Look to the Nordics

David Noble, Group CEO, Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply
7 September 2015

Where once the world was enthralled by Cool Britannia, we are now all clamouring for Nordic Noir.

From the dark, morally Byzantine issues in TV dramas and crime novels to the simple artistry of Scandinavian furniture, clothes and music, all from a region that has had little exposure to world business since the spectacular failing of Iceland’s financial system.

CIPS has been working in the region for some time encompassing ‘the Nordics’, a collective term that includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as their autonomous regions such as Greenland and the Faroe Islands. This part of the world is fascinating, with a strong history and a psyche that is not as downbeat as popular culture would have us believe.

For instance, the Danes are the happiest people in the world according to citizen surveys, Sweden is organised and responsible, Finland has an education system that is envied around the world, Norway is awash with natural resources and Iceland is known for its musical heritage and creativity. So they are not really downbeat and have much to offer the profession and global business.

The region is home to a number of multinational companies that impact on the world’s economy as well as local institutes such as the Danish Purchasing and Logistics Forum (DILF) and Norwegian Association of Purchasing and Logistics (NIMA).

The DILF is the largest forum in the region with 3,000 members. Founded in 1962, they are a non-profit organisation with a national remit, ‘Knowledge in Network’ which means gathering knowledge and presenting it back to members via different channels to help them in their professional lives. They are working with CIPS on targeted training courses and developing partnership offers for both institutes.

NIMA is a Norwegian institute formed in 1915 and divided into 11 ‘local unions’ across the country. They have just joined with CIPS to begin the oil and gas advanced practitioner award and the first cohort is due to finish early next year. Companies taking part include Marathon Oil, National Oilwell Varco, Bayerngas Norge, Apply Sørco, BG Group, GDF SUEZ E&P Norge, Centrica Energi, GE Oil & Gas, and Tullow Oil so everyone is in good company with an opportunity to exchange good practice and discuss similar issues.

In Denmark, where CIPS has a presence, there has been a concerted effort to make best use of valuable resources, sustainably and without waste. Following the global oil crisis in 1973 which hit it hard, Denmark has taken the position of never being that vulnerable again and its companies are open to making better procurement decisions. This is not just in the energy sector, but among food companies in the country too, so there is plenty that CIPS can do to support them.

There are a range of CIPS conferences, webinars, events and other activities planned for Scandinavia and the Nordics in the coming months, with a joint conference in Copenhagen with DILF this month.

New advisory groups from CIPS regions

Our membership and wider community are showing healthy levels of growth all around the world, which means our base of knowledge and expertise is more diverse and valuable to us all. In an attempt to harness some of this expertise and underpin all the work CIPS does for the profession and the community, our themes and the development of our strategic direction, we are developing new membership groups.

These include Professional Advisory Groups (PAGS) in all the regions where CIPS is present to focus on issues in that region. Expect output from MENA, Africa, Australasia, Asia Pacific and Europe in the coming years. So pretty much from all around the world. The output of the discussion groups will feed directly into the CIPS content strategy. This will inform the development of our knowledge areas – papers, tools and templates, for members, content for our magazines, and any conferences and events CIPS holds – to truly reflect what is happening in business and the procurement and supply management world.

David Noble is group CEO, CIPS

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