Let the Games Begin – The Sequel – Part I of II

December 8th, 2014

What if you could develop new ways to train incoming procurement professionals that fit the talents they already have?


Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing.

Last year Paul Teague published a blog about the possibility of developing a video game type of training program to train new procurement professionals more about the industry. So with the 20th anniversary of what is arguably the most popular video game family ever, the Sony PlayStation, we will explore a few of the ways a game like that would need to work in order to be an effective training tool.

Analyzing the spend – The beginning part of any procurement professionals journey with a company and thus the beginning of this game would need to focus on understanding the company spend.  This includes direct as well as indirect expenses as they may apply.  This phase would focus on where different company types spend their money and what types of criteria make one category a better one to focus on than another (Hint: it’s not always about the size of the spend!).  Criteria such as approaching contract deadlines and diversity of a categories incumbent supplier base can also factor into this process.   The key to passing this level is to gain an understanding of how to prioritize the projects for what will surely be an understaffed and over worked procurement team in order to get the best results.

Understanding complex categories – As the game progresses, like any game, it will progress in difficulty the longer you play and this procurement training game would be no different.  Eventually it would get to very complex categories such as fuel, temporary labor, heavy equipment with dozens of options, etc.  With each complex category mission there would be challenges the user must overcome in order to even get the company executives to even pursue it.  Another key would be to understand not only how to execute the project but how to communicate internally what the project goal is so that time invested is not wasted because the right people weren’t engaged.

Engaging the suppliers – One of the aspects that would pop up in the projects a user must complete, but especially for the complex categories, is the management and engagement of suppliers.  There would obviously be several levels to master in this area because managing suppliers with a $100M company is altogether different than managing those same suppliers for a $100B company.  The game would need to help develop the skills to manage both incumbent vendors when there is only one incumbent, when there is more than one incumbent and when a category is brand new and has no incumbent supplier.  This would also be one of the most frustrating areas for users to master because of the dynamic nature of suppliers and how they react to a given scenario and how the user communicates with them as the game/project progresses.

Until a training module gets developed you can contact SafeSourcing for ideas on how to bring new resources up to speed.  For more information on that, our procurement Wiki or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

Stay tuned for the second part of this blog series tomorrow.

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