As Sam Covell says in her final column: “It wasn’t until I was looking for the procurement angle to topical issues that I appreciated how much was relevant.” She goes on to reveal this new perspective has convinced her procurement has been key this year as an essential skill for all organisations to meet challenges confidently.
And these examples are easy to spot. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which destroyed thousands of lives, also had far-reaching consequences for businesses, from car companies to buyers at the BBC seeking broadcasting tape. And the automotive sector was struck once again with the recent Thai floods, which also hit the electronics industry.
In June, our cover feature explored the inflationary consequences natural disasters, political unrest and poor harvests have on prices and what buyers can do about it. And in May we looked at the impact of merger and acquisition activity. This has increased year on year since 2009 and presents opportunities for buyers to become more involved helping their organisations prepare for, and extract any benefits from, such deals.
We’ve also seen a former supply chain professional rise to the top of tech giant Apple, heard president Obama tackle China on its purchasing practices and repeatedly read about the role of procurement in supporting small and medium-sized businesses, considered vital to country’s economies. And next year all eyes will be on London 2012, so it’s gratifying that the Olympic Delivery Authority picked up the overall prize at this year’s CIPS Supply Management awards for its ground-breaking procurement.
As CIPS CEO David Noble said at this year’s annual conference: “We are in the spotlight like never before. The areas of risk and of the environment have all become very topical.” He said it’s now much easier for procurement to talk to business and political leaders and for them to listen in light of the function’s growing influence.
Long may it continue.