Here's How CIPS is Championing Diversity in Supply Chain Management

brought to you by WBR Insights

With the treatment of women in the workplace finally becoming a globally-recognized issue, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) is making the case for how diversity in supply chain management makes things better for everyone.

Based in the United Kingdom, CIPS was founded to be a regulatory professional body for the supply chain industry. Today, the organization has over 115,000 members, offices in many countries around the globe, and a partnership with the US-based Institute for Supply Chain Management.

CIPS' role is to provide professional assistance for its members, and promote excellence and good practice across the supply chain industry. The organization also offers a qualifications program where supply chain professionals can work towards certification in many facets of the procurement and supply business. CIPS also publishes Supply Management - a monthly magazine designed to inform its readers about the latest news in the industry.

With its role as a professional body for the industry, CIPS has a responsibility to push for greater fairness and diversity in supply chain management.

Supply Chain Insights

One of the advantages of CIPS' position as a regulatory body is that it can draw information and insights from professionals in all corners of the supply chain industry. 2017 research by Supply Chain Insights found a concerning lack of diversity in supply chain management roles.

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According to the research, only 28% of respondents were female. The lack of diversity goes beyond gender as well, with 57% of supply chain managers identifying as Caucasian. The largest ethnic grouping aside from Caucasians in the survey were Asian/ Pacific Islanders, who accounted for 23% of responses. Only 7% of respondents identified as Hispanics or Latinos, and only 5% as African-American or Black. Another 5% classified themselves as "other", and another 5% preferred not to say.

Speaking to CIPS, report author and Founder of Supply Chain Insights Lora Cecere said, "Sadly, diversity in the profession remains an issue. I foolishly thought we had made more progress. supply chain management can be just as appealing and satisfying to women as men, but the profession is failing to educate young women about it as a career."

A Time to Embrace Diversity in Supply Chain Management

Embracing diversity in the supply chain industry not only benefits society, but also has a direct and positive impact on how business is carried out. Across the procurement industry, businesses which have strived to bring a diverse group of professionals together - whether that diversity is a product of differing cultures, genders, and/or life experiences - find that ongoing conversations become much richer. Therefore, a better range and better quality of ideas and viewpoints can be brought to the table with a non-homogenized supply chain management team.

Speaking at the 2017 CIPS Annual Conference, Justin Lambert, Head of Procurement at Roche, said, "There is still a focus on diversity in the workplace, but we need to diversify supply chains the right way. Inclusive business practices ensure moral and economic benefits of managing the social impact of the supply chain, which is vital for a business. The next generation, Generation Alpha, are the ones who had the smartphone attached from birth. And they want to work for companies that have good credentials."

Millennials entering the workforce today are placing a much greater focus on the sorts of companies they are willing to work for. Factors such ethics, environmental awareness, and diversity are at the top of their list of priorities. Millennials are taking over the workforce, so supply chain organizations which want to attract the top talent currently graduating from our universities are going to need to make sure their values align - and that means embracing diversity.

Final Thoughts

It's clear CIPS is using its position as a professional body to champion diversity in supply chain management. Whether through its popular conferences or its magazine articles, CPS recognize the important role a diverse workforce will play in the future of the industry.

The final word goes to Lucy Harding, Head of Procurement and Supply Chain Practice at Odgers Berndtson, speaking at a CIPS Women in Procurement leadership steering group.

"There is an appetite for this, and organizations and society are demanding it, so there is no better time to stop talking and start putting some of these things into action."

You can hear CIPS' Canada Branch Chair, Wael Safwat speak at ProcureCon Canada 2018 in April, at the Hyatt Regency Toronto, Ontario.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.