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In this competitive global employment market, choosing the right programme that will almost guarantee employment is highly essential. The demand must be more than the supply.
Procurement and Supply Chain is considered a niche programme but its growing demand over the past 5 years in Asia, especially in India and China has made this one of the more highly sought-after qualifications in recent times.
The importance of Supply Chain Managementis depicted in the definition itself.Supply Chain Management (SCM) is a cross- function approach to manage the movement of raw materials into an organization, certain aspects of the internal processing of materials into finished goods out of the organization toward the end-consumer. Organizations increasingly find that they must rely on effective supply chain to successfully compete in the global market and networked economy.
Successful Supply Chain Management requires a change from managing individual functions to integrating activities into key supply chain processes. The key supply chain processes include: customer relationship management; customer service management; demand management; order fulfillment; manufacturing flow management; supplier relationship management; procurement; physical distribution; outsourcing / partnerships; and performance measurement.
In simpler terms, SCM generally makes a business run smoother by cooperation across different functional departments in an extended enterprise environment that includes the company, its suppliers and distributors. Therefore, quality products can be offered at a lower price.
Statistics has shown that currently there is still a huge market in Asia for those seeking for professional qualification in this discipline, as reflected by the database of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), UK. CIPS qualifications are widely regarded as an international benchmark of excellence, enhancing standards of professionalism and performance throughout purchasing and supply. This is indeed an alarming fact and figure as buying, purchasing and procurement are critical functions within any organization (public or private sectors) in view of their direct relation to costs. As a profession, purchasing and supply is increasingly being seen as a strategic business discipline not merely operational and tactical, involving a growing number of highly specialized roles. The supply chain is becoming ever more complex, presenting those in the profession with many new challenges, from changing market structures ushered in by globalization and the growing economic strength of developing countries, to technology global events and trends towards ethical and fair trading. Currently, most of the personnel assuming purchasing, supply chain management or its related field positions are not holding the relevant qualifications. As such, the workforce does not have the right qualifications for the right jobs.
To further emphasize procurement and supply chain as profession (with a career progression/path), there is a Professional Identity attachedto it now, whether the chartered qualification is from a professional body in UK or US. This is similar to professions like engineers, accountants, lawyers, architects, etc. that have their ownrespective prestigious professional bodies.
For instance, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also has an initiative to raise the professionalism in procurement and supply in third world countries which includes the licensing of the procurement & supply profession, benchmarked against international standards.
The general perception in Asia is that supply chain management is only applicable to the manufacturing sector. However, in actual fact, SCM is critical in all industries including oil & gas retailing, food, healthcare, automotive, hospitality, etc. It has been proven that the backbone of many service operations is its supply chain management. The advantages of SCM are limitless – increased coordination between supplier through strategic relationships, distributors and partners, enhanced customer relationship, and reduced cost of operation.
It has been widely acknowledged by most that managing public sector procurement is challenging but highly critical. Good procurement in the public sector is equally important, if not, more important in light that every dollar saved is a dollar that can be spent on providing better public services.
There is a need to understand our business environment as the economic environment is dynamic and is constantly changing due to economic shifts, outsourcing market, technology advancement, changing business models with agility as a priority and ethics & compliance.
There are four pillars in the supply chain -
The fact is SCM is a long–term play. In efforts to survive the global recession, smart companies are adopting effective SCM planning and execution initiatives such as:
There must be clarity in the roles & benefits of procurement & supply in organizations. How effective procurement impacts on profitability, creating savings and efficiencies for the organization.
The added value to organizations that can be achieved through effective Supply chain management by: reducing prices & total costs, improving quality, reducing time to market & achieving deliveries to required timescales, encouraging innovations, reducing risk & supply chain vulnerability, promoting sustainable procurement (brand image & customer care), ethics & code of conduct.
Spend Management in procurement and supply helps personnel to develop capabilities in achieving value for money outcomes with the supply chain. Such positive contribution will lead to the success of the organization through effective purchasing, effective negotiation, effective inventory control, controlling expenditure and the use of strategic procurement and supply techniques, including category management and strategic sourcing.
In view of the growing demand, more institutions are now heeding the call and taking the lead in training the workforce to be equipped with the all–important knowledge and professionalism in this niche discipline. Offering such courses has never been more-timely as quite a number ofAsian countries are striving to belogistics hubs to be reckoned with.
In summary, if you are unsure of a course to pursue but what you do know is that if you were to do a certain course, it must be one that has high employability rate in the long run - do seriously consider doing a course in Procurement and Supply Chain Management.
Career prospects include: Procurement Manager, Purchasing Manager, Category Manager, Asset Manager, Contracts Manager, Acquisition Manager, Commercial Manager, Commissioning Manager, Materials Manager, etc.
Procurement and Supply Chain Education encompasses both academic and professional qualifications and is a lifelong learning journey as it is all about agility and responding to market needs in the shortest time possible. Hence, both personal and organizational performances are enhanced!