Achieve Procurement Excellence under UK’s Updated Legislation with Delta

Procurement excellence isn’t a trendy buzzword that will fizzle out over time. No, it’s a quality standard that procurement professionals want to achieve to not only improve their operations but also to demonstrate their skills to the broader government procurement profession.

There are several definitions, depending on who you ask, but essentially, procurement excellence is:

Meeting the C-suite’s procurement expectations through risk management, enhanced competitiveness, and collaboration between invested parties that align procurement goals with business objectives, and then achieve the objectives.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at excellence in procurement, including the role Procurement Centres of Excellence play in developing procurement strategies and how CIPS qualifications and certifications increase your trustworthiness and help you stand above other procurement and supply professionals.

Procurement Excellence Qualifications & Standards

CIPS (the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply) is a professional body that plays a role in developing and maintaining procurement and supply standards globally. The organisation is highly respected. In fact, many industry professionals consider CIPS qualifications, membership, and awards three of the most influential factors in procurement.

There are five CIPS qualification levels

Interestingly, the levels start at level two.

·        CIPS Level 2 Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations

·        CIPS Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations

·        CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply

·        CIPS Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply

·        CIPS Level 6 Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply

CIPS Procurement Excellence Programme

The CIPS Procurement Excellence Programme analyses your procurement and supply chain functions on two levels.

1) Standard: What you do

2) Advanced: How well it’s done

The advanced standard comprises three levels:

·        Silver

·        Gold

·        Platinum

Each level is a step up from the one before, as it indicates greater brand power (influence), particularly regarding the rate of performance progression and performance value.

In addition to analysing improved performance, the programme also reveals opportunities that, if taken, can increase the internal value of ramped-up procurement. This can be very motivating which leads to more productivity, greater loyalty, innovation, and a commitment to maintain high standards in business practices.

The CIPS programme comes with several benefits for procurement professionals.

  • Global recognition.
  • A competitive advantage over the best of the best in the procurement and supply profession.
  • International influence as a thought leader in procurement strategies and performance.
  • Engagement with other senior procurement professionals, thought leaders, suppliers, and, importantly, your procurement team.
  • New ideas and continuous professional development ensure your place as a leading body in procurement.
  • Increased brand awareness, enhanced reputation, and more opportunities to increase your reach through new relationships, networks, and leading industry events – especially if you’re invited to be a guest speaker.

What is a Procurement Centre of Excellence (CoE)?

A centre of procurement excellence is made up of an internal team of procurement and supply specialists who are dedicated to maintaining the organisation’s status as an industry leader.

Think of upper-level management combined with a think tank. An organisation’s CoE also plays an advisory role to ensure the successful implementation of new technology, improved methods, or new ideas to drive the organisation and the industry forward.

The CoE collaborates with the different teams in the organisation that make some contribution to supply chains, like risk managers and compliance officers.

Note: CoEs aren’t the sole domain of the chartered institute. Any purchasing and supply organisation can create procurement teams to research, develop, and implement cutting-edge purchasing and supply strategies.

Additional responsibilities include:

  • Knowledge sharing, within and without the organisation.
  • Optimising procurement processes and operations to boost purchasing and supply chain management.
  • Enabling innovation and promoting continuous improvement, as well as their own professional development.
  • Establishing analytics, performance metrics, and KPIs to measure success in the public purchasing profession.

What goes into a Procurement Centre of Excellence?

Not all procurement organisations need a Centre of Excellence, but those who feel that a CoE will deliver the results they’re looking for must bear the following in mind:

1) What are the organisation’s goals?

Will a CoE help reach the goals faster or come up with new, innovative solutions for procurement processes that will move the goalposts?

2) The CoE can’t rest on its laurels.

There is always more to learn, more to understand, more to teach, more to improve, and more ways to grow. Procurement teams must conduct vital academic research that leads to tangible benefits for their organisations.

This requires communication, coordination, collaboration, and implementation of new strategies, for example, the risk management strategy or supplier assessment strategies.

3) AI is crucial for development.

AI stopped being a ‘nice to have’ a long time ago. It’s a game changer, considered by some in the purchasing profession to revolutionise the procurement framework.

In addition to the automation of several procurement tasks, AI can also use data to provide real-time insights for informed decision-making, analyse procurement trends, forecast market performance, and direct attention to future opportunities just waiting to be taken advantage of.

Some advanced AI and Machine Learning capabilities can even study negotiation tactics and suggest counter-arguments for specific suppliers.

4) Can the organisation afford the CoE?

Think tanks don’t come cheap. They need the right people with the right skills, as well as the latest tools, and the most up to date technology to put their innovations and strategies into practice.

Remember CoEs aren’t forever. You only need to keep the team going for as long as you need it, be it three months, a year, or five years.

5) Have a governance structure in place.

It’s important to define roles, responsibilities, and leadership among team members. This avoids conflict, confusion, inertia, and personal agendas.

6) Collaboration delivers the best results.

Collaboration with suppliers whose areas of expertise complement your services facilitates innovation and optimises things like product development and problem-solving. Mutual trust and respect go a long way toward establishing relationships with long-term value.

Procurement & Supply Chain Awards

We’ve often said that the purchasing profession is highly competitive. This is borne out by the number of coveted global procurement excellence awards.

According to Procurement Magazine, some of the top international procurement awards include:

  • ISM 30 Under 30 Program: A great award that showcases the most promising up-and-coming procurement specialists.
  • Women in Supply Chain Award: The award was launched by Supply & Demand Chain Executive in 2019 to honour women who are leading players on the procurement stage.
  • Supply Chain & Procurement Awards: The awards celebrate those who have the best strategic approach to procurement and supply operations.
  • European Innovation Procurement Awards: This applies to public and private sector procurement specialists who are becoming known for their skills, expertise, and innovation in the industry.
  • Gartner Power of the Profession™ Supply Chain Awards: Gartner recognises innovation and inspiration in the supply. The difference between Gartner and other international awards is that Gartner is community-driven.
  • GO Excellence in Public Procurement Awards: Celebrates leading public sector organisations in the UK.
    UK National GO Awards recognise best practices and achievements by any company/organisation that plays a role in public sector purchasing and supply.
  • CIPS Excellence in Procurement Awards: The CIPS awards honour the best purchasing teams in the industry – the ones that set the standards for excellence.

Constructing Procurement Excellence

Constructing is one of the sectors that is embracing procurement excellence. Constructing excellence in procurement has the potential to revitalise the industry, making it more productive and sustainable.

One of the ways to achieve excellence is to follow the public sector’s example and place more emphasis on value rather than price. The aim is to adopt value-based procurement models that ensure fairness and transparency along the supply chain and through the procurement lifecycle.

Collaboration is also a key feature of Constructing Excellence; collaboration through knowledge sharing, joint problem solving, and shared risk to face today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.

The Gold Standard

Towards the end of 2023, Constructing Excellence joined forces with Kings College London and launched an independent verification scheme – Constructing the Gold Standard. The Standard supports value-based models for construction projects, which also contribute to net zero goals.

The scheme establishes new quality management criteria to review public procurement frameworks and drive the improvement of existing high operational standards.

Don’t underestimate the Gold Standard. It’s already played a key role in the government’s policy on construction purchasing and supply. For example, it looks to promote social value, sustainability, and a safer, collaborative approach to construction projects.

Gold Standard benefits

Some of the most important benefits of the Gold Standard include:

  • Higher standards of building safety and efficiency
  • More environmentally-friendly construction practices
  • Increased use of digital technology to drive innovation
  • Tangible, long-term value for local communities
  • Ongoing development, innovation, and collaboration with associated parties

Delta eSourcing Is Your Guide To Procurement Excellence

Don’t worry if Procurement Excellence sounds a bit like a foreign language. Delta eSourcing can guide you through the whole concept, from Procurement Excellence (CIPS) qualifications and best practices to awards, CoEs, and the global standard in the construction industry.

We have decades of experience navigating the UK’s public procurement market, during which time we’ve developed innovative technology and honed our services to provide you with everything you need to succeed in purchasing and supply management.

Our tools streamline all procurement-related functions, allowing you to focus more on key tasks and overall performance.

Contact us to find out how we can help you achieve procurement excellence. Book a free demo and you’ll see how we can tailor our services to meet your unique needs.

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