In the modern network economy, more than half of the entire income of a firm is directly routed through to its suppliers. Hence, not only from the perspective of an individual firm, but from the perspective of European competitiveness the management of the buyer-supplier interface, i.e. professional Purchasing and Supply Management (PSM), is crucial. For that, world class training and education of purchasers are necessary. Since the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution (I4.0), cyber-physical systems with autonomous machine-to-machine communication are re-shaping parts of our economy. The PSM is one of the areas that is most strongly affected. Hence, the skill set purchasers need to manage and organise such systems and to efficiently prevail in an I4.0 world is changing, too. Within education as well as in industry there is a strong demand for directions on how to manage this change in general and how to educate and prepare the purchasing workforce in particular.
The aim and innovation of the PERSIST project lies in: a) identifying those skills which are likely to prevail and those which are newly added to the profile of a European purchaser to develop an I4.0 PSM Skill framework and b) developing a module-based course for higher education to teach these skills and c) to develop new, gamification and playful interaction oriented didactical elements for purpose student-centered teaching approach, including a gamified MOOC.
The challenge is that currently very little knowledge is available on how to react to the I4.0 induced change from an educational perspective. The following questions arise:
• How will the purchaser in the I4.0 have to act?
• Which skills and knowledge are purchasers likely to need in I4.0?
• And how to train current students as purchasers of the future in an efficient, modern way (i.e. student-centred), i.e. already reflecting the new technologies?
The PERSIST consortium consists of five partners University Twente, TU University Dortmund, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Edge Hill University and EUB Bratislava with complementary skills in order to achieve the project objective and milestones. It brings together leading universities in PSM, European project management competence and practical exposure (e.g. associations and industry partner) with a very strong background and international network in PSM. For the evaluation and dissemination of project results the project consortium will be supported by an advisory board and associated partners.
PERSIST uses a set of methods, including expert interviews and Delphi for the generation and verification of knowledge. For the practical application of a novel and student-centered teaching format, a module-based course using gamification elements and playful interaction concepts will be designed and created to train I4.0 changes. To design the module-based course the project PERSIST follows the didactic approach of Constructive Alignment for the design of competence-oriented lectures in academic contexts, starting with the definition of competence-oriented learning outcomes.
Upon completion of PERSIST the following will be available:
1. Providing a framework for PSM Skills in I4.0 for academics and practitioners (knowledge, skills and traits)
2. Description of a multi-perspective approach to the collection of future competence requirements for PSM managers in the context of I4.0 (best practice world café, expert interviews and Delphi study)
3. Describing a procedure for using gamification elements and playful interaction concepts in teaching courses (accessible tool-set using modern didactical tools such as online digital learning elements, gamification, MOOC)
4. Developing a module-based course with digital and gamification elements for I4.0 PSM Skills
5. Developing and providing open-source learning material to prepare students and professionals for the changes in PSM in the era of I4.0, e.g. gamified MOOC
PERSIST will support Europe to seize the chances I4.0 is presenting, at a crucial interface. I4.0 is a great chance for the industrialised economies of Europe, which, however, have to get enabled to coin the revolution. On the long term, PERSIST is addressing an exceptionally strong lever to provide the European economy with a competitive advantage through embracing inevitable change. Via new learning and teaching methods in I4.0 PSM the students will form the future workforce in PSM in the I4.0 era and will lead to a better communication and understanding in strategic buyer – supplier relations.