How Competent is Your Team? ISM’s CEO Tom Derry Talks Best-in-Class Tips

This is a guest post from Tom Derry, Chief Executive Officer at the Institute for Supply Management.

From my observation, and from that of many procurement professionals in and out of the Institute for Supply Management, there are three items that are essential for best-in-class performance in any purchasing organization:

1)     Goal-oriented leaders who work well with others

2)     Research and education regarding the profession

3)     Measurable professional competency

I think there are plenty of strong leaders in our midst - people who are highly motivating team leaders that aspire to meet corporate goals every year and every day. I also think that there is significant and strong research and education in our industry - in part through ISM's CAPS research partnership and through ISM's world-class certification and continuing education programs.

However, the greatest frontier for supply chain organizations is measurement regarding staff and organizational competency to respond to rapidly changing - and ever more complex - global purchasing challenges. The number of decision-making and negotiating factors continues to grow for buyers. Here are a few of the many factors on the list:

  • Global logistics complexities - including factors such as fuel costs, stability of transportation modes, etc.
  • Geopolitical instability factors
  • Local workplace humanitarian issues and work rules
  • Tier 2 and Tier 3 supplier review and oversight
  • Just-in-time delivery issues
  • Projected fuel costs and petroleum-based products with cost instability
  • Sustainability and green manufacturing mandates

It has become increasingly evident that these kinds of operating challenges require ongoing self-testing by purchasing operations, many of whom have few or no competency-centered measurement protocols in place.

For those of you who want to assess team competency while providing continuing education in the face of these complexities, I urge you to attend the ISM's 2014 conference in Las Vegas next week (May 5-7).

Procurement professionals at every level from across the globe will have the opportunity to attend dozens of sessions from some of the biggest and best thinkers in procurement. You'll be able to hear from global leaders regarding materials costs, economic forecasting, and competency-centered programs.

Competency matters, but you can't determine competency without an assessment process. ISM has programs in place to do just that. We can show you how to begin the process at next week's conference. Check out our conference page for more information.

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