A burning platform

David Noble, Group CEO, Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply
8 November 2013

David Noble, CIPS CEOI’m writing this shortly after the resounding success of our ninth annual CIPS Australasia conference and the overwhelming wave of positive comments I’ve received in response to our announcement about licensing the profession. I enjoy the passion and fervour of our Australian colleagues and partners who acknowledge challenges and then surmount them with positivity and energy.

We’ve taken this position on the licence because I believe we’re on a burning platform. Recent supply chain disasters, fraud and corruption have brought into sharp focus the need for excellent procurement practice where purchasers may not be trained or current professionals need to up their game.

The world of global business has changed. This shift has brought out dangers that are extremely serious, such as fraud and modern-day slavery. Our work with the Walk Free Foundation to eradicate slavery from supply chains and our ethics guide with Traidcraft have shown we have made a promise to take immediate action and a licence is part of that commitment.

CIPS has a Royal Charter and is bound by those imperatives. Through a licence, we protect the public good and enhance the profession to levels ‘beyond MCIPS’ and our current global standard. The policy statement itself has been approved by our global board of trustees and we will be consulting widely with our members through CIPS Congress. This is a step closer to personal accountability in the profession, to ensure that modern-day procurement is the responsibility of qualified personnel and that professionals themselves should be constantly developing and enhancing their own skills.

But it will also support our professionals and offer them protection against undue pressure to act in an unethical manner. To state one’s licence is ‘at risk’ is a powerful response. The profession will also be elevated and given the respect it deserves, making it an even more attractive option as a career. Professionals of high standing and ability will have nothing to fear from this move and will see the advantages. In an ideal world this licence would be self-regulating, as some countries are already mandating MCIPS, but that’s for further discussion.

Our work with new partners such as the Walk Free Foundation has given CIPS and its members new visibility among organisations of power and influence, such as the Vatican. This journey to licence has become very exciting indeed.


Stronger, swifter, higher…

It’s timely to be talking about what’s next for the profession as we have just announced our partnership with the International Institute for Advanced Purchasing and Supply (IIAPS) to develop a new masters-level qualification for the profession in strategic sourcing leading to ExDip.

This is another route for our practitioners to go ‘beyond MCIPS’ and will form part of our package which also includes master awards programmes, but with a mixed academic and practical approach.

Strategic sourcing is a complex and highly-skilled activity because sourcing sustainably, ethically and efficiently is one of the most challenging issues facing the global business world and finding the talent to achieve this will become ever-more crucial.

And in a competitive world where the scrabble for the most interesting and satisfying jobs will become ever-more fierce, having the commitment and tenacity to complete such a course of study shows true grit and a willingness to be the best.

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