Discuss the concept of ethics. Why is the purchasing profession particularly sensitive to this topic?
Ethics defines a set of moral principles that an individual or organization practices while conducting business with its clients. Every business has a policy statement that outlines the accepted ways employees are expected to behave and what to do in specific situations while transacting on behalf of the organization.
The purchasing profession takes a keen interest in ethics in a bid to uphold a firm’s reputation. In order to ensure a constant supply of finished goods and impeccable services to its consumers, the business tasks the purchases department with the duty of procuring raw materials and semi-finished goods. The purchasing professional has to initiate contracts with suppliers in a timely manner while also ensuring that ethical norms are adhered to (Monczka et. al., 2016). The materials purchased have to be affordable and of high quality as this impact on the quality of the finished goods, credit cycle, supply chain, and the goodwill a firm will have in the market. Purchasing individuals who act ethically help the organization reduce the cost of raw material and semi-finished goods. The ripple effect is that the firm will reduce the supply chain cycle tenure, manage its credit burden, build customer loyalty for the long term, and hence increase its profitability. On the other side, purchasing professionals with lower ethics are likely to bow to external and internal pressure and engage in unethical practices like bribery, illegal sourcing, and favoritism. When such illegal practices become public knowledge, the firm’s reputation is damaged (Blanchard, 2010). Customers and suppliers also refrain from transacting businesses with the organization.
In sum, it is therefore imperative for any business to ensure that its written ethics policy is strictly followed during procurement to avoid disputes and conflicts of interest. Constantly training its workforce on Ethics and auditing of procurement processes could also go a long way in ensuring adherence to laid procedures. It is necessary to audit recently awarded tenders so that anomalies can be identified and necessary actions are taken before issues blow out of proportion.
Monczka, R. M., Handfield, R. B., Giunipero, L. C., & Patterson, J. L. (2016). Purchasing and supply chain management (Sixth edition).
Blanchard, David. (2010). Supply Chain Management Best Practices Second Edition (Ed. 2). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons Inc.