Preparing to play our part in the brave new world

It’s more important than ever to keep up to date with your procurement skills – they will be called upon in the new business landscape

Last month we launched The Future of Supply Management white paper, produced in conjunction with the University of Liverpool and Aston University, Birmingham. This significant piece of academic research explores what the future holds for our profession. CIPS has an important role to shape and influence the future of procurement to ensure we remain relevant and continue to deliver value and competitive advantage.

The paper explores two scenarios, Titans and Networked (see p32) as plausible futures for procurement. The Titans scenario involves more automation, with a few large powerful organisations and many smaller ones. The major focus for procurement professionals will be on risk management and supporting business strategy. The dynamic marketplace will be volatile and unpredictable, and procurement will need to get a handle on interpreting data.

The Networked scenario on the other hand predicts a more evenly distributed market power, where organisations are interconnected. It assumes reduced inequality in organisational income and power, a greater concern for the long-term cumulative impact of local decision-making, more accountability and external stakeholders, and tighter regulation. Procurement’s principle strategic contribution will centre on network co-ordination and supporting strategising. Transparency and accountability will be increasingly valued over speed and stakeholders will be consulted about decisions by commercial businesses.

A crucial point in both scenarios is that supply managers are not passive actors. Procurement needs to initiate debate, challenge current practices and build their capacity to develop new, appropriate supply management options, rather than sleepwalking into undesirable figures.

Staying ahead of the game

The procurement profession continues to evolve, with opportunities for professionals to play a more strategic role. The move from tactical procurement to dealmaker and value creator will require a broader and more complex skill set that not everyone has. This will inevitably result in a contraction of roles, but an elevated status for procurement. 

Questions must be asked, like where this leaves entry-level jobs to attract new talent? Or indeed those who cannot adapt to the changes? The early days in our careers where we cut our teeth on processing orders will be long gone. In fact the roles for young people leaving school in the next 10 years are unlikely to even exist yet. Nor can you expect to make a lifelong career in the same role any more.

This is timely as CIPS launches our new CPD tool and Chartered Status. Remaining current and keeping your skills and knowledge up to date is critical for career success in the rapidly changing environment in which we operate. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is essential for supporting career progression, performance at work and future employability and is vital for professionals who want to be at the top of their game. 

Those MCIPS and FCIPS members who can evidence at least 30 hours of CPD and have an up-to-date CIPS Ethical Procurement and Supply Certificate can apply for Chartered Status, providing recognition and assurance for your employer, peers and clients that you have continued to build on your academic achievements. Turn to p46 to see some of those members who are proud to have become Chartered. I would urge all of those who are eligible to apply, and for student members to get into the habit of logging your CPD in preparation for obtaining MCIPS. 

CPD does not have to mean sitting in classrooms or attending training courses – reading your Supply Management magazine, articles on LinkedIn, blogs, thought-leadership papers or networking with peers all count as CPD. So why not link up with your local branch, attend one of our global conferences or sign up to a webinar. 

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