Katia PICAUD-BELLO - Professeure ESSCA - Purchasing & Supply Management
Associate Professor of Purchasing and Supply Management - ESSCA

Stay up-to-date with online courses from the University of Twente on sustainable innovation sourcing and the cyber-physical world

Klaas Stek, Katia Picaud-Bello and Vincent Delke

Due to a tighter labour market and an increase in technologies and regulations, buyers are under increasing pressure. How do you, as a purchaser, stay up-to-date against the background of high-speed cyber-physical applications?

These developments lead to different processes and a different dynamic in supplier relationships. In addition, concerning the triple-P of people, planet and profit, companies must comply with due diligence laws and have socially and environmentally responsible policies towards the suppliers in their supply chain.

In addition, buyers face the challenge of attracting innovative suppliers to create and maintain competitive advantages. In short, due to these socio-demographic, environmental and technological changes, buyers are confronted with issues such as sustainable procurement, ethical and socially responsible procurement, and autonomous machine-to-machine communication in Industry 4.0 or Internet-of-Things era.

Buyers must keep themselves up to date with life-long learning. The University of Twente and eight European project partners present two freely accessible online courses on sustainable innovation sourcing (Project PERISCOPE) and procurement in the era of Industry 4.0 (Project PERSIST).

How buyers can benefit from the two online courses

The online courses are free and can be followed without time pressure. The first online course is from PERISCOPE and focuses on innovation sourcing in an environmentally friendly way.

The online course focuses on the intersections of (1) purchasing, (2) innovation and (3) sustainability and consists of video and reading material.

The PERSIST online course examines the new roles of procurement in the cyber-physical world in which systems of suppliers and buyers communicate autonomously with each other. The Internet of Things influences communication and interaction between these organisations. Buyers are given new roles and therefore need different knowledge and skills.

PERISCOPE - Purchasing with innovative and sustainable scope

The PERISCOPE project is intended to prepare students to develop the right purchasing competencies in the future field of innovation and sustainability. PERISCOPE is inspired by an earlier Erasmus+ strategic partnership called PERFECT. The PERFECT project provided a European procurement curriculum and an online course on financial procurement knowledge.

Since then, innovation and sustainability challenges in procurement faced by the European economy have gained importance. Within higher education and industry, there is a strong demand for management guidelines for innovation and sustainability and procurement staff training and preparation.

A team of leading experts from four European institutions worked on PERISCOPE: the University of Twente in Enschede (NL), ESSCA Management School in Angers (F), Copenhagen Business School in Copenhagen (DK), Graz University of Technology in Graz (A) and Audencia Business School in Nantes (F).

Through this collaboration, a standard profile of the expertise, knowledge and skills required for innovative and sustainable supply chain solutions has been established. In addition, an online course with new educational material has been made available and suitable for individual use.

Building on theoretical literature reviews, expert panel sessions and Delphi studies (i.e., multiple follow-up surveys), fourteen PSM skills and competencies were identified and introduced in an online course. This online course offers three main English modules focused on "Purchasing in Innovation" (MPI), "Sustainable Purchasing" (MSP) and "Purchasing in Innovation and Sustainability" (MISP). Periscope developed modules focused on sustainable procurement, circular supply chains, environmental and sustainability challenges in procurement, collaboration with start-ups, accountability, and supply chain stakeholders. Each module offers short, interactive videos, quizzes, and real-life case studies.

The primary learning outcome of this online course is to enable faculty, master's students, procurement, or anyone interested in innovative and sustainable procurement and supply management to identify, assess, apply and integrate existing scientific knowledge to analyse problems and design solutions in the field of innovation and sustainable procurement. Project PERISCOPE is focused on practice but received scientific "Best Paper Awards" at the scientific conferences in 2021 and 2022.

Click here to access the Periscope MOOC

PERSIST – Procurement in the era of Industry 4.0

In 2019, the international Erasmus+ project PERSIST (Purchasing Education Research Syndicate: Industry 4.0 Skills Transfer) started. The project was led by the University of Twente and carried out in collaboration with four other universities: TU Dortmund (D), Lappeenranta University of Technology in Lappeenranta (FIN), Edge Hill University in Ormskirk (GB) and University of Economics of Bratislava in Košice (SK ).

Project PERSIST aimed to investigate the role of procurement in the era of Industry 4.0. The project provided several scientific contributions and new teaching methods to prepare students for future technological developments. PERSIST presents an online course that uses new didactic elements for playful interaction and gamification.

The results of project PERSIST are relevant for procurement students and professionals. With the online course, one can prepare for the upcoming procurement challenges in the era of Industry 4.0. The starting point of the evidence-based findings of this project (in particular, the Delphi study in the intellectual results) clearly shows that the skills identified as relevant by experts are only, to a limited extent, represented in existing training programmes. Therefore, new knowledge must be transferred by participating in the developed educational modules.

The PERSIST course consists of five modules structured according to the purchasing process.

  • The learning experience begins with a brief introduction to the course and the Industry 4.0 context in procurement.
  • The second module focuses on the basis for advanced automation in procurement.
  • Third, eSourcing activities to select suppliers are discussed in Industry 4.0.
  • The fourth module focuses on eProcurement to facilitate operational procurement activities in Industry 4.0.
  • Finally, module five describes data analysis for Industry 4.0 procurement.

A case study is given during the course on how Industry 4.0 works in practice based on a business example. The project team developed this practical example and took a medium-sized company in the food industry as an example. Within the course, practical examples are introduced through various videos. Furthermore, the course uses multiple gamification elements to deepen students' understanding. These gamification elements are usually constructed as H5p elements and can be implemented within various learning management systems.

You are invited to use the online courses.

In the summer of 2022, PERISCOPE and PERSIST were jointly tested in practice by 65 international procurement and supply management students, academics, experts, professionals, and project supervisors. They attended the joint PERISCOPE-PERSIST event at the University of Twente. During this teaching-learning event, the students reflected on the presented study materials after the lectures.

A preview can already be found on the site of the PERISCOPE project: eu-periscope.essca.fr. The actual launch of the PERISCOPE online course is scheduled for April 2023.
PERSIST's online course is in an advanced stage and can be accessed via the project website project-persist.eu

Original article published in the Dutch newspaper NEVI Deal.

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