurement,” he said. He recommended that buyers take on an apprentice or start a work experience programme to bring people into the world of procurement.
After reflecting on Smith’s speech over a sumptuous four-course meal, which included mushroom soufflé and melt-in-the-mouth lamb, the audience were treated to an engaging and entertaining speech by Matthew Parris. During his 40-minute talk, the Cambridge and Yale graduate, seasoned marathon runner, TV presenter, former MP and award-winning columnist described how he had failed in each decade of his life at things he tried to do.
He also told buyers how after hearing that he had jumped into a river, on a particularly cold day, to save a dog from drowning, Margaret Thatcher had said: “What a stupid thing to do.”
The climax of the evening saw procurement professionals put their analytical and risk management skills to the test as they enjoyed a casino reception with poker, blackjack and roulette tables.