David Noble in Supply Management part 1: CIPS world domination?

David Noble is one year into his role as CIPS Chief Executive and Supply Management has a very interesting interview with him.  I'm going to publish two posts on this; today it is the good news; tomorrow I'll pick up on one particular issue where I'm somewhat less positive!

When Simon Sperryn, the previous CEO, 'left' suddenly in mid 2009, Noble was parachuted into the role; but given he didn't come through a long, detailed recruitment process, he has been a pretty good argument for emergency appointments.

He has stabilised what was rapidly becoming a difficult situation for CIPS, got the finances back on track, and revenues are increasing again by the sound of it,  so he - and the Board and Council - deserve a lot of credit for that.

Membership at 65,000 continues its seemingly inexorable growth.  However, with 20,000 students in China, that brings big issues over the next few years in terms of offering those people ongoing support once they have their qualification.  But that's not a bad problem to have.  And the CIPS qualification is becoming increasingly recognised as THE global standard, particularly amongst the public sector worldwide ; again, a great strategic position to be in for the Institute. There may be competition coming from sources such as IIAPS but CIPS is well positioned here, and certainly seems to be in a better position than ISM in the US for instance.

In the Corporate market, CIPS is trying to expand, but cautiously. Supply Management says that Noble,

"...reports success in his goal of making the institute a “first port of call” for CPOs, and would particularly like to explore the area of corporate membership. “

But this is a tougher area for CIPS; there is strong competition in the corporate market from networking / solutions organisations such as the Strategy Council and particularly Procurement Leaders; and getting too far into what might be termed 'consultancy' brings some dangers for the Institute.   And despite Noble's worthwhile attempts at "pushing the message to senior business people, politicians and civil servants", I am not convinced CIPS is really listened to in Whitehall  ('twas ever thus; I know previous top civil servants  considered CIPS the 'trade union for buyers' and were duly suspicious of our motives!)

But all in all, there is a lot to be positive about; and I was pleased to see Noble talking about social media and a "negotiating challenge" for schools and colleges.   I regret we didn't get into this sort of activity enough when I was involved with CIPS, and if Noble and his team can finally grasp that opportunity, and make procurement a profession of choice for the next generation, that will be a significant achievement.

Tomorrow - my big "on the other hand"....!

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