CIPS Fellow intends to shake-up the profession

Ronald Mlalazi, Education Manager at Commerce Edge Academy, has become a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS). There are only eight people in Southern Africa who have reached this level of professional recognition.

Ronald chatted to SmartProcurement about the path he followed earning his FCIPS a how he intends putting Procurement and Supply Chain Management on the corporate map.

To be a Fellow of CIPS is a remarkable achievement, there are only in Southern Africa. How long a journey has it been?

It took me close to 10 years from the time I set my mind on becoming a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS).

I enrolled as a CIPS student in 2003. I completed the CIPS Graduate Diploma (level 6) in 18 months.

But my career began in 1998, when I completed a three-year Procurement and Supply Management education programme. My first job in the corporate world was a Purchasing Officer and by that time I had already set my ambitious target.

In 2001, I qualified as a Certified Purchasing Manager with the then Institute of Purchasing and Supply (IPSA).

In 2005 I was accepted as a CIPS member with the MCIPS designation.

In 2006 I was appointed Group Procurement Manager.

I joined Commerce Edge Academy as Education Manager in 2009

What were the milestones or significant achievements that most contributed to you achieving Fellowship of CIPS?

Aside from being qualified, to become a Fellow one must prove one’s contributions to the profession. It’s not all about financial gain, but the desire to see the profession progress.

Apart from assisting CIPS students with their studies, I always made myself available to CIPS branches to serve the procurement community.

I have also written a number of articles on Supply Chain Management, promoting the profession.

What’s next?

Achieving FCIPS is but the beginning of hard work as we all strive to propel this profession to its greater heights.

My goal is to play a catalyst role in the profession earning the respect that it deserves in the corporate world so that up-and-coming stars will choose Supply Chain as a career.

Why did you choose Procurement and Supply Chain? Why did you not become an accountant or an engineer?

Interestingly enough I have a brother who is an accountant and another one who is an engineer! I respect their achievements and professions, but I love Procurement and Supply Chain Management.

I didn’t land in the profession by default, straight from high school. I studied procurement. I sincerely believe, with the right mix of skills, supply chain professionals have a lot to offer to the industry and the community at large through sustainable way of doing business.

What do you think could be done to inform matriculants of Procurement and Supply Chain as a career option?

Matriculants need to be made aware of Procurement and Supply Chain before they’ll choose it. Procurement must be present at career days at high schools and universities. A great deal of awareness could be created by including a short procurement and supply chain topic into the Grade 12 curriculum.

What’s important is that the corporate world needs to acknowledge the value of Supply Chain Management – and in so doing highlight role models in the profession.

Other professions are considered glamorous and well paying, hence the attraction. Matriculants will consider procurement if the job and its rewards are made appealing.

I would like to challenge my fellow colleagues to join hands and correct and safeguard this, as this is a noble and royal profession.

How will your Fellowship benefit the CIPS students studying their qualifications under your tutorship?

Through my guidance, coaching and advice I will continue helping CIPS students to understand that learning and application is imperative if we are to earn the respect of the captains of industry. Business leaders are looking for supply chain people who can hit the road running, with integrity and an ability to advise at the highest levels in the organization.

I encourage students to ensure that their supply chain departments are information centres where CEOs can seek information about commodity prices, alternative sources of supply, substitute materials, spend analysis and supply market information.

Management motto : “It can be done.”

Membership of professional bodies : Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) and The Association for Operations Management of Southern Africa (SAPICS).

What is your vision for P & SM : To see P&SM play a leader role in the Corporate World.

Personal best achievement : FCIPS grade.

The person that has had the biggest influence on your life : My late mother.

The person that has had the biggest influence on your career : My first Purchasing Manager boss. It’s good to get encouragement from colleagues, and among such was Dr Ernst Van Biljon, the Commerce Edge Academy Director and Mr. Kevin Naik, Supply Chain Director; National Treasury.

Person you would most like to meet : Bo Andersson, Group vice-president, global purchasing and supply chain, General Motors, US.

Businessperson who has impressed you most : Gail Klintworth (Unilever SA CEO).

Your favourite South African organisation : MTN.

Your favourite global organisation : Unilever.

Your philosophy about life : Always have a vision, and strive to leave a legacy, “Where there is no vision, people perish”.

Favourite reading : Politics, business and spiritual books.

Favourite sport : Football.

Favourite website :

Hobbies : Singing.

Favourite Car : Audi Q7.

Married : to Nobuhle.

Children : Two lovely boys, Sibusiso Shaun (7 years) and Ryan Ronald jnr (4 years).

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