DEVELOPMENT OF AN INNOVATIVE AND HARMONISED EUROPEAN CURRICULUM IN PURCHASING AND SUPPLY MANAGEMENT
A significant portion of the total turnover of a modern industrial firm in Europe is directly transferred to suppliers. This trend is detectable in all sectors, with average purchasing costs of approximately 60% of the overall costs (SCHMID & GROSCHE, 2008). This highlights the need for employees possessing the necessary skills and competences in the field of PSM (FEISEL ET AL., 2011; OGDEN ET AL., 2007). The importance of the strategic role of purchasers increases more and more in a highly linked and quickly changing business environment in which new trends arise constantly (PELLENGAHR ET AL., 2016; GIUNIPERO ET AL., 2006). The relevance of PSM has not yet been fully reflected in education. A couple of universities offer single PSM courses, but the imbalance between consecutive and executive programs points out the mismatch between offer and demand for PSM education. Unlike the current status in other disciplines, a harmonised higher education (HE) curriculum is nonexistent in PSM. This lack becomes evident at an international level when scanning the European educational landscape.
The development of a harmonised and empirically validated European curriculum for the PSM discipline offers a significant opportunity to improve the described circumstances by closing the gap between new industry requirements caused by changes like digitalisation and existing study programs. The pan-European approach gives rise to the possibility for students to be able to pursue their curricula Europe-wide, thereby giving them the chance to gain international experience, which is ideal for future careers in procurement. It as well strengthens the partnerships between HE institutions.
The most desired impact is an increase in the number of highly qualified students who are suitable for entering the workplace in PSM related jobs. An empirical profile analysis is essential in order to derive the competence requirements and to accomplish a fit between graduates and industry needs.
The paper focuses on the methodology, which was developed and successfully applied in the context of the EU project “Purchasing Education and Research for European Competence Transfer” (PERFECT) to develop the curriculum. The substantial steps are the needs assessment of competences and their validation followed by a final model of explicit and tacit competences to evolve by transfer into the curriculum. Literature research and qualitative benchmarking case studies were conducted and validated in a widespread survey to ensure a substantiated data base. Furthermore, the concrete results of this research regarding the discovered competences, which need to be taught, are presented in the paper.
In addition, besides regarding the content, learning methods, especially in the context of digitalisation of education, play an important role (THE GERMAN FORUM FOR HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE, 2016). Examples of these are given in the paper, as well. The curriculum will be structured in an innovative way. The modules combine the teaching of tacit and explicit knowledge. Larger modules will be used, instead of short modules only dealing with limited content, in order to integrate different topics and their interdependencies. Modern innovative and digital approaches, an industry classroom for close cooperation with practice, lots of project work, problem-based learning and case studies will be implemented. (EUROPEAN COMMISSION, 2014a; EUROPEAN COMMISSION, 2014b; YAKOVLEVA & YAKOVLEV, 2014)