Outsourcing managers' group touts ethics code

Outsourcing managers' group touts ethics code

The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) has released a code of ethics and business practices that's designed to help companies improve outsourcing contracting and management.

One of the people involved in developing the IAOP standards is Cynthia Kearney, vice president of global pharmaceutical R&D sourcing and supplier management at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development. Kearney said the standards will give all parties in an outsourcing agreement a common framework to work from.

"I think it's a value-add when you have governance upfront," said Kearney. "There is efficiency associated with that -- the fragmentation is not there, there are not disconnects, because there are already some principles established to how you conduct yourself in dealing with third parties," she said.

The standards are general but weigh heavily in favor of disclosure, candor and metrics in developing and managing an outsourcing relationship. For instance, they ask the customers and providers "to accurately represent the extent of executive support for an outsourcing relationship." They also cite the need for objective and standardized measures to be used in outsourcing deals and call on companies to invest at least 40 hours per employee per year in training and professional development activities.

IAOP intends to develop a certification program at some point, something Kearney said she'll help professionally develop.

Mike Corbett, IAOP executive director, said the group hopes that the standards, by improving consistency and setting guidelines, will help outsourcing relationships succeed.

Kearney said she intends to form a committee at Johnson & Johnson to review the standards and incorporate any of them not yet in place "into our day-to-day practices."

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