As a procurement professional, you should take measures to address ethics in procurement. It is not just about tackling ethics with your suppliers and customers but along the length of the supply chains.
You should ensure that you conduct all dealings with integrity, avoid any conflicts of interest, and do not opt for personal enrichment. Above all, ensure that you comply with the ethics code of your organisation and treat all suppliers equally, without bias.
Why are ethics essential in procurement?
As a procurement professional, you are responsible for choosing suppliers and awarding them contracts. Any unethical behaviour will adversely affect your organisation’s brand image. You will also be under pressure from internal and external stakeholders, as you control valuable contracts. You should not succumb to this pressure. Conducting your end of the business in an ethical manner will allow you to forge long-term relationships with your suppliers. You will also earn their goodwill due to your fair and unbiased behaviour.
Once your organisation earns a reputation, it will be difficult to change it. The same also applies to you. Being known as an ethical professional will serve you well in the long-term, especially if you decide to change jobs. Other organisations in the industry will have no qualms about taking you onboard because of your stellar reputation.
Tackling ethics in procurement
If your organisation does not have a policy on ethics, it is time you created one so that you can address issues, such as favours and gifts, conflict of interest, integrity, and confidentiality of information. It is crucial that other team members are aware of the ethics policy, which should be based on top management views of ethical and unethical behaviours.
Almost all organisations have ethical practices, but employees may not be aware of them. When it comes to procurement, all employees involved should undergo ethics training, so that they understand the essential information to conduct their day-to-day activities in an ethical manner.
CPOs should also have checks and balances in place to ensure that all the guidelines on ethics in procurement are followed. Performing periodic audits will ensure that no unethical activities take place. These audits will also prevent future unethical behaviour.