Procurement, Supply Chain and Sales Academy: Competency Development Experts
Thomas Schmitt, Senior VP of Global Business Development
Companies who provide e-learning face many daunting challenges. One of these is to create courses that have all the effectiveness of traditional classroom training. However, forward thinking companies see that classroom training does not allow specified and directed training to everyone. Procurement (and now Supply Chain and Sales) Academy, has developed training programs that focus on the competencies needed within each role within the desired community, unlike the one-size-fits-all training seen in classroom training. A challenge for most e-learning organizations is they either have subject matter experts or learning experts, but not both. This leads to the creation of courses that either lack the required competencies or lack the learning experience. Procurement Academy covers both sides of this equation by first acquiring knowledge from their team of subject matter experts, and then turning over course creation to learning experts to develop a training regime that helps convey the information effectively to the trainees. Moreover, the goal within this Academy framework is not knowledge transfer. As Procurement Academy works explicitly with businesses, their offerings use an understanding of how the brain works to help transform how individuals operate in their day to day jobs. Learning plans have been developed by researching the global best practices followed by many of the most effective teams in the world like GE and Johnson & Johnson (two of their over 150 global clients) and working closely with them to define competencies needed to succeed. “We have created a disruptive process that ensures that each person gets the right training to succeed in their role within an organization,” says Thomas Schmitt, Senior VP of Global Business Development at Procurement Academy.
The company takes a proven step-by-step process to deliver training programs to their clients. The first step is partnering with the clients to define roles within their team and discussing the competencies required to excel based upon global best practices.Based upon this information, Procurement Academy maps out learning plans for each role from their over 750 courses specific to Procurement (or Supply Chain and Sales as applicable). From here, individualized skills gap analysis is performed so each trainee understands the growth they need to excel in their role. From this, an individualized learning plan is generated. The right training, at the right level, for everyone on the team.
To ensure that the trainees do not forget what they have learned (using studies and expertise in “the forgetting curve”) the company provides ten minutes vignettes that are scenario-based simulations that the individuals take as part of their continual learning plan. Procurement Academy also provides organizations with the ability to conduct webinars to discuss the different nuances that are present in their organization.
This is followed by the final process called application-based tasks which is the hands-on application of what they have learned that was solidified in the simulations and finally is displayed in their workplace.
We are now seen as not just procurement and supply chain experts but corporate training experts
The company’s training programs have been certified through a very stringent process by the International Federation of Purchasing & Supply Management (IFPSM). The entire process including how the training regime is created, how courses are assigned, and every other aspect that goes into an effective training regime was evaluated. “We are the first business to business entity to be able to provide this stringent certification from the IFPSM,” says Schmitt with pride.
Using a license-based model, “It is cheaper than attending a seminar, and learners have at their hands the full explosion of our courses,” says Schmitt. “Our training programs are robust and complete, which removes the need for any additional augmentation.”
A standard challenge in e-learning is having individuals complete their training regimen. This is not the case with Procurement Academy. Whereas other e-learning programs yield 30 to 50 percent completion rates, Procurement Academy averages between 95 and 100 percent completion within each custom academy.
Initially, many clients turn to Procurement Academy with similar challenges. As with one of their recent client’s experiences, they were a global company who had offices, warehouses, and different procurement teams throughout the entire world. The problem was that everyone was working in separate silos of their own. They brought in Procurement Academy, and through their training, the company was able to centralize and make uniform all the different teams and processes. This helped their client streamline their processes and ultimately, reduce procurement costs. "Even with our implementation costs, they have been able to achieve a tremendous ROI in the first year. From here, savings just grow and grow as the team continues to improve," says Schmitt. He also notes that their client was not only able to improve their efficiency, but they were also able to retain more employees because people felt more promotable.
2018 brought a new reality to the Procurement and Supply Chain Academies “Model.” “Because of the effectiveness of our Academy role-based learning strategy, we have been asked to expand our offerings past procurement and supply chain. We were challenged to provide the same model to expand to other areas of corporate training,” says Schmitt. In working with clients, they have now recently opened a Sales Academy that has a full curriculum dedicated exclusively to sales professionals. The creation and execution employs the same model used in their original Procurement Academy. By focusing on Application Based e-Learning and Role Based Competency Development, the Procurement, Supply Chain, and now Sales Academies are poised to continue to disrupt the corporate training industry.