Tools for Professional Excellence

A look at how professional certification is bringing benefits to more than just the individual supply chain executive


Explaining further, Dominick says that he believes it is the job of the procurement leader within an organization to act as the interface between the company's senior management and the rank-and-file, helping to communicate the enterprise's strategic goals to the staff and ensuring that the staff's performance supports those goals. However, all too often, when something goes awry in the supply chain, the staff sends the problem up the chain of command for resolution rather than addressing the issue themselves. "Instead of the buyers or the purchasing agents handling it and coming up with their own solutions, they often get their managers involved to make the phone calls, talk with the suppliers or identify alternate sources of supply," Dominick says. "A lot gets upwardly delegated, and that really detracts from the leaders' ability to focus on what upper management's vision is, communicate that down to the buyer and establish processes that support senior management's decisions."

The first two Palomar Pomerado staff enrolled in the SPSM Certification Program in November 2005 and completed their SPSM certification in July, and additional team members currently are enrolled in the training. Sas says that eventually he would like to put all his purchasing staff through the program. His department has what Sas describes as "pretty aggressive accountability," but he nevertheless believes that it will take time before the benefits of the certification become evident. He says that he will be looking for benefits brought to the health system's bottom line in the form of hard-dollar savings, but he will also be looking at the "soft savings" that a more self-motivated and self-directed staff will provide. In addition, Sas is counting on the certification to lead to better staff morale and increased retention over the long-term.

Asked whether by providing his staff with additional training and increasing their "market value" as supply chain team members, he might, inadvertently, make these same staff more attractive for other enterprises, Sas says that one of his goals in managing his organization is to ensure that his staff have room to grow within the function so that they can continue to contribute to the health system over the long-term. "I work to provide opportunities here so that people will view it as a place where they can grow," he says. Providing professional training and certification, Sas concludes, is one way to ensure that the staff members continue to grow within Palomar Pomerado rather than taking their on-the-job experience elsewhere.


SIDEBARS

Why Certify?

You and your staff are already running lean, and everyone has plenty to keep them busy. So why seek certification for your staff or yourself? Charles Dominick, founder and president of Next Level Purchasing, which runs the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) certification program, offers this rationale: "There have been a lot of changes going on in purchasing, and people in purchasing today are doing different things than they did 20 years ago, 10 years ago and even five years ago. Now it's easy to say that I'm qualified because I've been in my job for 20 years, but that's not really an indicator of how skilled I am or how capable I am of delivering great performance. I could be doing the same things that I was doing 20 years ago and doing them just as badly. Certification provides a third-party standard that I am meeting. Certification allows me, as an individual, to know that I am keeping up and that I am meeting those third-party standards. It also gives managers and hiring managers a good understanding of how talented their people are, and it's a way of differentiating two seemingly equal individuals."

Certification Organizations

Organizations offering supply chain certification programs include:


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