How can retail procurement professionals use wiki’s as learning tools?

September 22nd, 2009

Specialized procurement focused wiki’s may be just the type of tool you have been looking for.

According to the king of all wikis, Wikipedia; a wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are used in businesses to provide affordable and effective intranets and for knowledge management. Ward Cunningham, developer of the first wiki, originally described it as “the simplest online database that could possibly work”.

“Wiki” is a reduplication of “wiki”, a Hawaiian word for “fast”. It has been suggested that “wiki” means “What I Know Is”.

The SafeSourcing wiki is one of many tools available on the SafeSourcing website which is dedicated to easy to use and free sources of information for retail procurement professionals. This type of wiki is generally referred to as a specialized wiki. As such, the Safesourcing wiki is focused on procurement terms and discussions that provide general knowledge relative to any number of procurement and supply chain related issues. Subject matter can be wide ranging and could include the following subjects, and much more.

1. Safety in the supply chain
2. Environmental consciousness in the supply chain
3. Retail procurement terms and definitions.
4. Supply Chain Standards

An example of how a procurement team or individual knowledge worker might use a wiki could evolve like this. A retailer decides to develop their social responsibility programs around the procurement of humane raised meat products, sea food products and other environmentally supported products. As you have noted through following the above links a well thought out wiki can provide greater definitions, discussions as well as links to other information sources such as group websites etc.

The nice thing about wikis is that the definitions and discussions are not static. Authorized users can add to definitions, discussions as well as rate the site. This in and of itself is educational. In this way a body of work can grow from the contribution of all users and help to provide a reliable source of data for professionals in a specialized field.

Please feel free to visit the safesourcing wiki regularly and offer your comments, terms, definitions and suggestions. This section of the SafeSourcing website is a free tool for procurement professionals. It is just one way we try to support the retail procurement and supply chain professional, which is the most difficult job in retail.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

Ron Southard

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