Author: Jeni Christensen MCIPS MSCM
Many recent articles have raised further awareness of the shocking lack of professional procurement. Several of these published articles also note the perceived low levels of preparedness of procurement leaders in UK, together with their lack of understanding of their requirements in regard the new Modern Slavery Act 2015. Personally, I have read the CIPS Knowledge Guide ‘Modern Slavery Act 2015’ and this is informative, summarises the Act well and attracts 1 CPD Hour for your reading and knowledge gained. This is a definite step in the right direction in regard to the social factors for UK (including my homeland Scotland).
However, I believe here in Australia we’re lagging behind in regard to professionalising procurement, we need to step-up and recognise ‘Procurement’ as a true Profession – not a finance add-on and encourage companies to appoint more Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs). We need to articulate our value proposition, benefits realisation, celebrate success and relaunch the procurement brand.
Australia, we need to ‘Professionalise Procurement’ and raise awareness of the value Ethical and Sustainable Procurement.
How do we do this?
Step 1 – Remove the stigma that Procurement is about savings and cheapest price. Let’s promote the ‘value’ of professional procurement and demonstrate procurement excellence, through continuous improvement methodologies.
How does professional procurement differ?
- value-for-money (not cheapest price);
- open, transparent, fairness, integrity and professional conduct;
- risk management (inc. reputation risk and accountability);
- celebrate success;
- due diligence and conflict of interest (particularly, when on-boarding suppliers, promoting longevity and reduced risk);
- contract management (benchmarking, benefits realisation of the resultant contract) – not just savings; and
- detecting and reporting of procurement fraud (don’t wait for the Ombudsman or IBAC)!
How do we get there?
- Employ ‘qualified’ Procurement Professionals and ensure ongoing Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and training programs for all Procurement and non-procurement staff involved in projects.
- Procurement Policy & Procedures (embedding Ethical and Sustainable Procurement) for good and/or services – inc. capital and ICT projects including Environmental Sustainable Design.
- Professional Code of Conduct (inc Ethics) – Procurement Ethics go beyond mere compliance with guidelines, policy, laws and regulations. Ethical behaviours embrace open, transparent, integrity and professional conduct – which are essential in continued fair and competitive process.
- Procurement Systems (e-procurement, contracts and relationship management), including benchmarking and reporting.
- Ensure Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality declarations on all projects, not a one-time event on commencement.
- Embed Probity and Procurement Fraud training, for non-procurement staff involved in projects.
Let’s raise the bar on professional procurement and take a deeper dive at the benefits of ethical sourcing and sustainable procurement, including but not limited to:
- Labour Standards (International Labour Organisation)
- Health & Safety
- The Environment
- Business Ethics
- Value-for-Money (not lowest cost)
Target: A Chief Procurement Officer at every boardroom table and finally move Procurement from the back room to the Boardroom! Let’s promote Professional Procurement!
PASA has declared 2016 to be ‘The Year of Entrepreneurial Procurement’. This theme will be reflected across the business as we focus on a new way of thinking and encourage different skills and attributes in the people working in procurement. Read more here: