Had coffee with my friend Gerard Chick while in London this week, who is on the research team at CIPS (the Chartered Institute of Professional Supply Management). Gerard and I have done a good bit of work in the past, in particular holding an executive summit with British CPO’s, on the status of the supply base in light of the financial crisis. This was held in 2009. At the time, we found that there were significant challenges that existed in preserving the financial health of suppliers, and that firms weren’t really doing enough to try to support suppliers.
Well it’s 2012, and things have actually gotten quite a bit worse. It appears to me that the UK is about one year behind where the US was in terms of its financial growth. So while the US economy is sputtering and showing some signs of life (albeit still on a recession watch), the UK is in the full throes of a downturn. Gerard shared with me some of the activities he is hearing about, concluding that “Europe is in a really bad way at the moment.”
Gerard also shared with me a recent working paper at CIPS on the supply management professional, and the future of this function. He relates the fact that the profession is only going to grow more, as the role of the supply management leader will become more strategic, and more central to the role of the organization. I won’t steal all of this thunder, but he points out that supply manaement will move away from simply being a cost-reducer, but will play a much ore important role in value-addedd and influencing business strategy. This will become more important as major trends start to hit procurement, including increased Corporate Social Responsibility, technological advances, global geo-political and macro-economic change, changing demographics, and a shift in the economic center of gravity. Heady stuff Gerard!
More from the field as my journeys continue…