Analysis: GRACE MKOKWEZA
PROCUREMENT plays an important role in an economy of any country, thus supply chain management is the centre of income and expenditure of a government system.
In this term of office where at least 70 percent of government resources are utilised by procurement professionals, there is need to embark on good governance, good ethical behaviour and a good practice to see to it that procurement, being the centre of economy equilibrium, is well balanced.
Procurement has a vital role to play for any successful development to occur. Development starts with a good mind, entrepreneurial skills which can yield in resource actualisation and providing a good governance system that can promote employment to the growing generation.
For any success of a finished product, there is supposed to be a good initiation process anchored on procurement.
There is need for a good economy that provides a variety of learning and ready to use skills and roles to improve society and economic prosperity of a nation.
Babs Omotowa once said: “As the profession’s status improves in both the public and private sectors, it is critical to use this influence and power for positive ends.’’
Ensure value for money
Spending power, the importance of making the most of budgets and buying on whole life cost is vital. The procurement function must be involved right from the defining of the need and specification as lots of value is lost if procurement is involved late.
Develop local capacity employment
Affirmative action by the procurement profession is important to ensure that local capacities are created and developed through different fora like interaction with suppliers holding successful workshops and trainings. Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) and Zambia Institute of Purchasing and Supply (ZIPS) are relevant bodies which ensure ethics and compliance are adhered to and standards are met considering the trainings of contractors and suppliers through education and compliance in a quest of favouring equity. This development will identify and promote employment, especially considering millions of people in developing countries are still unemployed.
Procurement is in a great position to develop new ideas because of its close relationships with suppliers and different stakeholders.
Be role models of ethics and transparency
Far too often we witness the absence of oversight and accountability. In some cases, contracts are awarded without competition. Procurement should expose and address ethical breaches in the supply chain and develop systems to prevent them.
Procurement should encourage and support improvements in environmental, social and economic sustainability. There should be a balance between economic and social development, as well as environmental protection, and business needs.
A good approach to procurement is a good system that helps one make informed buying decisions that will enhance and help in building a greater understanding of the impact to the bottom line and that makes cost reduction initiatives the strongest argument in favour of a good procurement system and a good economy.
In conclusion, purchasing professionals have a wide variety of skills, including industrial knowledge, negotiation skills, entrepreneurial skills and interpersonal skills that will enhance procurement systems that will mark a centre of a good economy.
The author is Zambia Institute of Purchasing and Supply (ZIPS) Northern Province Chapter chairperson.
Analysis: GRACE MKOKWEZA