For the greater good

8 October 2013
Many congratulations to this year’s winners in the CIPS Supply Management Awards. In the analysis section, you can find a roundup of the procurement profession’s night of glitz and glamour and full details of the projects that led them to the richly deserved recognition. As one of the judges, what impressed me most about this year’s overall winner – the Supply Chain Sustainability School – was the ability of its partners to put aside commercial rivalry to work together on a project to improve the supply base of the whole sector. I had imagined that encouraging collaboration in an industry with a reputation for ruthless competition would have been the biggest hurdle to overcome. But, having interviewed the partners involved in the project, most said this had not been a major barrier. Tackling scepticism among suppliers and gaining traction were more complex challenges. As Kier’s Peter Johnson put it: “It’s been hard work, but we have all enjoyed it and it does show we can put our differences aside for the greater good.” The team members believe that the concept could be translated to other countries (a process which is already underway), and to different sectors. The school’s founders have been pioneers in proving such an approach can work. It would be fitting if purchasers in other industries could learn something from this school for suppliers. • Elsewhere in the magazine, you will find that far from businesses looking to curtail the intense focus on procurement operations that we’ve seen over the past few years, this is not actually the case as the economy begins to recover. As we report here, competition for skilled professionals is likely to become even more intense as organisations increase staff numbers. If you need some advice on improving your own career prospects, UK readers will find the Career development supplement with this issue. A digital version can be also viewed here.
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