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ASCM Insights

Building an Essential Procurement Pipeline

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A “reset” is needed when it comes to the procurement professionals of the future, according to Forbes. “Expectations for procurement’s performance are high and growing higher.”

The story cites many new business realities — including globalization, digital supply chain, ongoing disruption, and heightened consumer demands. Unfortunately, there aren’t nearly enough talented professionals available to meet these challenges.

The latest post in the ASCM Insights blog also delves into the pressing need for more skilled procurement professionals: “Procurement specialists play a key role in supporting supply chains around the world,” the piece states. “They serve as a critical link between suppliers and buyers — and ensure that parts, inventory and products flow to where they are needed. When this link breaks, catastrophic bottlenecks result.”

Catastrophic bottlenecks, indeed. Over the past year, we’ve all witnessed countless examples of what happens when supply chain partners fail to emphasize collaboration and visibility. 

“It’s important to work with your supply base to establish a common vision,” writes blog author Mike Bunge, CSCP, CPIM, director of global sourcing and materials planning at Libbey Inc. “A structured, cohesive supply chain program is no longer optional, and procurement plays a big role in managing supplier relationships and ensuring information flow.”

Bunge also notes that procurement is much more than just sourcing and purchasing. Rather, there has been a significant shift in the approach to procurement, as more companies are recognizing that their purchasing strategy has a meaningful impact on the bottom line. “It’s not just about saving three cents on a bearing that you buy a thousand times a year. Instead, it’s about partnering with your supplier’s engineers to design an even better bearing that lasts twice as long, even if it costs a nickel more,” he says. “It’s about value.”

Perhaps most importantly, the post explains why procurement is all about information flow. Bunge details how procurement professionals are key to enabling essential data exchange, anticipating needs, informing raw material buys and labor planning, ensuring quality and regulatory compliance, and helping to effectively manage inventory. 

“Communication is a sign of a mature procurement program,” he writes.

Yet research shows that organizations are struggling to find qualified talent to support this pivotal area of supply chain. Deloitte reports that 54% of surveyed chief procurement officers believe their teams lack necessary skills and capabilities. A survey by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply finds that 56% of employers are struggling to find talent. And according to DHL, this figure jumps to 73% when trying to attract and retain professionals for senior leadership and executive positions.

A fulfilling career path

To help address these important procurement challenges, ASCM is proud to launch the Supply Chain Procurement Certificate. This online program includes 18-20 hours of education, specifically designed for both entry-level and experienced supply chain professionals. Learners will gain valuable knowledge about strategic sourcing, order flow, supplier evaluation and optimization, sustainable and ethical sourcing, contract management, negotiation, and much more.

I invite you to learn more about the current state of the procurement profession, where it’s heading, and our brand new certificate when I’m joined by Bunge and ASCM Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Rennie during next week’s LinkedIn Live event. To watch the discussion, visit ASCM’s LinkedIn page, then join us at 2 p.m. Central on Wednesday, April 14. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for two more fascinating blog posts by procurement expert and ASCM board member Mike Bunge, CSCP, CPIM, in his three-part procurement series on the ASCM Insights blog.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer at ASCM, the largest nonprofit association for supply chain and the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation and innovation. Prior to this, he was the managing director for the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. His leadership roles have included project management, business process redesign, and individual and organizational alignment. Eshkenazi may be contacted through editorial@ascm.org.

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