ISM remains the pre-eminent organization for supply chain professionals and has seen the industry through its toughest times
When supply chain professionals need advice or certification, they look to the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®). In the last three years, they’ve needed a lot of advice, and occasionally an organization to lean on. ISM has been there, as it has since 1915, with constant innovation to keep the industry looking to the future.
The first and largest nonprofit professional supply management organization in the world offers supply chain professionals three certificate programs: Associate Professional in Supply Management™ (APSM™) for active ISM student members; CPSM®, the gold standard for supply management professionals; and Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity® (CPSD™).
“I'm proud of that because along with our principles of sustainability that we created years ago with practitioners and this certification, these things were important to ISM from the get-go. It's part of who we are,” Susan Marty, ISM’s chief product officer, told BOSS. “It's been part of our mission statement and I think part of the reason we believe in talent and supplier diversity is because we understand that the positive economic impact of having diverse suppliers is huge.”
The Biggest Challenge
The amount of disruption the Covid-19 pandemic brought to the supply chain industry is almost impossible to measure. ISM’s research team made the attempt, though, performing several rounds of Covid research to help practitioners and investors make sense of what was happening and devise future-forward strategies.
“They have been hit constantly with one challenge after the other, and so organizations like ISM really are the key to help making sure they’re constantly innovating,” Marty said. “We're constantly providing resources, content, data, and community to help solve those problems and bringing forth different solutions because, unfortunately, not one size fits all.”
Aside from some major steps forward in terms of digitalization, the pandemic had another silver lining for the industry. It underscored just how important procurement and supply chain are to keeping the economy humming.
“I said to (CEO Thomas Derry), ‘You know, I don't think anyone's going to ask what supply chain is again,’” Marty quipped.
Rethinking With Data
The data revolution in supply chain has propelled the industry through Covid and into a bright new future. Organizations are digitizing and becoming more agile, learning how to operate with remote, hybrid, and in-person teams. They’re implementing ESG strategies and thinking about things like Scope 3 emissions.
“It’s exciting watching that occur and having some of the leaders tell me the stories driving revenue are around growth or rethinking how they operate,” Marty said.
Organizations are realizing that focusing only on cost is a dangerous game to play, she said, and that key revenue drivers are really what’s important even if they’re more expensive up front.
“Cost cannot be the only lever you pull. If it is, you’re probably going to create a little bit of chaos,” she said. “I think that's also really opened up a different perspective about the goals and the KPIs that leaders have in supply chain.”
Supply chain managers are driving growth now and interact with every department, from the factory floor to executive suites.
“I think it will only evolve more.”
As the profession does evolve, it attracts new talent. Far from not really knowing what supply chain is, students who have grown up comfortable with data analytics are viewing supply management as a long-term career option.
“We want smart, innovative, young talent,” Marty said.
What supply chain organizations are better able to do now is show young talent that there is growth potential in this career field. Those organizations need to invest in that talent to retain people for more than a couple of years.
“Turnover in general is costly, but regrettable turnover costs the company a lot of money,” she said. “On the other side, companies who do invest in their talent are 11% more net profitable.”
Leaders need to be invested in their charges and see them as the whole people they are. Leaders need to provide feedback and meet employees where they are. Flexibility is key on both sides, and that will help develop talented people into future leaders in the organization, to the benefit of both.
“I would say employees aren't an expense unless there’s a performance issue,” Marty said. “They are the greatest asset an organization has, in my opinion.”
With innovation and future-forward thinking at its core, ISM will continue to be the organization members can turn to for guidance as the industry continues to evolve.
About Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) is the first and leading not-for-profit professional supply management organization worldwide. Its community of more than 50,000 in more than 100 countries around the world manage about US$1 trillion in corporate and government supply chain procurement annually. Founded in 1915 by practitioners, ISM is committed to advancing the practice of supply management to drive value and competitive advantage for its members, contributing to a prosperous and sustainable world. ISM empowers and leads the profession through the ISM® Report On Business®, its highly-regarded certification and training programs, corporate services, events, the ISM Supply Chain Capability Model and the ISM Advance™ Digital Platform. The ISM® Report On Business®, Manufacturing, Services and Hospital, are three of the most reliable economic indicators available, providing guidance to supply management professionals, economists, analysts, and government and business leaders. For more information, please visit: www.ismworld.org.
309 W Elliot Rd, Ste #113
Tempe, AZ 85284-1556
Phone Number: 480.752.6276 option 8
Fax Number: 480.752.7890
Homepage Link: https://www.ismworld.org/