Free MOOC on Purchasing and Supply Management (PSM) Fundamentals

  • Self-study course
  • Free of charge
  • Material available

What is this course about?

More than half of the total turnover of a modern industrial firm in Europe is directly transferred to suppliers and the bulk of supplies is no longer of domestic origin but European and international. Network economies with a low depth of production and high reliance on international suppliers let firms struggle to cope with the complexity and the new responsibilities. There is no harmonised skill profile and competence set for Purchasing & Supply Management (PSM).

This course arises from the Erasmus+ project “Purchasing Education and Research for European Competence Transfer“ (PERFECT) (www.project-perfect.eu) which develops a harmonised curriculum in PSM and aims at an increase in the number of highly qualified students who are suitable for entering the workplace in PSM related jobs in any size of organization and industrial setting.

For Sttafordshire Business School Dr Steve Kelly (now at Edge Hill) and Marzena Reska were the staff involved in the project.

What do you learn in this course?

  • Identify the basic role, benefits, processes and aspects of a PSM department and a variety of specific job roles.
  • Apply a range of purchasing techniques and tools to purchasing activities.
  • Describe cross-functional connections between purchasing and other departments, and departments’ connections to external stakeholders.
  • Identify opportunities and challenges when acting as the interface between internal customer requirements and external supply networks.
  • Understand the impact of supplier relationship management on PSM performance and apply collaboration tools.
  • Evaluate trends and developments in PSM and interpret their consequences.

How is the course structured?

Over the course, you have the chance to participate in the following sequences on Purchasing & Supply Management (PSM) basics.

  • Introduction to project PERFECT
  • Definition and Meaning of PSM
  • PSM Organisation and Roles
  • PSM Processes
  • Strategic Procurement
  • Offers, negotiations, contracts
  • Supplier Relationship Management
  • Procurement Technology & Digitalisation
  • PSM Controlling
  • Risk Management in PSM

Enrol free now: www.oncampus.de/weiterbildung/mooc/perfect?lang=en

Funded by the ERASMUS + PROGRAMME

 

 

 

Disclaimer
The creation of these resources has been (partially) funded by the ERASMUS+ grant program of the European Union
under grant no. 2015-1-DE01-KA203-002174.
Neither the European Commission nor the project‘s national funding agency DAAD are responsible for the content or liable for any losses or damage resulting of the use of these resources.

What is a university for?

Professor Jess Power, Associate Dean – Students


There are several possible interpretations of the fundamental role of a university, however the one that holds close to my values and beliefs is “the university” as an institution for the creation and dissemination of knowledge, creating graduates who have a genuine commitment to making the world a better place and of being significant players in civil society. The western university model has been a remarkable success and is one in which we should have immense pride. Operational freedom within an interactive setting which enables excellence across teaching, research, learning and enterprise opening unlimited opportunities for many. However, in an increasingly complex and uncertain world the role of the university is constantly being questioned. In particular there has been a recent drive for developing “value”, in the form of employable work ready graduates. This may be interpreted as a set of desirable skills and attributes to be embedded within the curriculum or perhaps and more importantly the development of an entrepreneurial mind-set. The ability to think outside the box, to adapt and respond to change in a fast paced environment and more importantly the ability to be able to communicate within and beyond their academic discipline is perceived key to graduates contributing to societal challenges.

In today’s global economy and in society as a whole we are faced with many complex challenges (clean water, ageing population, disaster management, global-warming, sustainable food production, transitioning populations), which require new ways of working. It is widely accepted that innovative and sustainable solutions for many complex global social issues reach far beyond the boundaries of a single academic discipline or methodological approach and as such the practical argument for embedding interdisciplinarity and interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities into the learning experience within universities is strong. Interdisciplinary working is widely accepted to be the new mode of knowledge production, it focuses on building intellectual capacity and is supported by government policy makers and research funding agencies. Many of the most exciting developments cross traditional disciplinary boundaries and therefore have great potential to break through complex societal problems and foster innovation.

The concept of interdisciplinarity within Higher Education is not new: Thompson and Fogel (1921), acknowledged in their publication ‘Higher Education and Social Change’ that all social problems require interdisciplinary skills and knowledge. They expanded on this by stating: “if graduates … are to be societies’ leaders …they need a broad social and historical perspective that is difficult to achieve in one discipline”. Thompson and Forgel’s (1921) paper highlighted specifically the need for Higher Educational institutions to promote interdisciplinarity as a means of developing the essential skills of leadership required to impact on civil society.

So, what is a university for? It is to change mind-set, opening up opportunities to bring together individuals to generate knowledge to solve societal problems for the good of mankind. Thus, the connections we make, the disciplines we cross and the knowledge we form are only part of the picture, it is the transformative impact on people’s life’s that we make that hold the true meaning of the value of a university, which instil the leadership qualities desired to make the world a better place.

 

Thompson, K.W. & Fogel, B.R. (1921). Higher Education and Social Change: Promising Experiments in Developing Countries. Vol 1 Reports. US: Praeger.

www.staffs.ac.uk 

Introducing Dr Alyson Nicholds, our new Associate Professor

 

Dr Alyson Nicholds, Associate Professor (Business Management), Staffordshire Business School

I am delighted to be joining Staffordshire Business School as Associate Professor (Business Management).  This is my 5th University, having previously worked at Leeds Beckett, Birmingham, Middlesex and Coventry in various teaching/ research roles.

Dr Alyson Nicholds

Dr Alyson Nicholds

I’m probably best described as an ‘interdisciplinary’ academic of all things Public Policy. What this means, is that I bring to bear all my past professional experience (as Nurse, Health Promoter and Development Officer) to analyse, empirically, ‘what works’ in health, social care, urban, science and technology policy.

I do this by exploring ‘why policy fails’, but this is not by evaluating the impact of policy is (i.e. rationally), but by analysing ‘why practitioners do what they do’ (i.e. the accounts that professionals provide of their practice). We call this more novel type of research ‘discourse analysis’ and it works by paying close attention to the language embedded in what practitioners say and do i.e.:-

  • How professionals ‘describe’ how they do what they do (‘functionalist discourse’);
  • How professionals ‘interpret/ frame’ why they do what they do (‘constructivist discourse’);
  • How the context ‘shapes/ constrains’ what professionals say and do (‘dialogic discourse’);
  • How society ‘influences’ what it’s possible to say and do (‘critical discourse’)

Discourse analysis is therefore important because it addresses some of the limitations of more rational/ scientific approaches to traditional policy analysis which typically ignores the human voice. Hence, much of my early work has involved applying the second type of discourse (constructivist discourse) to real-life cases, as with my PhD, which revealed regeneration professionals’ shared experiences of the barriers to effective regeneration in the East and West Midlands[1] [1a].  Indeed, this was so compelling, that I’m now reanalysing this data using the third type of discourse (i.e. dialogic discourse) to understand ‘why actors don’t do what they say’!

Other work, using this more ‘constructivist discourse’ approach, involved a large scale NHS funded study (Post Doc) to ascertain the value of different joint commissioning arrangements in health and social care (i.e. in 6 NHS Trusts in England)[2]; and scientists’ preferences for sharing knowledge in a global network (i.e. the large-scale physics experiment known as the hadron collider at the CERN facility in Switzerland) [3].

More recently I’ve been working with colleagues from Birmingham and Middlesex to analyse how formal and informal leaders prefer to lead in sub-national urban development places (i.e. the Smart Cities policy initiative)[4]. My latest work explores the practical applications of all of this type of discourse work in transforming the social outcomes of public policy through greater reflexivity in management learning. In future blogs, I’ll be writing about this and the different ways we might better research these complex types of policy problems, to address widening social and economic inequality.

[1] http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/3495/1/Nicholds12PhD.pdf

[1a] Alyson Nicholds (2011) Making sense of urban policy failure in complex times, Regional Insights, 2:2, 18-20, DOI: 10.1080/20429843.2011.9727924

[2] Helen Dickinson, Stephen Jeffares, Alyson Nicholds & Jon Glasby (2014) Beyond the Berlin Wall?: Investigating joint commissioning and its various meanings using a Q methodology approach, Public Management Review, 16:6, 830-851, DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2012.757353

[3] Mabey, C. & Nicholds, A. (2015) Discourses of knowledge across global networks: What can be learnt about knowledge leadership from the ATLAS collaboration? International Business Review, Volume 24, Issue 1, February 2015, Pages 43–54. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969593114000754

[4Alyson Nicholds, John Gibney, Chris Mabey & Dan Hart (2017) Making sense of variety in place leadership: the case of England’s smart cities, Regional Studies, 51:2, 249-259, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2016.1232482

Harnessing the power of social media for small businesses

Written by June Dennis, Dean of Staffordshire Business School, Chartered Marketer and Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.


If you only have a small marketing budget, social media can seem like an ideal way to promote your product or service. Twenty years ago marketers could only dream of having access to such a huge audience so quickly.  However, where does one start?

Here are just four suggestions that could help you get more out of that limited budget:

Know your audience – it’s so obvious, but it’s really easy to make the simple mistake of taking your eye off the ball when it comes to ensuring your communication channels and messages are targeted at the appropriate audience(s).  We can get carried away by all the opportunities open to us that we forget what the purpose of engaging with social media actually was!  For example, why use Facebook if you’re primarily targeting a business-to-business audience?  (Sometimes, there’s good reason to do so, but you need to know why).  Spend time to make sure you know who your intended target audience is and what the key message is that you want to communicate with them.  Only then can you identify and choose the communication methods which best fit your message and audience.

Know your limitations – basically, don’t try to do too much!  Social media may seem very low cost compared to other forms of advertising or sales promotion, but there is still the cost of your time to factor in, at the very least.  It’s also very content hungry and if you commit, say, to writing a daily blog or tweeting several times a day, you may find you crash very soon.  Take note of what other businesses your size manage to do and try, where possible, to plan out your messages in advance.

Know how to create synergy – try to use the same or similar content more than once if you can. So, if you write a blog or post something on LinkedIn, can you direct people to it via Twitter? Could you use the copy for some promotional material or a newsletter? When you put something on YouTube, how can you maximise its use? It’s pretty obvious, but not everyone does it. Encourage customers and staff to send in stories which you can promote. I’ve found that people get a buzz from seeing something they’ve submitted being used or published and it creates a virtuous circle and they submit more material….

And, finally, think of ways you can work with others to create mutual benefit. A while back, I did an interview for a friend who was looking to increase traffic to her website via YouTube. As a result, I also sent links to my contact to her webpage and used the content of the interview to develop this blog. We both benefited and had some fun doing it.

Undergraduate courses

Postgraduate courses

The age of innovation: Has the time come for the paradigm shift in innovation policy?

By Ema Talam

The United Kingdom is classified as Innovation Leader in the latest European Innovation Scoreboard. Although it excels in performance compared to the European Union average in 2017 on various indicators used (e.g. International scientific co-publications, Innovative SMEs collaborating with others, Foreign doctorate students, etc.), it stands out that the United Kingdom performs very poorly compared to the EU average  on the following indicators: R&D expenditure in the public sector and R&D expenditure in the business sector (the percentages for the UK are 67.0% and 85.1% of the EU average in 2017, respectively) (European Commission, 2018).

Businesses in the UK are the main contributors to the total R&D expenditure and this contribution has increased from 2005 on wards. Hodges (2018) points out: “Focusing on civil (non-defence related) R&D, in 2016 53% of all R&D performed in the UK was funded by businesses, 8% by higher education institutions or funding councils, and 17% by government, including the research councils”.

Increasingly, the majority of funding for R&D performed by businesses comes from businesses themselves—the share was 63.0% in 2010 and was 10 percentage point higher in 2016. The government funding for R&D performed by businesses decreased by 2.1 percentage point from 2013 until 2016 (from 9.9% to 7.8%) (Hogdes, 2018).  Research and development also becomes important in the context of Brexit. Dhingra et al. (2017) recognise lower research and development as one the factors that can lead to productivity and welfare losses in the event of Brexit.

The importance of innovation for growth is often emphasised (Van Reenen, 2011). Furthermore, my previous blogs 1, 2, 3 gave detailed accounts on the links between innovation, productivity and exporting. Although not the sole determinant of innovation, the role of research and development (R&D) can be significant in the process of innovation of a firm (OECD/Eurostat, 2005; What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015a; What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015b).

Due to the presence of market failures, governments use different instruments to increase private R&D spending by firms and commonly used ones are R&D tax credits and R&D subsidies. When it comes to R&D tax credits, firms make their own innovation choices, while in the case of R&D subsidies, policymakers are the ones who choose to whom the subsidy will be granted (What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015a; Dechezlepretre et al., 2016). Numerous studies have dealt with the issue of effectiveness of R&D tax credits and R&D subsidies on increasing R&D investment, innovation or economic performance of a firm.

Some empirical evidences suggest that R&D tax credits have been effective in increasing R&D investment, innovation and improving economic outcomes of a firm (Czarnitzki et al., 2011; What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015a; Dechezlepretre et al., 2016). For example, Dechezlepretre et al. (2016), using UK data, show that R&D tax credits had positive impact on innovation (i.e. patents), productivity, sales and employment. The effectiveness of R&D tax credits is shown to be different in different industries and sectors the firms are operating in (i.e. differences in the effectiveness are found between high- and low-tech industries), the size of firms (i.e. predominantly, the effect is larger for SMEs) and the age of a firm (i.e. R&D tax credits are more effective for young compared to older firms) (Castellacci and Lie, 2015; What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015a; Dechezlepretre et al., 2016). Evidence also shows that the impact of R&D tax credits is larger in the long-run (Bloom et al., 2002).

The impact of R&D grants, loans and subsidies on R&D expenditure, innovation and economic outcomes is inconclusive (What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015b). However, the study by Benavente et al. (2007) on Chile, found the positive impact of R&D subsidies on: process innovation, employment, sales and exports. Furthermore, the analysis by Dimos and Pugh (2016) shows that R&D subsidies have a positive, but small effect on private R&D. In particular, they state that: “findings reject crowding out of private investment by public subsidy but reveal no evidence of substantial additionality” (Dimos and Pugh, 2016, p. 811).

Latest thinking on innovation policy suggests that, in order to achieve smart, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, the focus of government intervention should not be on fixing market failures. Instead, Kattel and Mazzucato (2018) point out to the importance of mission-oriented policies and state: “The role of the public sector here is not just about de-risking, and levelling the playing field, but tilting the playing field in the direction of the desired goals—creating and shaping markets which increase the expectations of business around future growth opportunities, thus driving private investment.” (p. 2). In this case, quantity or rate of innovation are believed to be the second-order issues, while quality and direction of innovations emerge as the top priorities. According to the authors, putting missions at the heart of innovation policy can be used to address numerous challenges and problems that today’s societies are facing. Public investments centred around particular mission can create new markets and shape the existing ones. Mission-oriented policies, according to the authors, are gaining on popularity again.

Innovation matters. Due to its economy-wide impact, governments use different measures to support innovation. Approaches aimed at fixing market failures, such as R&D tax credits and R&D subsidies, generally showed to be effective, although sometimes having only small effects. However, throughout the history, there were also evidences of successful mission-oriented policies that re-shaped the whole societies. Given the stated, the real question is: Has the time come for the paradigm shift in innovation policy?

References – Innovation policy blog – v249 are here