Malcolm Youngson, CEO of IFPSM – the largest procurement organisation in the world (yet tiny as well …)

Unless you are a real procurement geek, or someone who really loves the world of professional Institutes, you might not have heard of IFPSM – the International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management.

IFPSM, which is surprisingly difficult to say quickly, is in effect the umbrella Institute for most of the national purchasing and procurement Institutes in the world. I say ‘most’ because CIPS (the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply) is one notable absence from the list of 45 National and Regional Purchasing Associations worldwide that are IFPSM members. “Within this circle, about 250,000 Purchasing Professionals can be reached,” as IFPSM puts it.

Anyway, that still leaves major Institutes such as APICS from the USA, and BME from Germany, through to up and coming bodies such as HALPIM (the Hungarian Association of Logistics, Purchasing and Inventory) or IPPU (the Institute of Procurement Professionals of Uganda).

And IFPSM now has a new Chief Executive – Malcolm Youngson, who previously was the Head of Membership and Publishing for CIPS itself. He has taken over from Charles Holden (a former CIPS CEO), so I spoke to Malcolm recently to find out what plans he has for IFPSM.

It sounds like a fascinating job – congratulations. What appealed to you about it?

It is a truly global organisation, I am accountable to our members and IFPSM, , yet day to day it is like running your own small business. We are a very small team – so for instance my role ranges from strategic direction to personally checking the bank balance every morning. That combination was very attractive I thought.

And I believe that procurement can make a real difference, so this is a chance for me to contribute to that. I’ve already travelled to places like Nigeria and Estonia and seen what committed and motivated individuals can do for their organisations and countries through improving procurement practice. I find that very motivating.

What is the structure – who do you report to?

I am accountable to the governance structure, reporting into the IFPSM President. That is Soeren Vammen of Dilf (Denmark) then Cheryl Paradowski of SCMA in Canada will be our next President from 2016. As we are a global organisation, it is important that our elected officers represent the breadth of diversity of our membership.

What can IFSPM do that member Institutes can’t do themselves?

Part of the role of IFPSM is to help younger and smaller Institutes improve and develop by sharing good practice around the network. Then there are activities that IFPSM is well placed to do globally that individual Institutes couldn’t or don’t want to do themselves – such as our Global Standard for Professional Competence in Purchasing and Supply. That is an independently assessed quality standard that provides an accreditation of supply chain graduate level educational programmes around the world.

Presumably though you can’t tread on your members’ toes – you can’t be seen to compete with them?

Absolutely – that is a fundamental issue for IFPSM and we are very sensitive to it. In our regulations it categorically states that we must not compete but complement and support our members

What are your measures of success – where do you see things in 2 or 3 years time?

I hope we have more member organisations in more countries. And providing more evidence of the benefits procurement can bring – for instance we’re working with the ITC (the International Trade Centre, part of the United Nations) to develop a new Institute in Bangladesh. Moving the profession forward in the developing world is a key goal.

CIPS left IFPSM a couple of years back for reasons I was never very clear about – any chance of them returning do you think?

IFPSM would undoubtedly be even stronger with CIPS as a member. We hope to keep engaged, and we’d be delighted if CIPS one day returned to the global family!

Thanks to Malcolm Youngson and good luck to him and to IFPSM – driving better procurement across the world is a very worthwhile cause.

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  1. Dan:

    Not surprising that CIPS isn’t involved. IFPSM’s premise of ‘lets all just work together’ doesn’t mesh well with CIPS’ apparent aim of global domination.

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