Do we need a global standard for procurement?

Blog | February 27, 2015

CIPS Global Standard for Procurement and SupplyDoes everyone in your organisation understand what procurement does? Do they know what the role and responsibilities of a procurement manager are? Do your procurement managers have the right skills for the types of procurement they’re managing?

Last year CIPS launched the Global Standard for Procurement and Supply, offering a yardstick for measuring individuals’ and organisations’ procurement knowledge and capabilities. The Standard is truly a worldwide one – relevant to procurement within all sectors, industries and locations, and to procurement professionals at all levels. It even acts as a reference for non-procurement specialists commonly tasked with procurement duties within SMEs.

CIPS Global Standard for Procurement and Supply

Originally downloadable as a PDF manual, more recently an interactive tool has been launched. CIPS’ guide looks set to become the global standard for procurement professionals as well as procurement’s next generation.

The Standard shows expectations and development aims for each stage of procurement career development and each phase of the procurement process. Knowledge and capability expectations are displayed, and the interactive tool’s interface makes drilling down to find specific information simple.

Development parameters for the individual

The Standard allows professionals to easily identify their current career level within procurement. From there, knowledge growth and capability development required for career progression becomes clear.

The benefit of the Standard for professionals is that they can be more confident in evidencing their skills against recognised benchmarks in appraisal or interview situations. It also provides a common platform for job specifications and a basis for understanding the roles of others in the process.

Guidance for the organisation

From a departmental perspective, the Standard enables organisations to understand ‘what good looks like’ in procurement. It also forms a basis for identifying how it to structure and operate its procurement function. Potential gaps in knowledge and personnel can be highlighted.

In terms of adapting a procurement function to optimise its effectiveness, the departmental and individual expectations provided help to clarify where upskilling might be needed.

Perhaps the most useful feature is that the Standard gives organisations the ability to measure its procurement employees against set knowledge and proficiency requirements. These expectations can be used within appraisals, in professional development, in job specifications and in evaluating candidates’ abilities.

Resources and professional development

Drilling down using the interactive tool, ‘segments’ specified knowledge and capability requirements are displayed based on career level and procurement theme selections. These can then be downloaded as PDFs for future reference.

Sample case studies and example job designs are available and act as a guide for individual or team development. These aids use more conversational language and suggest action points to encourage progress. Within each segment links to further CIPS knowledge are provided, acting as a portal to an enormous additional resource library.

It’s fair to say that the Standard offers a wealth of actionable information and a valuable benchmarking tool for the future development of procurement talent and of the procurement discipline as a whole. You can access it here: