The National Association of Purchasing Managers (NAPM) is considering
changing its title because the purchasing profession "has evolved to strategic,
value-adding supply chain management. "NAPM seeks to recognize this evolution
through a change in the name to the Institute for Supply Management Preparing
Purchasing and Supply Professions for the Future" according to the February
2001 issue of Purchasing Today, (www.NAPM.org).
the "Strategies & Solutions" column the name change is raised in the context
of how over time the words used to refer to functions change, resulting
in miscommunication. The column contains a set of discussions that "explain
confusing terms that when used no longer have to leave a question mark
in the mind of a supply manager."
James F. Dowling, vice president for Alignment Consulting Practice, is
quoted in the column under "Value and Its Many Definitions."
F. Dowling, vice president for Alignment Consulting Practice in Woburn,
Massachusetts, states, "Value is ... realizing a corporate vision and
achieving business results. In some cases, value will be derived from
financial return and in others, it will be derived from how it enhances
corporate culture." Dowling's organization asks clients to consider, "what
will be different in the way that people work or what they produce after
all of the capabilities of the investment have been realized?" Value,
then is "quantifying the impact of such change in terms of reduced risk,
time, or cost in achieving objectives."
purchasing, as so many other areas, it is essential to keep up with change,
whether it is in the definitions of the words used or developments in
management and processes.
proposed name change represents more than a new coat of paint over the
venerable NAPM. Purchasing managers are no longer perceived as playing
a supporting role to manufacturing, negotiating contracts and transacting
purchases, but are now expected to factor strategic considerations such
as product life expectancy, product design, logistics, and long term corporate
goals into their decisions. This evolution is a natural consequence of
the value process, which ultimately seeks to reduce costs and maximize
purchasing managers are a host of new software technologies, such as supply
chain management, enterprise profit optimization, digital marketplaces,
and others, not to mention organizations like RosettaNet and VICS (Voluntary
Interindustry Commerce Standards) that provide forums where participants
can design common business procedures and transactions.
Procurement Professionals extend their involvement and influence further
into their companies and further out through the supply chain, they will
bring disciplines and judgement to areas that formerly declared and steadfastly
held their independence from the bureaucracy of The Purchasing Department.
Changing the name of the world's most frequently quoted procurement organization
from NAPM to ISM will certainly have an impact on
some people but more importantly, the changing role of Purchasing Manager
to Supply Professional will recognize the need to apply due diligence
and proactive development of supply chain development.
has recognized several Enabling Organizations in companies including Procurement,
Human Resources, Information Systems and Finance to be central to business
performance. We have worked hard to include the needs and potential contributions
of these groups in our analysis of information technology vendors and
products and to involve them in every information technology selection
that we guide.
hardware, software, and services suppliers do not want the additional
complexity that these Enabling Organizations bring to the process of making
a deal; but with the recognition of the need for their involvement and
NAPM's efforts to develop the skills of those professionals the likelihood
of increased value-added involvement by Procurement Professional increases.
Procurement Professionals should develop, promote and manage the information
technology procurement process to accelerate its progress, broaden its
focus and assure that procurement due diligence is applied to these costly
and risky investments.
through professional magazines, news items, advertising brochures, and
vendor web sites can tell you what is happening, but they won't help you
figure out what the impact of developments are in your business environment,
particularly when you are looking for specific solutions. You need unbiased
evaluations of products and vendors, such as those expressed in TEC articles.
Professionals can also benefit from 'general information sites' such as:
should seek out the Procurement Professionals at their customer and prospect
sites and build a relationship before an active sales engagement commences
to avoid unplanned delays that negatively affect all parties. Vendors
should also consider how they will provide and prove the kind of information
that Procurement Professionals will want as they apply the same levels
of consideration as they do for other capital investments.
Dowling regularly contributes management articles for the TEC Executive
View Research Channel. Others also contribute tutorials on Supply Chain
Management and evaluate major vendors in depth.
of the articles of particular interest to the Purchasing Community include:
and more can be found in the TEC Research Channels.