The power of simulation

Use of various forms of simulation can help to make training personalised to individual roles, and can recreate real working scenarios in a safe, virtual format. Walmart makes good use 360-degree video-based virtual reality to enhance store and management training, taking technology that was used for athletic programs and adapting it to involve human interactions.

Real-life face-to-face supplier meetings are not the place to “practise” the skill of influencing suppliers. Therefore, scenarios like supplier negotiation or a visit to a supplier factory work well in a simulated classroom environment.

The simulation involves pre-classroom eLearning to understand the tools and concepts, followed by a role-play based class event.

The training includes a mixture of visual prompts, role play and data analysis. Simulation is a safe test environment to try different behaviours and analysis activities and have a chance to reflect afterwards about which worked best.

Why does simulation work?

  • It is “safe” – a chance to experiment with behavioural change without disturbing supplier relationships.
  • It is challenging – using third parties to role play different scenarios takes learners out of their comfort zone.
  • It is familiar – the concepts are like the learners’ daily activity, so they can easily apply the ways of working and behaviors they would normally.
  • It uses “on the job” scenarios – the most effective learning is experimental. Using the 70:20:10 model, 70% of learning should be on the job and just 10% is formal. This style of learning brings real work examples that have been customised to fit a classroom event.
  • It is low cost – individual coaching and mentoring is an expensive solution to promote behavioural change. Simulation uses eLearning to prepare the leaner for a group event in the classroom environment. These all have a low cost per learners.

Simulation is a valuable addition to a Procurement Academy. A blend of self-directed learning and instructor-led learning is an efficient approach to achieve world class procurement practice.