As you may or may not know, NCMA is working to get the Contract Management Standard Publication™ (CMS™) accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
This is a big deal.
ANSI is a nonprofit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for various products, services, processes, and systems. ANSI accreditation of the CMS™ as a “standard” will establish it as the consensus standard that provides “rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities” (per ANSI language) related to contract management. With ANSI accreditation, the CMS™ establishes the baseline process expectations that define a properly oriented contract management acumen. The accreditation process that NCMA is currently undergoing provides opportunities for improvement, creates an objective measure for gap analysis between the individual contract manager and expected knowledge base, and sets the CMS™ as a standard by which other allied organizations can measure themselves.
If you’ve never reviewed it, the CMS™ (found at www.ncmahq.org) describes the major process or knowledge areas attributable to good contract (and by extension, supply chain) management. It identifies the key areas of activity, job tasks, and their relationships to one another. If you have never looked at the CMS™, it is well worth your time to become more familiar with it. The CMS™ is the basis for the more detailed Contract Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK). The CMBOK reflects the detailed expectations for each process step established in the CMS™. All these documents work together to enhance individual competence and organizational capability to move toward a best-in-class contract management organization.
How does this impact the local NCMA chapter or member? As the CMS™ becomes the ANSI accredited standard for contract management, local chapters will want to orient their training to be in conformance with that standard. This is an important change, in my opinion. Having served as the Vice President of Programs for the Dallas Chapter, I know how difficult it can be to find good training topics. In the past, my fellow chapter leaders and I were on our own to find relevant training topics and presenters. Some trainers and training were better than others. But we never had a coherent theme by which to organize or inform our chapter training goals. With the establishment of an accredited CMS™, I would encourage chapter officers to consider orienting their training themes to be in conformance to the CMS™, even to the point of identifying the specific CMS™ elements tied to each training session. As an example, a chapter might state in its advertisement for upcoming training, “Jane Smith will be presenting on Contract Closure (CMS™ 4.2).” In this way, the training being developed ties directly to an element in the CMS™.
Almost the entirety of my experience in NCMA has been at the local chapter level in Dallas. It’s at the chapter level that I’ve learned more about what NCMA has to offer. It’s at the chapter level that I’ve developed a network of colleagues across businesses and industries that I can call upon when needed. And it’s at the chapter level that I’ve learned contract management and leadership skills from thought leaders in the area. I firmly believe that your local chapter, supported by the NCMA headquarters, informed by an ANSIaccredited CMS™, and guided by thoughtful local leadership, have the unique opportunity of developing the next generation of great contracts and supply chain managers!