Ethics play a major role in procurement. As a procurement professional, you will be dealing with suppliers and customers. Along every step of the way you will be faced with numerous situations that could result in conflict of interest. However, it is imperative that you conduct yourself in a professional manner and do give in to temptation. Ensure you adhere to the code of ethics laid down by your organisation, and this will include treating all suppliers equally.
Importance of ethics in procurement
You will be in-charge of short-listing suppliers and awarding contracts to them. If you adopt unethical behaviour, you will be forced to award contracts to undeserving suppliers. Should you do this, it will adversely affect your organisation and could also result in significant losses.
When you handle procurement in an ethical manner, you will be able to cultivate a mutually beneficial long-term relationship with your suppliers. You will earn not only their respect for being unbiased and fair, but also their goodwill.
The work you do as a procurement professional is indicative of the values of your organisation. The moment you let go of those values, you and your organisation will be labelled, and the word will quickly spread. On the other hand, if you hold on to your principles, you will be viewed as a professional and your reputation will be intact in the market. This could prove to be a plus point should you decide to change your job in the future. Organisations want procurement professionals that they can trust as they realise that these professional come under a lot of pressure internally and externally.
Managing ethics in procurement
Make sure you read and understand your company’s policy on ethics. In case, there is no policy, you should create one so that it addresses delicate issues like conflict of interest, gifts, favours and confidentiality of information. Make sure your team members know the policy. You can even take inputs from them to incorporate it into the policy.
Draft the ethics policy based on what the senior management considers ethical and unethical behaviour. It will leave no scope for ambiguities then. You should also consider having ethics training, making it mandatory for all procurement employees to undergo it. With the right checks in place, you will be able to prevent unethical behaviour and activities.