Procurement Network interviewed Sam Achampong, Regional Director, CIPS Middle East & North Africa (MENA).
Sam is a procurement professional with extensive experience in Procurement and Supply Chain management across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. He has held Senior Procurement and Strategic Sourcing roles for organisations such as Majid Al Futtaim, Abu Dhabi Municipality and Nakheel in the Middle East; MTN across Africa; and Land Securities in the UK. An active member of the procurement fraternity in the MENA region, Sam is Regional Director of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) for the Middle East & North Africa Region. He holds a Masters Degree in International Procurement from the University of Glamorgan (Wales), MSc in Facilities Management from the University of Westminster (England) and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.
He is a regular speaker at industry events and an advocate for professional standards in procurement and supply management.
How important is education for procurement industry today?
Education, and the attainment of it is fundamental to the continued relevance and credibility of the procurement industry. Unlike ‘licensed’ professions such as Law or Accountancy there are no mandatory educational requirements for procurement currently. This has in some cases led to procurement being a function where those not qualified in other areas have ended up.
In addition to the potential credibility gap, continuous personal and professional development in procurement practice is essential to ensure that practitioners are able to remain relevant and effective in the ever changing global business environment as well as the effects of new technologies on procurement and business in general.
Do you think procurement education fully uses modern technical potential for knowledge accumulation and sharing? What would you change?
I will comment on the CIPS Global Standard which is the competency framework from which the CIPS curriculum is derived.
The framework is updated annually to ensure that advances in all aspects of procurement and supply practice are reflected in the knowledge we share with the wider community.
In the area if technology as an example, this section is regularly appraised to reflect topics such as The Impact of ERP systems and The Use of Integration Tools in systems technology, including cloud.
What role can case studies play in teaching procurement and supply chain management?
Case studies are vital in contextualising any training that is being delivered. Case studies bring theory into practice and allow others to apply them in their own environments appropriately. As an example, a case study which explains the successful implementation of category management in a Telecoms company will have enough content to ensure that the reader or student can see where this would be relevant or not within their own industry as opposed to taking a blanket approach based on a merely academic case study.
What is the specificity of MENA region when it comes to applying the knowledge CIPS gives?
The MENA region is an area of significant potential and growth. As a hub, it already attracts some of the largest multinationals in the world and has some very good examples of leading and exceptional procurement practice and innovation. CIPS in MENA is working with many organisations to implement continuous professional development programmes amongst their staff as well as initiatives to review existing policy, processes and procedures and align them with leading organisations worldwide.
In addition to our community of 120,000 globally, we have seen year on year membership growth of 10-15% since we opened our regional office in Dubai in 2011. In addition we now have 6 regional branches which are managed on a volunteer basis by our members in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah, Cairo and Doha. We host regular networking and thought leadership events in these cities to ensure that there is a regular forum for thought leadership and ideas to be shared.
What would be your message to current procurement students?
My message would be to Build your personal Procurement Brand. Continue to make yourself relevant by focusing not just on your commercial skills but your Stakeholder Management and interpersonal attributes. And keep your knowledge of procurement and the business environment current, to ensure that you remain relevant in a constantly changing world.