Procurement training and buyer performance

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Buyers are expected to be efficient and effective. Knowledge of the nuts and bolts of procurement acquired from relevant basic qualifications such as the certificates, diplomas and degrees from polytechnics, professional institutions such as CIPS and universities is essential.

PURCHASING & SUPPLY
WITH NYASHA CHIZU

Basic procurement knowledge alone is not complete. The dynamic business environment requires staff to quickly adapt new ways of procurement and acquire latest technologies for their organisations to survive. The need for continuous professional development cannot be overemphasised.

The major transformation observed in the public procurement environment is the revision of procurement laws. The EU has a history of frequent adjustmentsof their laws and the latest revision published this year is barely four years before the last revision.

The UNCITRAL model law, the basis of the State Procurement Board Act was also revised, signifying the dynamic procurement environment. UNCITRAL model law adopted in 2011 now has ten public procurement methods from the four that were the basis of our Procurement Act. There are now provisions for electronic procurement, framework agreements and procurement by way of negotiation, etc.

The private sector ever demands innovative procurement to outdo their competition. Such innovative ideas are not available from the conventional qualifications in procurement that we have mentioned.

CEO expects buyers to acquire more resources whilst managing cashflows. Buyers are expected to open up supply markets and acquire quality goods and services for their organisations to be competitive.

It is therefore important for individuals to choose the basic procurement qualification that one should have given the wide selection of procurement courses. Not all procurement curricular provides the necessary basics of procurement both at all levels mentioned in the beginning. Some procurement qualifications are more advanced and the performance of graduates from with different procurement qualification testifies my assertion.

The choice of the procurement qualification to pursue is left to aspiring individualsgiven the shortcomings of other programmes. Another important element for employers and their employees to consider is the quality of continuous professional development programmes available. Procurement seminars, workshops, conferences, symposiums and trainings are mushrooming at a high rate. The biggest challenge is what value one derives from such activities.

It is therefore critical to assess the programmes in terms of content and the relevance to one’s environment. In addition to content, the providers matter. Apart from qualifications and experience of the presenter, personal achievements in relation to the subject matter are critical.

Continuous professional development programmes are not expected to be limited to theory; they must include practical explanations that can only be delivered by presenters with practical experience.

It is important for school leavers to make the right choice of the procurement qualification that they need to pursue. Taking time to go through newspaper adverts assessing the qualifications demanded for the job one aspires may help.

It is also helpful to search on the Internet or ask colleagues in employment for professional advice. On the other end, employers need to assess the value they derive from mushrooming continuous development programmes before they sign off their employees to attend. In these economically difficult times, it is also necessary to sharpen staff skills through training for businesses to survive.

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  3. The CIPS board should be more active in Zimbabwe than what it is currently doing.It has good procurement ethics on paper and ways should be found of disseminating these, especially to government institutions.

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