Contracting: What Is A Commercial Powerhouse?


Author: Tim Cummins

Commercial management is about understanding markets, then turning that understanding into an appreciation of the capabilities needed to meet market requirements and determining whether those capabilities can be developed, sustained and turned into profitable operations.

Given the complexity and pace of change in today’s markets, it is not surprising that the topic of commercial capability is gaining increased focus and priority. It is also leading to questions over how best to create the necessary organizational structure and skills – a ‘commercial powerhouse’.

At IACCM, we have studied this field, undertaken research, developed training for the last 20 years. We have also assembled the world’s only community of commercial management practitioners and an associated ‘body of knowledge’. Fundamentally, commercial competence is not a functional discipline; it is the ability to operate across functions, reconciling stakeholder interests and perspectives to develop a commercially feasible solution.

Many organizations are struggling to adjust to the demands of volatile markets. They are constrained by traditional functional thinking and power battles. They lack the right technologies. They have internal measurement systems that drive contention, rather than collaboration.

IACCM is unique in having created a multi-functional professional association, where members share experiences and use their diversity to create solutions. Our mission is to enable sustainable relationships – and we are succeeding. IACCM member companies are given the insights and the skills they need to handle the commercial challenges of an uncertain and volatile world. By bringing together lawyers, commercial and contract managers, procurement staff, we are transforming organizational thinking and enabling a collaborative approach to market management and trading relationships.

The old world was based on divisions of labor and functional contention systems. The new world requires ‘a commercial powerhouse’ – unified, cross-functional teams with market understanding, who undertake effective assessments of requirements and construct commercial capabilities. Those teams act as a gearbox, driving coherence across trading relationships and facilitating innovation and continuous improvement.

“Unlocking Value through Collaboration” is of course the theme for the 5th Annual PASA Premier ConfeX on 11th & 12th October 2017 at Crown Promenade Melbourne. The programme is packed with case studies and practical advice on how to work more collaboratively. Check out the programme here.

Read more from Tim Cummins on the Committment Matters website.

Tim Cummins is CEO of the International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (IACCM), a non-profit organization that he founded in 1999. Read more here


About Author

Procurement and Supply Australasia (PASA) is the leading provider of information and education to procurement and supply professionals throughout Australia and New Zealand. PASA supports the largest community of engaged procurement stakeholders in the region, through its renowned series of events, publications, awards, plus various community and network building activities. PASA is a trading name of BTTB Marketing, for many years recognised as the leading producer of conferences and events for the procurement profession in Australia and New Zealand. Whether producing under the BTTB, CIPSA Conferences or now PASA brands over the last ten years, our events have consistently led the market in terms of both educational and networking opportunities.

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