Our defining moment

14 September 2010
I’m going to set you a challenge. This won’t be easy and there may not be a definitive answer, but here goes anyway. What should we call our profession? I’m asking the whole readership because in the near six years I have been on SM, I have heard this discussed on numerous occasions yet there is never a real consensus. I’m hoping we can reach one. After all, accountants do accountancy, auditors do auditing but buyers do “procurement”, or “purchasing “or “purchasing and supply”. Or a range of others including “sourcing” or “supply chain management”. Our own research last year revealed under half (49.7 per cent) describe what they do as “procurement” – this was the most popular choice. Now, I realise these terms have different meanings and should not be interchangeable. But I think that makes the use of so many even more surprising. There are also regional variations. And for some, the term used will come from the name of their department. So, from today you’ll see a poll on our website with the various options. I’ll leave it there for two weeks and report the results online and in the magazine in October. ‘Procurement’ would get my personal vote, and I know the CIPS CEO David Noble favours ‘purchasing and supply chain’. What do you think? Congratulations to all the winners of last week’s CIPS/SM Awards and particularly to Premier Foods and British Sugar, who picked up the overall winner’s gong. We’ll be interviewing them for our next issue on 30 September. Finally, thanks to the 2,800 readers who took part in our reader research last month. This is vitally important for us to understand what you, the readers value about the magazine and website – and what you like less. This will inform future changes we make.
Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen (DE)
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Bramwith Consulting
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