On Monday (October 14th), the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) called for professionals in supply chain jobs to be licenced before practising. This is to protect the public and increase accountability, the institute has said.

The announcement comes after a number of recent errors in food-related supply chains and procurement processes – such as the horse meat scandal and the Rana Plaza factory disaster – have led to contamination and loss of lives.

A leading international body that represents purchasing and supply chain professionals around the world, CIPS followed up its announcement by publishing a policy statement. This explained the guiding principals of the licence, which would be launched in London at its annual conference.

CIPS has proposed a professionally recognised licence for the supply chain and procurement industries would be similar to that found in the accountancy profession. The institute believes such a move is ‘fundamental’ to the stability of the global economy – especially now that multinational companies are exposed to risks on a much wider scale.

Indeed, there are a number of risks that make the worldwide supply chain incredibly complicated. These range from natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis, through to political unrest, fraud and modern slavery. These risks affect consumers and business in a variety of ways and CIPS believes that a licence will help to provide a level of protection and by ensuring that trained and skilled professionals are undertaking the tasks.

CIPS has also issued an outline of what the licence would mean for businesses and those in supply chain jobs. This includes a clear focus on personal accountability, professionally qualified personnel who can demonstrate a pre-determined level of competence and support for the policy from government legislation and professional bodies. The institute has also called for all enterprises and employers to self-regulate by implementing the licence.

Commenting on the call for a licence for supply chain professionals, CIPS global chief executive, David Noble, explained that there is a major need for formal qualifications to protect the public. “This was brought into sharp focus earlier this year with the horse meat fiasco in the UK and the Bangladesh factory tragedy, which put a human price on the failure to understand and make provision for risk in the supply chain,” he said.