Who is responsible for educating our supply chain associates?

April 13th, 2012

If you don’t take ownership of educating your own associates, the results you get from their work are your own fault.

So it’s up to you; would you like it to be your fault or a reflection of your well planned educational planning.

Someone told a long time ago that you don’t learn in college, you learn how to learn. I’m not sure I completely agree with that statement, but understand the sentiment. There are any numbers of statistics out there that support the fact that retention drops immediately upon completing a learning experience. Many have been conducted on the amount of learning that erodes for students over the summer or how much they remember from an actual class as soon as the leave the learning experience. The learning experience could be a particular class, program, major or minor area of study. The fact is much like muscle, if you don’t use it you lose it.

So, who is responsible when someone comes to your company to insure that their employment is a continual learning experience? The answer is YOU and that includes the entire management team. First and foremost the company needs to have an education plan in place, and that is not just on the job training or the next MSFT class. Each department has to have a supporting plan in place that relates specifically to the mission of their individual department or area of expertise such as procurement.

Part of our strategy prior to launching SafeSourcing beyond just offering world class e-procurement tools was to offer an educational site for procurement professions that included a blog, a wiki and a professional social community where they could share their experience. We actually have our associates use these tools. We never source a category for a company that we do not conduct team research on first. That is even if we have an internal subject matter expert. We then hold associates accountable to providing an internal white paper relative to the subject. All associates are also accountable to producing one blog monthly relative to the supply chain. From these learning activities associate are also required to provide original content for our sourcing wiki and propose threaded conversations within our Sourcebook. Bottom line, if you live it, you learn it.

We all come from diverse educational and experiential backgrounds. That does not mean that we can not find and experience passion within a new area of expertise such as procurement. The thing is, most associates will not do it by themselves.

If you want good results, create an educational plan for your associates that foster a passionate learning environment within the daily practice of their job.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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