The IFPSM interview: Malcolm Youngson

Anthony Haynes writes: As regular readers will know, we regularly publish interviews and pieces on membership organisations. Today, we’re delighted to combine the two with this interview of Malcolm Youngson of The International Federation for Purchasing and Supply Management (IFPSM).


Malcolm Youngson 002What type of organisation is IFPSM?

IFPSM is the global membership organisation for procurement and supply management associations and institutes. It is a not-for-profit organisation, as are our 45 national associations in countries across the world from Mexico to Poland and Nigeria to China.

Through our member associations we have a community of 250,000 individual professionals working in all business sectors. As the CEO, I enjoy some great opportunities to work with our member organisations and support their development and also to play a lead role in developing the profession.


Where’s IFPSM heading?

IFPSM will continue to support its members as they develop and also continually review its value proposition and embrace social media to ensure that we can provide excellent communications for the network. Our membership will continue to grow and, by working in partnership with the UN and the World Bank, we will support the growth of procurement associations in developing countries.

An essential element of our mission is to develop the profession and over the last few years IFPSM, through its network of leading academics, has developed the Global Standard for Professional Competence in Purchasing and Supply — A Quality Standard for Supply Chain Educational Programs.

The Global Standard sets out the mix of knowledge, learning, and skills against which educational programs in purchasing and supply management of an intellectual equivalence of at least first-degree equivalence level can be assessed and accredited. ( ).

In the short term we will develop two new global standards and our immediate objective  is to develop an ethical standard, which will be available not only to our member associations but also to universities and commercial organisations.


What’s your career background?

My career has been split into two distinct phases. Initially after leaving college I worked for many years in the hospitality industry and moved through various levels of management, which culminated when I led  for four years a multi-million pound business with 500 staff.

At that point I hit middle age!

The second part of my career has allowed me to use the business management skills I developed from working in the hospitality industry and which I have found are easily transferable and relevant to working within organisations with very different cultures and objectives.

I was the Head of Communities and Events with the Institute of Engineering and Technology and latterly the Head of Membership and Publishing at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. My current role as CEO of IFPSM is very inspirational and brings many new challenges. As it’s my first CEO position I can no longer look to a line manager for advice, and supporting an international board of directors is something new for me.


What do you most enjoy about your work?

My role does involve extensive international travel to attend and present at national procurement conferences. As a global organisation, we must embrace and understand many different cultures and be very sensitive to these to ensure that we can communicate our value proposition effectively and understand our members’ needs.

Meeting and supporting our members is thrilling as it allows me to meet some incredible people who have dedicated their lives to their families, their companies and their nations.

Quite often these professionals have had to overcome serious obstacles within nations that have far fewer opportunities and very different economies from the UK.


What do you enjoy doing outside work?

I regularly go to the gym and take spinning classes — daft really, as I am always the oldest in the class and convince myself that I can still compete!

In July I will join some friends and canoe the length of the Caledonian Canal, which includes Loch Ness.

This will be something very new for me as I have only been in a canoe once!


What has been IFPSM’s activity online to date? What plans for online activity do you have for the future?

IFPSM is a late joiner to social media and, while we have two websites and a Twitter and LinkedIn site, we do not maximise this communication technology. As a key element to our member value proposition strategy we will soon begin a serious investment in the technology and it will become key to our future growth and influence. Watch this space!

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