Daily Archives: May 18, 2015

We Don’t Need Licenses, We Need Knowledge!

There comes a time in every profession where someone goes beyond screaming the need for certification and starts screaming the need for licenses and self regulation, like Engineers, Lawyers, and Doctor’s have. It doesn’t always happen (and CIPS, no, not CIPS, CIPS failed when it tried to get ISP, no, not your ISP, the ISP certification a regulatory standard in Canada), but some people (either because they like the attention or, more commonly, want the dollars that will come their way as they already offer the certification that they want to see as the foundation for licensing) try anyway.

And while the dialogue is sometimes useful, because it usually results from a lack of appropriately skilled individuals to fill industry need, sometimes it isn’t. Where Procurement is concerned, it isn’t. The problem isn’t lack of regulation, it’s lack of knowledge. As implied by SI’s recent repost on Why Your Organization Can’t Find Top Supply Management Talent, it’s because there just aren’t enough talented individuals out there. And the reason, they just don’t know everything they need to know.


First of all, most people still see Global Supply Management as backroom Procurement, a function that is so unsexy that the only place in the organization that is worse is the mailroom. As a result, they don’t study Procurement or anything seen as related to it in College.

Secondly, even if they decide to retrain, they are looking at what they can train for quickly, easily through a plethora of courses, and be pretty much guaranteed of getting a placement. Most private colleges focussed on getting people to work quickly with 4 to 8 month programs focus on traditional accounting, IT support, medical transcription, physician / dentist office manager, etc. Procurement isn’t even on their radar. As a result, the (re)training (& certification) offerings are, with only a couple of exceptions, limited to the professional associations, which the average non-Procurement individual isn’t going to know about.

But third, and most critically, you don’t train your people! (And neither do your peers!) Year after year after year your organization will rank lack of talent as one of the three most critical Procurement issues, but year after year you will slash the training budget. If you want talented people, you need to start with knowledgeable people. And if you want the people to have the knowledge they need, you need to give it to them, because they’re not going to get it anywhere else.

And once they have the knowledge they need, they’ll have a much better chance at reaching the level of success you expect. So forget about licensing when the average individual doesn’t even have the knowledge to pass the most basic of certifications, and just give them the knowledge they need. And do it for free if you really want to effect a wide-spread change.