No Surprises for ISM's New Board — AT Kearney Gets Voted In Again

Even though ISM's Board has been posted on the group's website for at least a few weeks -- at least last I checked -- they only recently got around to announcing it to the public. While there are certainly a number of rising practitioner stars in the group this time around -- kudos to the venerable institution for recognizing some new, desperately needed faces in the inner annals of procurement -- there's one appointment which is no surprise. And that's a seat reserved for AT Kearney. Now, I have no bones to pick with AT Kearney for the work they do. Aside from being on the high pricing end of the equation relative to their peers, they're still a class act on the project and execution side, at least from what I hear.

But when it comes to inside influence in procurement, AT Kearney has a tremendously unfair advantage over other services providers thanks to its cozy relationship with ISM. There is no excuse for the fact AT Kearney inevitably has a seat reserved for itself on the ISM Board (a tradition that dates back as far as I can remember). What is even more outrageous, however, is that ISM members tolerate this board-rigging gerrymandering. I recently pulled out my Latin-English dictionary (one year of College Latin can be a dangerous thing) and came across the phrase conscientia mille testes (conscience is a thousand witnesses). Even though the typical rank and file members of ISM have little input into the inner-workings of the organization, their tacit approval of AT Kearney's reserved seat is enough to keep the machine's wheels cranking. If you were witness to a misdoing, would you sit back and do nothing?

In my view, if ISM really cared about giving diversity of ideas as much lip service as it pays to racial/ethnic and male/female diversity in its board representation, wouldn't it make sense to invite some fresh faces from Accenture, IBM, McKinsey or another top tier supply management / operations consulting firm into the equation? Seriously, am I off base here, or is there really a reason that AT Kearney has something more to offer than these organization on a year-over-year, decade-over-decade perspective (other than some back door financial dealings that clearly benefit both organizations in some capacity).

I have received numerous invites to ISM's big event this year from vendors and organizations offering me a ticket. Unfortunately, I can’t be in two places at once this year and I’ve committed to attending both SAP Sapphire and SIG. Hopefully my perspective will be voiced by others in attendance at this year’s event .

- Jason Busch

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