Perfect partners

4 October 2011
David Noble, chief executive, Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply CIPS has always been keen to work in partnership with other organisations that share our aspirations and values. It is therefore a real pleasure to announce a partnership with NIGP, the US institute for public procurement, to bring best practice and professionalism to public sector groups all over the world. Our aim is to change the way individuals and organisations work in the public sector, resulting in lasting benefits. CIPS and NIGP are long-term allies that have worked for years to promote best practice, but this is the first time we have combined efforts to develop a framework for public sector procurement that will be the basis for greater professionalism and improved effectiveness worldwide. Not only do we have the expertise and credibility, but we are able to reach public sector groups across the globe. So why is the time right to launch this initiative? Governments around the world are under huge pressure to become more efficient in the provision of key services in education, social care, health, infrastructure and defence. Those involved in public procurement are having to make big changes in the way they operate. Our mission is to improve the capability of individuals and organisations to deal with these challenges and strengthen the contribution of professional procurement to the public good, whether at local, state, provincial or national level. The CIPS-NIGP partnership will produce specific tools, processes and guidance that can be used by public sector groups at different levels of maturity in emerging nations, as well as developed economies. The first will be the launch of International Principles and Practice for Public Procurement this autumn, followed by a Public Procurement Maturity Framework in 2012. The framework will be designed as an enabler to raise standards in process development and policy setting, benchmarking, organisational development and culture change, and the development of people. The CIPS code of professional conduct will be a fundamental part of the toolkit, to support and promote improved ethical practices. CIPS and NIGP have until now worked independently to achieve these goals. By joining forces, the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts. I look forward to working with NIGP to put public procurement on the global stage.   ☛ See the podcasts page of the CIPS website for a film of the conference  and partnership, and click here to read more about the partnership Apples in hands Steve Jobs, until recently the charismatic CEO of Apple, is a hard act to follow. His chosen successor, Tim Cook, is a very different character. What’s perhaps most interesting about him is that he is not a technical wizard but, in the words of one admirer, ‘an operational genius’ who has honed his skills in the supply chain. Before joining Apple, Cook was vice president of worldwide materials at Compaq before moving to Intelligent Electronics where he overhauled the supply chain. His impact when he joined Apple in 1998 was immediate, turning it round within a year from a loss-making operation to a profitable company returning 25 per cent gross margin. He did it mainly by slashing inventory by 80 per cent, outsourcing manufacturing and simplifying the product lines. Cook is known to be highly analytical and focused on metrics, but he is far from being just a numbers man. Having demonstrated his mastery of supply, he now heads up one of the best known brands in the world, and the industry view is that Jobs could not have left Apple in safer hands.   ☛ If you have any comments or wish to raise a topic, please get in touch at
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