The new CIPS monthly magazine – hit or miss?

Well, we asked for comments on the new Supply Management monthly and had on balance moderately negative comments here and on LinkedIn as well.  I actually would review it  somewhat more positively than the limited sample  of readers. For a start,  I hadn't thought about the 'perfect binding' making it harder to read...

"I don’t like the perfect binding, it doesn't open easily on the desk when (trying to) read it while having a coffee, the two staples were much more practical".

I liked the expanded legal section, but a little strange to have a whole page on new retirement legislation perhaps? The CEO's page was worth reading, as was the piece on negotiation and the parallels with the military - although no mention of BATNA which should be compulsory in every negotiation article. Stefan Stern was good value as usual; and the expanded international coverage was good although obviously won't all appeal to everyone.  The Careers Page is a good idea; I'll reserve judgement for a while on Saint Homobonus, the 'humourous' column...

I didn't think the survey as a centrepiece of the first edition was interesting enough. Maybe I would feel differently if I was still a practitioner but it lacked the 'wow' factor for me. (And my wife, a microbiologist, gets very upset about inappropriate use of DNA in magazine headlines. "Surveying Buyers' DNA" indeed)!  So all in all, for me there was a bit more than the weekly that I read and liked; probably not twice as much, but more.

The graphics and use of colour are very much a personal thing and I generally liked it although I don't like white on black type on paper (better on screen somehow).  Uses lots of ink as well, not very green, someone once told me when I tried to sell them consultancy with a glossy presentation pack... (Mr Acheson?)

But the comments we received were heavily focused around content - which is the heart of successful publications.

"Practically no difference in content from the weekly edition"

"Almost nothing of interest in content"

The news is almost by definition even more out of date that it was in a weekly magazine,

I hope it’s more than the digest of snippets of procurement news from across the many sectors. I do wonder whether this type of journalism is now better suited to other media and that the transition to the monthly format could have heralded a more educational and informative agenda.

A key issue is the lack of informed comment on news and features. Some things that are reported are interesting but you want the piece to be rounded off with a 'what does that mean' insight, or to take a more questioning line; such as the piece on Govenrment procurement. And one article was quite simply a two-page commercial for a particular CPO. I - and others I think - would suggest the move to monthly should be an opportunity to focus less on news (given the timeliness issue) and PR pieces, and more on serious analysis and best practice material.

But - and I know this sounds like knocking a 'competitor' - SM's unwillingness to feature anybody / anything who Redactive see as 'competitive' is going to restrict the content I fear.  I'd love to see them picking up on some of the 'content' we, or Procurement Leaders, or others feature; even if it is only to disagree!

I honestly believe the best future for a successful CIPS publication has to be one that sits at the heart of  the whole world of procurement thinking and comment, and is (making a technology analogy)  'open-source' in its approach, not as it is at the moment; a propriety platform that doesn't integrate with other 'systems'. But that's my view. And a final word from our reader 'Final Furlong'.

For me, the high quality (not-so-eco-friendly) glossy finish has now made it (almost) impossible to cut into squares for use in the en-suite to the guest bedroom. I say ‘almost’ because some of our guests are Scottish…

Voices (2)

  1. Peter Smith:

    I think it has to be financially driven. There used to be 10 pages + of job adverts every time; now, even thought the recruitment market (at least in the private sector) has picked up, the old fortnightly magazine was getting only 2 or 3 pages. Work out what that means in income terms…. pretty significant.
    That’s not only an SM problem of course; it’s about online and LinkedIn etc taking the recruitment market generally away from physical publications. . So I would imagine Supply Management’s online revenues are better than ever, but hard to justify the ink on paper. The other interesting point I didn’t mention is what this means for CPO Agenda? The monthly Supply Management looks more like CPO Agenda, which has also become less ‘academic’, so I’m not clear there is a differentiated role for both.

  2. Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2:

    Nice analysis, Peter.

    Even moreso than what the new magazine is like from an aesthetic and content standpoint, I’d be interested in your thoughts on what the change of frequency means for CIPS. Is it an indication of a decline in financial strength? It’s a common occurrence for print publications to decrease frequency and/or go to a higher percentage of “digital editions” as a precursor to their demise. Also, when businesses make changes that take benefit away from their customers and make their customers unhappy, that’s usually a bad sign.

    Can you read anything deeper into these changes?

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