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MARCUS AMBE. Creating a Sustainable Impact

Dr JR Smith Research Symposium, College of Business, Jackson State University

Dr JR Smith Research Symposium, College of Business, Jackson State University

I had the opportunity to participate and presented two papers at the Research Symposium organized by the College of Business, Jackson State University, on March 20-21, 2024.

In the first presentation, which I did on behalf of myself and Dr Ntombi Matsoma, I gave a context of the implications of procurement practices on socio-economic objectives in the South African clothing industry. Procurement practices in the South African clothing industry have been negatively affected by retail clothing buyers purchasing garments from international clothing suppliers instead of supporting local suppliers. The local manufacturers faced competition and inputs from clothing from Asian countries such as China, India, Turkey is affecting the local clothing industry. Also, foreign manufacturers and clothing shops dominate the industry due to the low import tariffs that are posed by international trade regulations. Retail clothing shops do not order from local manufacturers due to high production cost and quality challenges resulting from the lack of required skills, technical capabilities and resources. This has reduced local clothing suppliers’ margins and resulted in job losses. The study based on a survey conducted among 621 clothing manufacturers, revealed that the clothing manufacturers faced challenges with the lack of skills, support funding as well. Further, they lack compliance with environmental standards as well as procurement policies and regulations. We recommended a procurement framework with four pillars and 10 variables. More information about the study can assist management, owners, and procurement specialists in identifying procurement practices that may be aligned with policies, sustainable practices, and existing challenges to improve socio-economic objectives and performance. Furthermore, the government can learn about funding flaws, non-compliance issues, and policies that stem from a shortage of refunding sources and financial support. Examining the Implications of Procurement Practices on Socio-economic objectives


In the second presentation, I gave a context of the extent to which the Gauteng Department of Health complies with supply chain policies and regulations when conducting demand management practices. This paper was co-authored by myself, Dr Selby and Dr Jonathan (University of South Africa). It is well known fact that many public institutions in South Africa are battling with compliance issues with respect to the implementation of the supply chain management policy adopted in 2004. This is evident in various reports as well as the Zondo commission. In this paper, we conducted a survey based on purposive sampling technique, we a focused on senior supply chain practitioners. The scope of the study focused on Gauteng’s 47 public hospitals and we administered 235 questionnaires. It was interesting to note that while the public hospitals all indicted have the relevant policies and regulation in place in terms of practice, implementation was a challenge. Also, they faced challenges aligning their demand plans to the strategic objectives of the hospitals and developing sound specifications and terms of references. From the findings, there was no significant differences in practice and challenges among the various categories of hospitals. This finding confirms the state of supply chain practice in South African public institutions and recommended the establishments of an institution to drive professionalization in the country. We believe that professionalization will enhance the skills and capacity of supply chain professionals, ethics and standards of practice. Furthermore, the issuing of professional certifications or license to practice will protect the professionals and protect the profession. This will also limit political interference. We also recommend increase spending on research and development as well as the implementation of e-procurement systems and the use of open data. Investigating Compliance of Demand Management Practices with Supply Chain Policies and Regulations


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Leveraging the benefit of minority business/diverse certification to increase contracting opportunities

As part of my service to the community, I delivered a talk at the CAMDAL Professional Mentorship Program, held on August 12, 2023, at the Audubon Recreation Center, Garland, Texas, on inclusive procurement titled “Leveraging the benefits of minority/diverse certification”. During the talk, I provided guidelines on how small businesses could get certified as minority/diverse suppliers, the available programs, and how minority/diverse suppliers benefits from being certified.

In simple terms, a minority business enterprise (MBE) is a business that is majority-owned by a citizen from a recognized minority group. The United States (US) business law defines a minority-owned business as one that is owned by African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans. Considering this, MBE certification is a process of gaining official government recognition that a business is majority-owned by someone from a racial minority group. Being certified makes a small business look better in the eyes of the Government & Corporate. Certification provides small/diverse businesses with a nationally recognized and highly respected status that makes the business stand out against marketplace competition for elite and distinguished competitors. It is of interest to note that there are at least 38 States in the US with minority programs.

Interesting facts:

  • In the fiscal year 2021, a total of $154.2 billion, or 27.2 percent of all contracting dollars, went to small businesses, an $8 billion increase from the previous fiscal year (The SBA’s Small Business Procurement Scorecard, 2021).
  • The General Services Administration (GSA) on July 18, 2022, announced steps to advance equity and supplier diversity in federal procurement, to reach the federal Administration’s goal of increasing the share of contracts awarded to small, disadvantaged businesses to 50% by 2025.
  • A survey conducted by Deloitte Global (2021) estimates that over 90% of large corporations are interested in socially responsible purchasing, and over 60% of their procurement offices are now being formally measured by how much they spend with small and diverse suppliers.
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) works with federal agencies to award 23% of government contract dollars to eligible small businesses (
  • In the 2022 Fiscal year, the federal government achieved its small business sub-contracting goals, awarding 30.9%, or $79.1 billion, to small business subcontractors.
  • Businesses that work with certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) may be eligible to receive certain tax benefits (

One of the key benefits of small business certification is supplier diversity programs. Businesses with supplier diversity programs oftentimes struggle to find diverse suppliers to give contracts to. Supplier diversity, which is part of inclusive procurement, is the practice of creating opportunities for traditionally minority/diverse suppliers to be introduced into large corporate and public procurement. It is a business strategy that provides market access opportunities, enabling diverse suppliers to have a fair possibility for contracts and/or to build the capacity to do so in the future. Organizations that expand business sourcing in this way offer commercial and social benefits, buying from more diverse suppliers, the suppliers themselves, and the broader business ecosystem and society.

Also, the federal government establishes formal goals to ensure small businesses get their fair share of work. Every federal government purchase between $10,000 and $250,000 is automatically set aside for small businesses if there are at least two companies that can provide the product or service at a fair and reasonable price as follows:

  • 8(a) Business Development.The federal government tries to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to small, disadvantaged businesses each year.
  • The federal government tries to award at least 3% of all federal prime contracting dollars to HUBZone-certified small businesses each year.
  • Women-Owned Small Business. The federal government tries to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year.
  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned. The federal government tries to award at least 3% of annual federal contracting dollars to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

Here are a few examples of state and local programs:

  • Connecticut: Connecticut has a Set-Aside Program which mandate of 25% of government contracting for small and minority-owned businesses.
  • Illinois: Illinois sets aside a goal of 20% for Business Enterprise Program businesses.
  • Ohio: Ohio has a state target of 15% for Minority Business Enterprise Program contracts.
  • New York: In 2014, New York set a 30% state target for minority-and women-owned businesses as well as a 6% target for veterans with disabilities-owned businesses.
  • New Jersey: New Jersey has a 25% set-aside goal for small businesses and 3% set aside for Disabled Veteran Owned Business Enterprises.
  • Maryland. In 2013, Maryland established a 29% Minority Business Enterprise participation goal in all qualifying state procurement expenditures. On February 16, 2023, Maryland’s Governor Signed an Executive Order to Strengthen Government Accountability for Maryland’s Minority Business Enterprise Program.
  • Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf has set a goal of increasing the percentage of small diverse business contracts to 26.3%, which is approximately a 400% increase.

If you are a small business in the United States and fall within the designated category groups for minority businesses, take advantage of the opportunity to increase contracting opportunities for your business.

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Kick-starting a new career at Jackson State University

After 15 years, 7 months at the University of South Africa (UNISA), and 18 years, 8 months in South Africa, I am humbled to kick-start a new page of my professional career at Jackson State University as an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management. I thank UNISA for providing me with a professional home. Over the years, I had the opportunity to develop and advance my career from a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, and to full Professor (2015). I had the opportunity to serve on various committees and management such as the Chair of the Department, Chairperson of the Tender Committee, and Chair of the Enterprise and Supplier Development Program Steering Committee among others. With support from my collaborators, I embarked on numerous outreach and community engagement projects championing the advancement of supply chain management in South Africa and the African continent. I thank UNISA and the South African National Treasury for the opportunity afforded me to contribute towards the establishment of the Supply Chain Management Interim Council, where I served as the Deputy Chairperson in charge of “Technical Standards and Competencies”. My appreciation to all those who supported and contributed to the activities of the “Supply Chain Research Group” and the “African Institute for Supply Chain Research” (AISCR). Between 2020 and 2022, we organized and rolled out two major Pan African Summits (2020 and 2021), and over 80 webinars on professional development supporting Masters and Doctoral students as well as supply chain management professionals on the latest trends and developments. I look forward to your continuous support and collaboration as we redefine AISCR’s value proposition for 2024.
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ISM-Dallas roundtable discussion held on April 13, 2023

Geopolitical disruptions are casting doubt on supply chain stability. I participated in the ISM-Dallas roundtable discussion held on April 13, 2023. We had an interesting presentation by Troy Peterson who articulated the changing dynamics and impact of geopolitics on global supply chains, including disruptions brought about by the Covid-19-pandemic, rising inflation, and geopolitical conflicts. It is interesting to note that many companies are rethinking their reliance on China, diversifying their supply chains, or focusing on reshoring and nearshoring to improve resilience. Think about the implications of (1) the Covid-19 pandemic to commercial real estate businesses (2) foreign monetary changes and the quest for digital currencies (3) BRICS pulling forces to incorporate Saudi Arabia and Indonesia and (4) the quest for de-dollarization. I encourage you to read the book “Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict with China”. The future of supply chain management looks interesting.

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12th Annual Supply Chain Management Directors’ Conference, March 7-8, 2023, Dallas, Texas

It was great to participate in the 12th Annual Supply Chain Management Directors’ Conference, held on March 7-8, 2023, hosted by the Jindal School of Management, University of Texas, Dallas Campus, USA. We shared and discussed innovative techniques on supply chain management curriculum development, online program development, development of STEM programs, strategies to grow enrolment, building marketable certificate programs, and trends driving supply chain automation and technology. I wish to thank the organizing committee for such a great and stimulating conference!

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Athens State University, Alabama, USA January 17-19, 2023

It was great to visit Athens State University, Alabama, USA on a scholarly engagement between January 17-19, 2023. The university, founded in 1822, is the oldest university in the State of Alabama. During my visit, I did a presentation on “State of Supply Chain Management in Africa and Opportunity for collaboration” in line with the US-Africa Trade and Investment.

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Awakening Africa Summit, December 15-17, 2022

I had the opportunity to be a speaker at the Grand Annual African Business Lounge, Trade and Expo 2022 held on December 15-17, 2022, at the Plano Chamber of Commerce, Dallas, Texas, USA. During the event, I deliver a talk on “Enhancing inclusive economic development and investment in Africa through strategic sourcing”. I also moderate a panel discussion on how supply chain management can accelerate and foster trade relations between the US and Africa.

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The signing of MoU between AISCR & University of Buea (UB), November 24, 2022

On November 24, 2022, I had the opportunity to represent the African Institute for Supply Chain Research (AISCR) and signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the University of Buea (UB), Cameroon. The purpose of the MoU was to establish a relationship on supply chain management research and capacity building. During the signing ceremony, I had the opportunity to deliver a presentation on the value proposition of the MoU with Dr Rebecca Setino. To kick-start the implementation of the MoU, a Professional Master of Science in Supply Chain Management will be developed for rollout in 2023.

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African Public Procurement Network (APPN) 2nd Annual General Assembly, November 14-17, 2022, Hilton Hotel, Mbabane, Eswatini

It was a privilege for me to attend and participate at the African Public Procurement Network (APPN) 2nd Annual General Assembly, held on 14-17 November 2022, Hilton Hotel, Mbabane, Eswatini. During the 2nd APPN Annual General Assembly (APPN constitutes the head of procurement of African States), I delivered a presentation on “Public Procurement Systems Development Challenges in Africa” and also “How African Countries are Responding to Public Procurement Challenges Caused by the Pandemic”. I suggested a blueprint for the implementation of public procurement post-pandemic constituting four (4) pillars: information technology (e-GP); Professionalisation & capacity development; Ethics, Integrity & Good Governance; and Strategic Procurement & Market (Using strategic procurement to drive inclusive economic development).

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I was privilege to be part of the landmark SMME Development Day as chairperson of the implementation committee. The event is the first of its kind at Unisa and is expected to attract about 500 suppliers who are SMMEs (EMEs & QSEs with 51% or more black owned enterprises) within and outside the Unisa Supplier Database.

The event:

  • Kick start the Enterprise and Supplier Development program at Unisa that will capacitate about 250 SMMEs annually over a period of three years from 2018 to 2020.
  • Sensitise the Unisa community on the strategic role of Enterprise and Supplier Development to the university’s transformation agenda.
  • Create the connecting building blocks on challenges faced by small, medium-sized and micro-enterprise (SMMEs) at Unisa.
  • Facilitate access to information for SMMEs on business opportunities available in Unisa, as well as the Enterprise and Supplier Development programme for empowerment.
  • Serves as an opportunity for networking, information sharing as well as avenue to get better understanding of Unisa’s procurement procedures and processes.
  • Displaying and marketing of SMMEs offerings. Suppliers wishing to showcase their product offering should book a ‘free’ stand at the event. Limited stands available.
  • Channel the path for the establishment of Enterprise and Supplier Development programme at Unisa.
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