Getting ethics back into procurement!

Ethics in procurement

Procurement specialists can fight fraud and corruption if they stand united, says South Africa’s Lerato Sebata, who is passionate about accomplishing a profession that is ethical, respectful and effective.

It is International Fraud Awareness Week, and, as experts in the procurement industry, we play a pivotal role in reducing fraud by taking a strong stance against fraudulent activity and educating our service providers, stakeholders and colleagues on the importance of fraud awareness.

Fraudulent activity can rob big and small businesses from progressing in their specific industries. Therefore, governance and compliance are very important, especially for procurement and supply chain management.

Why is procurement so important in mitigating fraud?

Procurement processes impact every aspect of a business. This includes how products and services are acquired to operate successfully. We need to position procurement as a helpful and robust function that can help companies run a well-oiled, process-based value driver for business. It is our role to educate others on the rules and regulations that we need to follow so that we can minimise the impact of theft and unscrupulous practices.

I am a firm believer in fostering a business environment where ethics, accountability and good governance becomes the norm in our industry. This means you need to interrogate processes and identify any gaps that you can fill in the supply chain. I just love the fact that we can get involved in negotiating the best terms for businesses and suppliers and create mutually beneficial relationships and principled business practices.

This will not always be easy, and you may encounter pushback whilst trying to promote an ethical culture in an environment that is resistant to change. However, our responsibility in supply chain and procurement is to make sure that we inform others about the impact of procurement fraud and the significant risks it poses to businesses.

Collaboration is vitally important. This means understanding the business value drivers, strategy and goals and working with executives to demonstrate how procurement can add value in achieving these goals through effective risk management, cost savings and effective processes.

To become a positive influence in the business, you need to interrogate your supplier data and spend analysis. This will help you to identify any overspending and plug any leaks that could potentially be costing the business money. This also puts you in a better negotiating position, because you will be armed with information that will help you know when to push suppliers, reduce costs and achieve the best outcomes possible.

There are so many tools to help you with this, including artificial intelligence, procurement analytics and automated reporting. As a procurement professional, use these tools to make your life easier and shift towards improving transformation into a digitally savvy world.

Let’s work together to fight fraud

I am putting out a call to all procurement experts in Africa to stand against procurement corruption. Please Follow me on Instagram or LinkedIn- Lerato Sebata and let us work together to create a professional, mutually respectful atmosphere in business that encourages and improves healthy communication. 

#FraudAwareness #BestPractice #Procurement

By Lerato Sebata, Procurement Enthusiast, South Africa

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