Congress 2015: Looking ahead

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
11 May 2015

Global CIPS Congress members met in London in March to kick off discussions about the Institute’s future strategy.

They gathered at Heathrow’s Sheraton Skyline Hotel to convey the views of members they had canvassed for the two-day event. Items on the wish list included building a bigger presence in Europe, reengineering the branch network, engaging with other professional sectors, government bodies and smaller businesses as well as earning more recognition in the US. Part of the work from the meeting will feed into CIPS’ strategy for 2017-2019.

Congress chairwoman Nikki Bell updated members on the past year’s activities and thanked all representatives for their strategic input, stressing the importance of Congress decisions to CIPS and how much their efforts over the two days would contribute to its forward-looking strategies.

Papers on how Congress aligns itself with the branch networks and Global Board of Trustees (GBT) were passed, as was the Congress Compact, which outlines standards of conduct. Work to set performance criteria for Congress will now start.

Bell said that since CIPS Chartered Status was launched, 800 people had registered interest, two-thirds of whom were eligible. Many are on the path to achieving the status and she said a lot of people were becoming involved with CIPS’ Be a Buyer and Adopt a School initiatives, created to attract young people to the profession.

Richard Masser, chairman of the Global Board of Trustees, hailed 2014’s financial performance and said the money enabled CIPS to invest in its future and carry out work for the public good.

David Noble, group CEO, CIPS, reported on its growing global reach, including meetings at the Vatican and White House. He had met with groups across the globe that plan to use CIPS’ Global Standard for Procurement and Supply to benchmark to improve their performance.

He forecast growth for 2015 but said CIPS needs to “learn and keep going forward”.

Group customer solutions director, Andrew Coulcher, asked Congress members to workshop: whether CIPS should define a set of supply chain governance standards.

“Supply chain governance is in our sweet spot of raising professional standards and our public good agenda,” he said.

Feedback was that CIPS should examine the idea and Congress members presented on how the Institute should approach it.

A second set of working groups examined opportunities and threats facing the Institute; market challenges; and carried out a PESTLE analysis to examine political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental considerations.

Regional representatives presented on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats they faced. A common theme was a shortage of skills and capacity, about which Noble said: “Every country I go to I hear this. Licensing would help. Licensing is a game changer but it’s a long game.”

During the evening Congress members were encouraged by CIPS president Babs Omotowa to “raise their game, raise their voice”. The following day Congress carried out a competitor analysis of other bodies that touch on areas of focus for CIPS and explored the future of the profession.

With the evolving role of procurement and supply management and increased complexities in the marketplace, the discipline is becoming more visible and valuable. Members examined how CIPS should develop standards and practices in procurement and supply management within a multi-disciplinary world.

Finally, they examined future priorities and how Congress would support them.

• Regional Congress meetings will take place later this year, with another full meeting of the international group in 2016.

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