Focus on Europe

David Noble, Group CEO, Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply
7 June 2011

David Noble, chief executive, Chartered Institute of Purchasing & SupplyRegular readers will know how strongly I feel about CIPS’ role on the international stage. In recent years we’ve put a lot of effort into developing procurement communities around the world. Rapid membership growth and the success of our subsidiaries in Australia and South Africa is testament to increasing international interest in what CIPS represents and has to offer. One region that has been given less attention is Europe. CIPS has had a European presence for many years but it has been fairly low key, given that most European countries have their own local procurement association. There’s also been a reluctance to do more than put our toe in the water – would CIPS be well received and are we relevant to the European market? But things are changing. We now have over 1,000 members who want to see CIPS active in their country, and we’re seeing an increasing demand for our services from major European organisations, particularly those with cross-border reach. The response to the first CIPS European Procurement Directors’ Forum in Basel, Switzerland, last month left me in no doubt that there is a real appetite for what we can bring to the party. The forum, which was hosted by Novartis at its impressive campus, attracted delegates from countries including Russia, Scandinavia, France, Spain, Germany and The Netherlands. Some already knew CIPS quite well; for others it was an opportunity to find out who we are and how we can support them. My message was a simple one – CIPS is taking Europe seriously and we’re here to help. This isn’t just about offering training, which they can source locally if they want to. What sets CIPS apart from its European sister associations is that we have cross-border and cross-sector coverage. We can connect individuals and organisations into a global network. We can take practitioners from the classroom to the boardroom. And through our forums we can give CPOs the time and space to talk to each other about what matters most to them right now. There was huge support from the delegates for CIPS to develop its European presence and endorsement of our approach, with its emphasis on standards and the sharing of best practice. There was some great feedback after the event and one very memorable comment about our very evident passion for our profession. We have further conferences planned in France and Switzerland, with a new branch in Europe later this year.   New CIPS branch The start of a local CIPS group is always something to celebrate and I’m really looking forward to speaking at the launch event for our new CIPS Channel Islands branch in Jersey later this month. The islands are, of course, wrestling with the same economic and business challenges as the rest of us, but often with less access to professional support networks. The breakfast meeting on 21 June is a chance for CIPS members and local business people to talk about procurement’s role in helping organisations tackle problems and seize opportunities. Attendees will also meet our president, Peter Rushton, who has worked tirelessly to invite key people to the event. Also speaking will be Professor Edward Sallis, principal of Highlands College, the first college in the Channel Islands to offer CIPS qualifications at level 4 and above. To attend, contact   If you have any comments or wish to raise a topic, please get in touch at

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