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MARCUS AMBE. Creating a Sustainable Impact

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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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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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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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Launch Of The Scm Interim Council, 22 May 2018

The Interim Supply Chain Management Council in South Africa was launched on the  22nd of May 2018. I was privileged to be nominated as the Deputy Chairperson: Technical Standards and Competencies.

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Roundtable Discussion: 4th October 2016: Bridging The Gap Between Industry Realities And Academic Expectations

A team of SCM panellists after their lengthy engagements during a roundtable discussion organised by the Supply Chain Management Research Group (CEMS). I was privileged to be the host and chairperson of the SCMRG. “Supply chain management is often viewed as a source of corruption, especially within the public sector, where major tenders are issued. This is a result of the government’s failure to use public funds wisely and deliver better services within budget constraints”. This was a sentiment echoed by the panellists during the roundtable discussion centred on the theme Supply chain management: Bridging the gap between industry realities and academic expectations the Supply Chain Management Research Group (SCMRG) at CEMS in collaboration with SBL (Unisa) and CIPS held on the 4th October 2016.

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The ambition of creating a developmental state to transform the Apartheid economy has been hamstrung by an inability to implement transformation policies; it is a situation exacerbated by a lack of skills, competencies and capacity; and the patronage of corrupt procurement practices

Prof. Marcus Ambe, from the University of South Africa’s School of Public and Operations Management, in collaboration with Sibongile Shongwe, Director of MtileniMazi Enterprises, unpacks a procurement blueprint to accelerate inclusive growth and socio-economic development, in this month’s SmartProcurement.

The South African government is under increasing pressure to deliver and demonstrate success in service delivery and organisational performance. Proposals to spur real and deep economic transformation are varied, and in many cases focus on the need to develop South Africa’s industrial base. However, this focus ignores the significant role that failing to comply with appropriate procurement practices played in poor audit outcomes, irregular expenditure and the lack of basic monitoring and control systems.

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