A SmartProcurement news report on IPSA / CIPS 2007 Pan African Conference

 (Seated from left to right: Keith Trower (Deputy CEO CIPS), Karen van Vuuren (Chairperon IPSA) and Kraai van Kraaienberg (CEO IPSA)

 The Institute of Procurement & Supply of South Africa (IPSA) and the Chartered Inistitute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) hosted and facilitated a global convergence of top minds at its 2007 Pan African Conference held in Gauteng, South Africa on the 15th + 16th May 2007.

 The 426 delegates represented all facets of PSM, from both the private and public segments and across all sectors of the national economy. They gathered to listen, learn, share and exchange thoughts in a high powered environment. No one (we met) was disappointed.

The audience was in all respects Pan-African. Approximately 65% came from South Africa and 35% from neighbors to the North of us – particularly Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Lesotho, Swaziland & Zimbabwe. The conference was also attended by 11 CIPS Branch Chairmen as well as the Council Representatives for Africa, Dr. Bola Afolabi & Ms Sophie Dimbungu were also present.

Recently appointed IPSA Chairperson, Karen van Vuuren, CPO of Transnet, energized the gathering with a warm welcome to delegates and especially to the visitors from Europe and those from all corners of Africa – representations were there from Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. She also welcomed the substantial delegation from CIPS (The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply) in the UK, who where headed up by Deputy CEO Keith Trower, Director Chris Gallagher and Ms Sheila White, Manager Membership Services.

She then introduced the Honorable Minister of Public Enterprises, the well known and well liked Mr. Alec Irwin, who delivered the keynote address. He elaborated on the intended (and major) impact of his department’s Competitive Supplier Development Programme (CSDP).

“It is imperative that we in the private sector acknowledge with pride, the tremendous leadership and example that the government and state departments and, organs of state have taken in dramatically transforming the way in which South Africa presently goes about the Procurement & Purchasing of goods and services.”

After the coffee break the delegates returned for the first of 16 high calibre papers in keeping with the world class standards for which South Africa is now globally acknowledged to follow and apply. In the field of Purchasing and Supply Management, South Africa is right up front with the leaders in this cutting edge basket of business disciplines as Nat Maelane CPO SA Post Office illlustrated.

For those who missed out on the opportunity to attend this highlight on the P&SM calendar, it’s in their interests to beg or borrow a copy of the conference CD which IPSA supplied to all delegates. It is a library of some extremely useful and valuable I.P.! To avoid infringing on IPSA’s copyright, we suggest you get hold of the IPSA CE, Mr Kraai van Kraaienburg, and get his permission.

And just so that you all appreciate the extent of what was covered in this inspiring two day event, we list for you the authors/presenters and their papers at the foot-end of this report.

Editor’s note: IPSA are to be congratulated on their conference format – selected keynote papers delivered to all delegates, in plenary session followed by two streams. In this manner they covered the widest possible spectrum of subjects and topics in the available time. Their experience in facilitating top class ‘knowledge exchange’ shines through!!

Regrettably the SmartProcurement News team-were unable to sit in on all the papers. We nevertheless share with you some rich nuggets we picked up along the way:

   “We should all be doing the same thing – strategic sourcing and, encourage all our people to increase their skills.”

In a light hearted vein, guess which global corporation this quote applies to?

·      The order intake value is approximately One Billion Euros (or bigger than the GDP of 48 African Countries).”

·        “Whatever money you don’t have to spend, you don’t have to earn!

Siemar Proebstl, CEO of Siemens

·        “If we are going to build sustainable winnin
g organizations, then foremost, focus on your people and keep developing your skills pool”

Francois Naude, Quadrem TradeWorld 

·       “People matter most.” And “You can double the PSM contribution (to your company or organization) by empowering your personnel.”

Dr. Shrey Viranna, Associate Principal of McKinsey and Company

·        “After strategy and putting tactics in place, you’ve got to sharpen the pencil and get down to operations.”

Neels Botha, Head Procurement Shared Services,

·        “Here is a simple definition of ‘negotiation’: It’s the process through which parties move from initially divergent positions to a point where agreement may be reached.”

Simon Steele, CEO of PMMS North America

·        “The sourcing of logistic services offers procurement professionals the perfect opportunity to impact the whole organizations value chain and is a big driver of sustainable competitive edge.”

Cobus Russouw, CEO of Volition

·        “Procurement personnel must be good business people and good marketers, to sell the business case of a specialized commodity. They must also know ‘PRO’ on how to develop a good relationship with finance. And manage outsourcing contracts ‘as you would your own costs’.”

Paula Gilbert, Head of UK Purchasing of Astra Zeneca

·        “Have we got it right, or is there another business model out there that works better? The journey is never over, at best you hand over the baton.”

Derek McGinley, Head of Commercial Operations of ISTAR UK,

·        “In the UK most Government Departments use Purchasing Cards with great success. So why not here? It’s because (our) public sector work in silos and can’t get down to process. The SA Public Service needs to get guidelines on how to implement spend tracking.”

Karen van Vuuren, CPO of transnet 

·         “We easily talk about (credit) card abuse. But remember, people abuse the policy – not the instrument of that policy. So it’s the people who abuse the system, not the card. All you need is to get a contract in place when you hand over a Purchasing Card to a user. That way you get their undertaking and commitment.”

Julian Curtiss, Head of Commercial Card and Corporate Payment Solutions of ABSA Bank

·        “Beware (and take care) of your HR. It’s a mobile market out there. People move quickly.”

Nat Maelane, Group Executive, Supply Chain Management, SA Post Office Ltd.

·        “On the one hand there’s a ‘price pressure’ to reduce the cost of doing business with Transet. On the other hand there’s a tremendous BEE pressure on Transnet. It’s all very complex.”

Jan Weydringer, Senior Associate of McKinsey and Company

Finally we congratulate Kraai van Kraaienberg, the CEO of IPSA, on the tremendous efficiency and hospitality everyone we met enjoyed at this truly Pan African conference.

IPSA’s success is no small measure due to the inspiration, experience and friendliness of the ‘girls behind the scenes’. So, congratulations also to Selenta and her team from the conference organizers, Provision Marketing.

As the largest representative organization of the Procurement & Supply Management Profession in South Africa, IPSA attracted support from the leading commercial players in this highly specialist and technologically wired market. Headed up by ABSA Corporate Payment Solutions (the leading Purchasing Card issue), the business end of P&SM was co-sponsored by:


Corporate Executive Board/Procurement Strategy Council (Washington)
Quadrem TradeWorld
Volition Consulting Services

Exhibitors were:

MWEB CommerceZone
Quadrem Tradeworld
Tech-Pro Personnel

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