Setting Standards: IIAPS Brings Competence and Benchmarking Tools to Procurement Training (Part 1)

One of the challenges of the procurement profession is that we lack a good number of what could be termed truly distinguished academics whose name resonate both inside and outside the field. Call me an academic elitist, but the procurement profession lacks anywhere near the star finance or economic star power of a Michael Porter, Jeremy Siegel or Lawrence Klein. Yet Prof. Andrew Cox may be one exception, however, and he's beginning to make a much bigger name for himself and his rigorous applied philosophy through the growth of the International Institute for Advanced Purchasing & Supply (IIAPS). Spend Matters recently interviewed Prof. Cox about the organization he's increasingly dedicating much of his professional practice and we'll post the summary of the interview in a three-part series, starting today.

In today's post, I'll focus primarily on the background story of IIAPS, some concerns they recognized within the current landscape, and how they differentiate themselves within the market. Andrew tells me that IIAPS was originally established in Scottsdale, AZ by "concerned individuals from over 80 academic, consulting, and public/private sector organizations worldwide" who were interested in addressing a number of things they felt were missing from the current certification/training landscape. What did they see missing?

First off, Andrew pointed to the lack of "rigorous and robust competence benchmarking tools to assess the competence of organizations and individuals against world-class and best-in-class standards for purchasing and supply." IIAPS has implemented their own tools (the PSCM Index and the ICA Index), and hopes to create a global benchmarking standard. Along the same point, the creators were also concerned about the fact that there's a hole in the market in terms of post-graduate level professional qualification (outside of academia), and that qualifications now could be "obtained without a clear demonstration of practical competence" in working with "ALL of the tools and techniques available to practitioners."

Andrew also pointed to the fact that "current nationally based professional bodies are diluting their qualifications by providing multiple different routes to membership." Truthfully, he does make a fair point here, as many of these bodies don't require the same standards for membership, and their methodologies of teaching are so different that comparisons are futile. According to Andrew and the IIAPS board members, these methods are diluting the current learning standards, and "as a result, there is a need for a more rigorous standard of advanced competence internationally," especially for multinational organizations that need to be able to train their varied staff across a measurable standard.

Click here for more information and to learn about upcoming IIAPS events.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series, where we'll talk about the levels of certification within IIAPS, and how they modeled the program.

- Jason Busch

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