Venturing into the Nordics

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
7 September 2015

The ‘Tinglish’ phrase “same same but different” – where things are similar but differ in some way – comes to mind when exploring the work of procurement professionals in various regions across the world.

Every area has its variations but there are also common challenges and aims.

As CIPS’ influence extends to the Nordics, we take a look at the nature of procurement and supply in the region encompassing Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and beyond.

For CPOs in the region there is a much greater emphasis on corporate social responsibility than in perhaps other parts of the world. Its importance to governments and populations means it is key to businesses too. Consequently, procurement professionals focus strongly on it. The region’s location also brings sourcing, logistics and recruitment challenges. Yet the emphasis on work/life balance may leave others envious. Employees often enjoy long summer holidays and 4pm weekday finishes, which may help to offset dark winter days and the relative remoteness of some parts.

Culture too plays its part. Finland’s traditionally trusting approach means many deals are agreed on a handshake; while the management style in Sweden encourages a greater level of transparency, consensus and empowerment.

It's always a good idea to gain a greater understanding of those you do business with – whether at your own work or externally with suppliers or other stakeholders.

A greater level of self-awareness and the ability to empathise with others works wonders for building networks, negotiating and personal career progression. Yet it is an area in which the broader procurement profession has been accused of falling short.

The key role and value of emotional intelligence will be explored at the CIPS Annual Conference and Exhibition in London on 8 October.

I hope to see you there.

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