Competence Development and Value Delivery

Why Traditional Procurement & SCM Qualifications and Training Fail to Deliver ‘Real Business Value’

AdvQualMost organisations fail to see much ‘real business value’ delivered after they have undertaken extensive competence assessment and then internal and/or external training to improve the competence of their staff in Procurement and Supply Chain Management (PSCM).

The reason for this is because most of the training received is either too theoretical and/or completely unrelated to the delivery of value within the ‘real-life’ and ‘real-time’ day-to-day operations of the organisation. Why is this, and how can this malaise be resolved?

Problems with Current Training & Competence Development Offers

Most organisations have a limited number of choices when selecting the most appropriate PSCM training courses for their staff when pursuing competence development initiatives. They can either undertake internal training (normally through the use of their own staff and the creation of their own internal Training Academy) or they can use external providers (some of which offer certified Professional or University/Academic qualifications).

In practice most organisations use a combination of these two approaches. Normally, a segmentation is undertaken of the PSCM staff during the initial competence assessment programme, in order to identify which staff should receive basic internal training (sometimes supported by external trainers); and which should receive more advanced external training and qualifications.

When undertaking external training the choices are normally between Professional Bodies, that award their own Certified Qualifications based on their national standards, or postgraduate academic qualifications offered by Universities and Colleges, based on nationally regulated and accredited standards.

Having benchmarked hundreds of organisations globally it is clear that whichever of these internal and/or external routes to competence development is selected there is considerable disquiet amongst those funding these programmes. The major concerns appear to be about the effectiveness and efficacy (value for money) of these approaches. The following major issues recur:

  1. Too much theoretical rather than practically relevant training
  2. Too much focus on best practice in industries/sectors that are not relevant to the issues facing the funding organisation
  3. Too much focus in training on case studies that are irrelevant to the needs of the funding organisation
  4. Limited evidence of heightened skills and capabilities relevant to the funding organisation amongst staff after training
  5. Immediate loss of the most able staff after advanced training, with no real tangible value for money or ROI benefits being provided to the funding organisation from the training

All of this adds up to a major indictment of current training and competence development offers due to a clear lack of ‘real business value’ being delivered, with limited tangible Return on Investment (ROI) for funding organisations.

The IIAPS Solution – Delivering ‘Real Business Value’ Through ‘Real-Life’ and ‘Real-Time’ Competence Development

Given these serious issues with current training and competence development offers IIAPS has developed a unique and novel approach to the award of its own International Green, Red & Black Belt In Advanced Purchasing & Supply Management qualifications.


In order to ensure that all students deliver ‘real business value’ to their funding organisation all participants in the Institute’s Belts courses will in future have to undertake their training by delivering a category sourcing strategy for their funding organisation. This means that all training and mentoring support provided by the Institute during the training and certification process now takes place in the context of the ‘real-time’ and ‘real-life’ development of a sourcing strategy with a cross-functional team within the funding organisation.

Furthermore, while IIAPS trains the staff member to become the equivalent of an expert IIAPS consultant in strategic sourcing and category management, this competence development work is continuously focused on delivering significant improvements in the quality, cost and delivery performance of a particular category of supply/spend within the funding organisation. The student can only qualify for a particular Belt if they are able to develop an effective sourcing strategy, and also then take it to market and negotiate and deliver a successful sourcing strategy with suppliers in the ‘real-world’.

Finally, the funding organisation is continuously involved in the process because it works with IIAPS and the staff member being trained to select the sourcing strategy to be developed and then taken to market. The funding organisation must also sign-off that significant value for money has been achieved before the student can qualify for certification.

In this way we believe that a new approach to competence development is now available that overcomes the problems with current offerings. It is an approach that delivers ‘real business value’ in the context of ‘real-time’ and ‘real-life’ sourcing strategies. It is, therefore, the only course offering that offers a guaranteed ROI so that the course of study should always be self-funding for participating organisations.

To find out more about the IIAPS approach visit our website.

The International Institute for Advanced Purchasing & Supply (IIAPS) is dedicated to the raising of international standards in purchasing and supply management so that real business value - improvements in the quality, cost and delivery performance of supply - is delivered to organisations.