studentiStock_000005639117SmallProcurement departments are knee-deep in corporate compliance. As a result, reference checking has become a secondary task. To make matters worse, there seems to be confusion over certification and qualification. Helen Brewer investigates the danger this poses.

After his presentation entitled ‘Purchasing Managers’ Skill Requirements for the Future’, a knowledgeable professor, who for a number of years headed up the procurement section of a large government department within the city of London, was asked a thought-provoking question. An audience member wanted to know what dilemmas procurement departments are faced with regarding the compiling of a preferred supplier list for the events management industry.

I will get to his answer a bit later. But first, here are The MICE Academy’s thoughts on the matter.
Procurement departments are faced with corporate compliance of various supplier registrations of company, VAT, BEE and the like, hence actual reference-checking abilities become secondary.
Even though references could be checked, the manner in which substantiation is determined is an equally vague notion. It also does not help when the differences between a certification and qualification process are not understood.

Take for instance the result of a senior manager insisting on a totally BEE company without any real determination of ability. It can prove disastrous as well as a highly expensive repair and maintenance task thereafter.



Back to our knowledgeable professor. His reply, and indeed a real answer to this vexing issue, is worthy of quoting and noting for your future reference: “Similar to any project or product for that matter, all events differ in their requirement and application, hence procurement should have an effective checklist for the type of event together with the objectives for compliance, both generic and specific. Thereafter the abilities of the supplier/service should be matched with proof of certification/qualification including the five Ms ((mannering, managing, monitoring, mediating and maintaining) which are effectively verifiable through a solid and reliable external source on a regular basis for this ever-changing industry of suppliers and services”.

Admittedly the preferred supplier list may prove lengthier than usual; yet duly categorised, the overall result coupled with higher standards ensuring credibility will lead to successful selection and the vexing challenges would be overcome.

Helen Brewer is a director of the MICE Academy. She has been involved in the MICE industry for over 35 years and has immense knowledge and experience to assist with best practice.