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22 May 2013 | Adam Leach in Accra, Ghana
Buyers and procurement functions across Africa must develop trust if the profession is to be seen as one that requires representation on company boards, according to the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe.
Executive director Edward Siwela told an audience of buyers at the CIPS Pan African Conference in Ghana yesterday that if trust is built, action will be quick. He identified a need for the function to build that trust on five different levels. The first stage that he highlighted – without which the others are not possible – was the need for procurement to trust themselves and their integrity.
“We must look at ourselves and say, do people out there trust procurement? People out there expect to deal with procurement professionals who exhibit integrity, who exhibit competence,” he told delegates.
The other levels he referenced were building trusting relationships, developing it across the relevant organisation and in the market and strengthening brand reputation. He also highlighted the value of building societal trust, through strong CSR programmes.
Siwela said there is a real opportunity for procurement and supply professionals to sit on and engage at the top level with company boards, but for this to happen, they would need to demonstrate leadership. He highlighted the need for buyers looking to reach such heights to commit to individual development, to complete courses and qualifications and broaden their expertise across business areas.