Commentary | Smart Moves

E-Learning Boosts Supply Chain Management Expertise

Tags: Education & Careers, Certifications, Industry Associations, Education, Supply Chain

ML Peck is Senior Vice President, Programs and Product Development, Institute for Supply Management, 480-752-6276

The rapid pace of business requires all of us to invest in our teams while quickly learning new skills and taking on new responsibilities. The supply management sector is becoming increasingly more strategic, requiring its professionals to develop new competencies while they are in the midst of busy careers.

Procurement professionals must continually sharpen their skills in negotiation and risk assessment, for example, in order to meet increasing requests from consumers for products that cost less but deliver high quality and are environmentally friendly. They also need to stay current on disruptive technological innovations like robotics and drones that can cause a shift in the business.

Successful companies recognize the need to focus on training and development, and they seek and highly value employees who demonstrate a continuous learning mindset. As a result, companies and professionals who focus on continuous learning and development are positioned for growth.

Companies are demanding increased efficiency and productivity from their employees. And, they are turning to technology as a crucial enabler to meet organizational and individual learning needs and deliver smart, relevant content that is easily accessed anytime, anywhere on any internet-enabled device.

E-Learning revolution

With these benefits, it’s no wonder e-learning as an educational offering is revolutionizing corporate training. In fact, more than 75 percent of companies in the United States offer online corporate training to their employees, according to eLearningindustry.com, an online community of professionals involved in the e-learning industry.

With e-learning, employees can take their courses any time, set their schedule to learn at their own pace, and retain more information in less time. It requires 40 percent to 60 percent less time from employees than learning the same material in a classroom, according to a study by the Brandon Hall Group.

Other research demonstrates additional benefits that combine to make e-learning one of the fastest growing industries in the world:

  • E-learning increases retention rates compared to face-to-face training because e-learning students have more control over the learning process, including the opportunity to revisit the training as needed.
  • Companies report an increase in their competitive edge and in revenue as a result of offering corporate training through e-learning because it creates a more engaged workforce.
  • Companies save millions of dollars in costs associated with travel, lodging and meals, equipment, and instructors as they maximize their employees’ time.

E-learning can be particularly beneficial for corporate enterprises since it enables them to make training available to large numbers of employees whose time for ongoing education in the workplace is limited. It also ensures that employees are receiving consistent training regardless of geographic location or occupations that require significant travel.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) introduced its own custom online learning program in spring 2016 called “eISM.” It offers different learning options suited to different styles or requirements such as 15-minute or less learning modules, courses ranging from three to five weeks, and individual modules for self-paced learning.

E-learning educates employees more efficiently and effectively, and enables businesses to adapt more quickly to change, helping both to keep their competitive advantage in this fast-paced world. While many industries can benefit from it, supply management professionals in particular can now consider this as yet another tool to remain competitive.






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