By Rich Weissman
Established 109 years ago, the Concord, Mass.-based Purchasing Management Association of Boston reflects the early intentions of its founders to ‘create acquaintance and foster the exchange of knowledge’. As the oldest affiliate of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), PMABoston has been a regional and national leader in supporting and advancing the purchasing profession through professional development, business survey data collection, and minority business development. True to its roots, purchasing is reflected in its title but the tagline of ‘The Association for Supply Professionals’ reflects the changing profession and membership.
Perhaps the greatest influence the association has had over the years has been as an advocate for change. Just as the profession has matured, so has the organization, embracing professional change from advocating for the elimination of gender barriers, to embracing minority business development, to its early adoption of technology and social media. Today’s membership roster reflects not only professional diversity in the workplace, but diversity of employers and industries as well.
PMABoston has weathered the global recession better than most organizations by offering value to its members, establishing deep corporate relationships, and supporting the supply management profession in general. Membership levels are on the rise and it is heartening to see an increase in job listings targeted at members through but one member benefit. “We want to maintain our vibrancy and viability by reacting to changing business conditions,” says David Kriz, the organization’s managing director. “As conditions change we need to not only be responsive, but leaders in our field.”
Yet, after a century there are new challenges and that suits PMABoston’s leadership just fine. “We are on the cutting edge of change in the workplace and we need to embrace that spirit of change in the Association as well,” says Kriz. “We need to continue to find ways to be relevant to our membership and profession.” Kriz adds that he wants the association to be more meaningful to a broader level of professional. “We are targeting the CPO level as well as entry-level professionals," he says.
Kriz, PMABoston President Walt Robatzek, and a committed board of directors are providing leadership during these turbulent times by encouraging and exploring relationships that will make the association stronger, whether with educational partners, sponsors, or aligned professional and trade associations. One of these relationships is with My Purchasing Center, a successful website that is providing support to the procurement profession through articles and blogs by industry experts, focused professional content aggregation and supplier representation. Both My Purchasing Center and PMABoston look to fill an educational gap in the purchasing and procurement marketplace.
Call it an evolving supplier relationship that was born through a combination of kismet and hunch. PMABoston’s monthly membership meetings are well-attended events centered on networking, a roster of excellent speakers, and good food. Guests are often invited and recently President Robatzek asked My Purchasing Center’s Chief Editor Susan Avery to experience one of the meetings first hand. After a conversation and subsequent series of meetings the relationship was born. In the first phase My Purchasing Center will be helping with website redevelopment and social media projects and PMABoston will be assisting with content generation and professional support. While the relationship evolves, more opportunities will be identified and acted on. Though excited about how these changes will benefit his members, Kriz is probably most happy with the process. “We do what we teach," he says :These are the kind of relationships our members are working on every day.”
Endicott College Assistant Professor Rich Weissman teaches management courses for the School of Business and the Van Loan Graduate School. He is also the director of corporate education, which includes the Center for Leadership, Endicott’s management development institute. He is vice chair of the planning committee and also serves on the technology committee and the Institution Review Board. A practitioner turned educator, Weissman has more than 25 years of experience in all facets of procurement and supply chain management. He has held positions with large business units of Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized contract manufacturing companies, small venture-backed Internet startup firms, and third-party procurement, consulting and strategic sourcing firms.
Rich holds an M.S. in Management from Lesley University and a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University. He is past president of the Purchasing Management Association of Boston and a recipient of the Harry J. Graham Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the association.
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