"What are you doing to keep procurement ethical?" - Deputy Minister of Finance asks at Smart Procurement World

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MondliGungubele_200.jpg"Weak morals and unethical behaviour got South Africa where it is today." This was the message delivered by Mondli Gungubele, Deputy Minister of Finance at Smart Procurement World's Gauteng Indaba in September.

Gungubele challenged procurement professionals to contemplate the "need for regulation" in procurement, but emphasised that morals and ethics supersede any form of regulation.

He compared ethics with the '10 Commandments', stressing the point that the purpose of the Commandments was not to overwhelm people with codes of conduct, but simply to give peace of mind to others that one can be trusted to behave in a manner that will not harm others.

"Similarly, legislation should be viewed as an intention to create an environment of good will and better practice," said Gungubele.

The subject of ethics formed an integral part of Smart Procurement World Indaba 2018. Ethics plays a significant role in procurement and is now considered by most organisations to be just as important as technology and consumer behaviour changes.

Therefore, to be ethical demands that professionals act according to the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially in procurement.

"What are you doing to keep procurement ethical?" asked the Deputy Minister.

Procurement professionals must conduct their business practices in the most ethical manner. Failing to abide by ethical practices can be a slippery slope to immoral and illegal practices such as bribery, favouritism, and what the Deputy Minister described as "illegal sourcing".

"Leaders have to make sure that actions are taken to follow proper ethics as this can only contribute to the success of any business."

How do you ensure that your organisation's procurement ethics are upheld?

1) An ethics policy

An ethics dispute should never be the result of a difference of opinion between the procurement department and a company employee. Every organisation should have a written policy that makes clear what top-management considers ethical and what it considers unethical.

2) Ethics training

Ethics training is one of the most essential components to ensure that employees are aware of the importance of ethical practices. An innovative training programme will provide employees with all the important information about ethics so that they are able to deal with their day-to-day jobs in an ethical way. The great part about having an ethics policy is that the rules are in a tangible, indisputable form. The unfortunate part is that very few people will take the time to read ethics policies.

3) A process containing checks and balances

Every strategic procurement decision should require managerial review to confirm that all guidelines were followed and that no ethical violations have occurred or will occur.

4) Audits

Periodic audits should be performed to verify that all procurement activities were conducted ethically and according to procedures. Furthermore, an audit serves as a deterrent to unethical behaviour.

Organisation must have a strong code of ethics for their business and procurement processes. Employees must be given training regularly on ethical behaviour. The advantages will be greater efficiency and value from procurement activities, a better brand image for the organisation concerned, and increased loyalty from end-customers and appreciation from the public in general.

For a comprehensive personalised ethics code policy and ethics training, please contact mediacy@smartprocurement.net.

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