Supply Chain Matters continues in our update of readers concerning needs in Supply Chain management skills and talent development, highlighting a recent announcement from The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS).

CIPS announced what the organization termed as a major expansion of its supply management training and global certification program involving North America. The organization has hired an additional three staff persons and will be working in shared office space with the Association of Supply Management (ASCM- formerly APICS).   Business Talent

Supply Chain Matters spoke directly with Bill Michels, CIPS America Vice President of Operations, regarding this announcement.

For readers not familiar with CIPS , the organization is described as the world’s largest procurement and supply professional organization with a global community of over 200,000 professionals among 180 countries, including a large presence across Europe, Africa and Australia.

With multiple certifications from multiple supply chain management focused professional organizations being currently offered, we asked Michels what sets this North America effort apart. The response reflect on the organization’s certification programs that are often described as rigorous, and the global-wide standard in supply management skill needs. Programs are predicated on constant polling among 5000 companies regarding the changing roles and responsibilities of supply management professionals. The organization provides multiple levels of certification that include academic accreditation and strives to extend thought leadership in the areas of global sourcing, procurement and supply management through academic and other partnerships.

Regarding partnership and colocation with ASCM, Michels described CIPS capabilities as very good on supply management knowledge while ASCM is great at individual and corporate certification program administration and infrastructure. As an example, the organization now offers a Corporate Social Responsibility certification tract that includes 30 hours of education in tenets of an ethical procurement group.

The partnership is on ongoing component of the rebranding of APICS, an effort to deliver newer, innovative products and services including a powerful global network of alliances and thought leadership collaborations, along with an on-demand ASCM Supply Chain Learning Center. It represents a transition towards a blended organizational delivery model, tailored for today’s much busier workforce, supporting a particular business’s organizational-wide and individual supply chain process and skills development needs across multiple business process dimensions and training channels at multiple time intervals. CIPS is one of other organizations partnering with ASCM, providing the opportunity for broader end-to-end supply chain strategy and business process knowledge.

Both CIPS and ASCM are further partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help solve critical public health supply chain challenges, including weak distribution systems and a lack of reliable monitoring and data collection mechanisms. Additionally, development and implementation of country-specific plans to elevate the maturity of local supply chain communities that directly impact supply chain reliability, and supply chain talent development.

We had the opportunity to ask Michels, from his professional and CIPS experience, what he advises clients as the biggest talent development challenge for procurement in 2019. The response was clear- communicating needs in the language of business and C-Suite and providing a strategic approach to sourcing and procurement strategies. As for soft skills, it comes down to continual curiosity related to the end-to-end supply chain and what is described as “emotional intelligence”.


Bob Ferrari

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