When it comes to building community spirit, we all have our part to play

28 January 2021

Lots of us are facing an uncertain future work-wise. There are enormous challenges between both the Covid crisis and Brexit, but it’s also an opportunity for the procurement community to come together and support each other through this difficult period.

Nobody truly knows what 2021 will bring – I’m not sure if anybody knows what tomorrow will bring, in all honesty – but we can look to support one thing that really matters, which is us. Who do I mean by us? Well, there’s the people behind the businesses, those managing the supply chains, those within food retailers, and the support and key workers who have truly demonstrated what selflessness means over the past 12 months.


Now more than ever we need support, whether that be from family, colleagues, suppliers, customers, or governing bodies, as we head into 2021. The power of positive collaboration is enormous; it’s become a world of less competition and more of partnerships and working together, in my opinion.


We should accept that we simply cannot be the experts on everything. For instance, I run a business but don’t conduct my own electrical work, so then why would I expect any single person or organisation to have all of the answers I am looking for? For me, there are a number of areas of support available, one of which is CIPS.


CIPS is more than just a designation and I look to utilise it at every opportunity. It’s also a community of like-minded people who can avail themselves of the opportunities to network, discuss and debate best practice and the all-important sharing of knowledge. This community is driven by a dedicated group of volunteers who manage the CIPS branches, events, and special interest groups, so if you’re not currently in touch with your local branch, please reach out to them. It has been both rewarding and fulfilling for myself, and it allows you to put something back. 


Since being elected as a CIPS Congress member I’ve received many questions asking what Congress actually does and how it’s assisting members. I guess the first thing to explain is the true role of Congress. To put it simply, we represent the interests of the global membership, we aid them – as well as the leadership teams – on a two-way communication basis. 


So, as we move into a new year, the need for virtual support is even more prevalent with the absence of live events and travel. The need we all have to engage is becoming more of a key driver and is just as important as the content or outputs from any such formal gatherings. 


As we strive to continue our learning journeys, I would simply encourage you to connect with fellow CIPS members, with branches and their representatives and of course with CIPS itself. 


All of these avenues provide benefits but, for me, the most important is that support network. It can offer help both professionally and personally, it’s a go-to option to be accessed whenever required, and crucially, it’s a great example of the old adage, ‘you get out what you put in’. 


Read about CIPS branches, volunteering and more opportunities at: www.cips.org/membership/networking


Andrew Neilson FCIPS is founder and owner of Twisted Orange Limited and a member of CIPS Congress.

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