Is Your Supply Chain Certified? It Should Be

By Kerry Doyle

People in your organization are excellent. They know their jobs inside and out. Some are even experts who run teams that are truly benchmark.

Turns out, that’s a big problem.

It’s a problem if you don’t have a system in place where people and teams can share knowledge, insights, or best practices. To be certain, everyone has a repository of data and documents that people on particular teams can  access, but none of those repositories are connected. The result: Everyone has their own policies and procedures, and everyone has reinvented the wheel dozens of times over.

Carmela King
Carmala King, manager for Business Process Management and Sustainability in Xerox’s Global Purchasing group

“We learned that about ourselves when we first sought certification from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply in 2009,” Carmala King, manager for Business Process Management and Sustainability in Xerox’s Global Purchasing group. “We learned many other things too. Suffice it to say, this certification helped Xerox become a better company.”

In general, the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) promotes and develops standards related to professional skill, ability and integrity among all members of an organization involved in supply chain management. This certific

ation enables companies to communicate key tenets of their processes, methodologies, core beliefs and ethical standards; and to do it effectively on a national or global scale.

Xerox Achieves CIPS’ Highest Level
The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply has awarded its Platinum-level to Xerox, its highest certification. Learn more.

The benefit impacts the customers, who now have a firm set of expectations when engaging with a CIPS-certified company. In order to achieve this level of accreditation and proficiency, it’s useful for current procurement managers to know what elements should be in place to be compliant.

“A key goal is for every level of a company to remain consistent,” said Bob Davis, vice president of Global Business Systems at Xerox. “Though it may seem counter-intuitive, without consistency and standardization, it becomes difficult to provide the variability that’s required to meet the needs of a range of customers, which can include small- and medium-sized businesses as well as large enterprises.”

Bob Davis
Bob Davis, vice president of Global Business Systems at Xerox

The Role of Central Governance

Defining a governance structure as well as demonstrating a commitment to govern are key first steps in defining your procurement process and execution. Central governance achieves a number of goals:

First, it allows you to attest back to CIPS that your processes are consistent, ethical, measured and align with predetermined expectations of those measurements. That is, you know the quantifiable outcomes ahead of time because you’ve standardized.

Standardization means that the same steps or processes are performed at every level of an organization. The resulting uniformity enables procurement processes to be executed more easily, whether on a regional, national or global scale. With a single purchasing environment, a workforce can focus more on procurement, increasing the value proposition for customers.

For example, modernizing the procurement process has enabled Xerox to standardize its infrastructure, which allowed the company to leave behind old processes that were designed around renting machine-level, graphic communications equipment to customers.  “Xerox has steadily moved toward standardization of its infrastructure, which was once made up of many diverse systems,” Davis states.

Ultimately, transitioning to a unified environment ensures several outcomes. These include:

  • Increased organizational flexibility.
  • Improved differentiation of services.
  • Better service provisioning.
  • More accurate service charges.

Today, Xerox focuses on fulfilling the needs of customers across a whole array of services, software, consulting and technology. It’s a flexible, cost-efficient model that relies on standardization and central governance, the key components for CIPS certification and for streamlining supply chain management.

As procurement leaders explore the requirements for achieving CIPS compliance, they must recognize the importance of centralizing and governing the right processes. “CIPS certification allows you to say to customers: ‘When you engage us, this is what we will do.’ You have to choose that you’re going to govern that way,” says Davis. Only then will companies be able to create automation around those processes, further increasing the potential for success.

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