SRM programme launched by State of Flux and IACCM

Supplier Relationship Management has been a hot topic in the procurement world for some years now.  Most large organisations have at least had a go at it; I know some who struggled to generate the real, tangible benefits needed to justify an ongoing investment, while others have established it as a key element in the overall procurement process.

Compared to areas within the 'core' procurement process, there has also been a limited amount of targeted training available for SRM practitioners.  So it's not surprising that organisations are moving into that space. I was particularly interested in this tie up because it involves both a specialist consulting firm - State of Flux, who are a mid-sized procurement consulting firm based in London*, and IACCM; the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management.

IACCM are an organisation with a lot of strengths from what I've seen, although the fact that their members come from both the supply side (commercial managers / contract negotiators from big IT firms for instance) and the buy side is both a strength and a weakness (would I want to associate professionally with the people who might be across the table from me in contractual negotiations?)  But it's well worth a look at their website if you haven't come across them before; some good material available even to non-members.

Anyway, the two organisations are offering what they describe as a "pioneering programme designed to equip practitioners with the skills and knowledge they need to implement SRM practices effectively within their organisations. Completion of the programme will lead to individual certification and a “licence to practise SRM”.

I'm not a great fan of the 'licence to practice' idea in procurement, but other than that slight quibble with their positioning,  the outline of the programme looks pretty sensible.   There is a focus on both 'hard' and 'soft' skills which seems absolutely right, and the first programme will begin in September 2010 and pre-registration is available now.  I don't know how much it costs though..

* interesting procurement fact; Geraint John, ex Editor of Supply Management magazine and CPO Agenda, now works for State of Flux

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  1. Tim Cummins:

    Peter, thanks for your article. I would just like to pick up on your comment “would I want to associate professionally with the people who might be across the table from me in contractual negotiations?” I would suggest that it is this failure to associate which is one of the primary causes of relationship failure. If we want successful outcomes, we need negotiators to speak a common language, have better mutual understanding of goals and objectives, to share the way they describe and manage risks, to have an ease of communication that can only come from open conversations and a shared body of knowledge.

    Are you suggesting that lawyers should go to different law schools based on whether or not they plan to represent buyers as opposed to sellers, or to prosecute rather than defend? Do you think the law profession would be strengthened and more influential if it broke into multiple groups that refused to meet and talk with each other?

    IACCM is about creating a common pool of knowledge and consistent methods to address persistent problems. It is also about raising the performance from contracted deals and relationships. I would suggest to you that most successful relationships depend on the parties being prepared to be open and honest with each other and with taking a geneuine interest in the perspectives, needs and concerns of the other party. If you view your negotiator counter-part as some form of untrustworthy alien, then you may find that your relationship struggles (and by the way, we also encounter many on the sell-side who have this view of Procurement, so I understand where you are coming from – even if I do not agree!)

    1. admin:

      That’s a great comment and a really interesting area for debate. I do accept much of what you say about common language, mutual understanding and so on. However, I still think there are times inevitably when the contract manager is representing their company, and the ‘commercial’ manager on the supply side has a very different set of objectives, views and (probably) bonus structures! No ‘common pool of knowledge’ is going to solve that. And not every negotiation can be a nice win-win, ‘collaborative bargaining’ activity; sometimes negotiations are distributive and someone wins, someone loses.
      I could also explain why I don’t think your lawyer analogy holds but I’ll save that for another time. Indeed, I may come back to this in a full post actually because it is worth some further thought. But thanks so much for the comment Tim – heard a lot about you, don’t think we’ve met but hope to at some stage!

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