Workshop in 3D world thrills supply chain professionals

Supply Chain Media recently organized an interactive workshop in a 3D world for Swiss multinational Givaudan, a manufacturer of cosmetic ingredients, flavours and fragrances. A total of 12 supply chain professionals participated, each with their own avatar, from their home location – which ranged from Singapore and Spain to Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. During the workshop, Martijn Lofvers, Chief Trendwatcher at Supply Chain Media, provided a glimpse of the future of knowledge management supported by a machine learning-based knowledge bank.

While many employees are becoming a little jaded by the steady stream of Zoom, Teams or Webex meetings that accompany working from home, many of their children are happy to spend hours in 3D game worlds such as Fortnite or Minecraft. Over the course of more than two hours, the Supply Chain Media workshop demonstrated to the 12 supply chain professionals that the virtual gaming world is actually ideal for business use.

Multiple pavilions

The workshop started with each participant’s own 3D avatar ‘landing’ on the sun deck of the virtual island called Aula, where the Supply Chain Media hosts Tiffany van Kasteel and Nicole Messink were waiting to greet them. First of all, the participants were shown a map of the virtual tropical island which comprises multiple pavilions, each with their own functionalities. Martijn Lofvers explained how the avatars could walk, run, fly and teleport across the island.

After a brief round of introductions, since some of the colleagues had never actually met one another in real life, Lofvers led the participants to the roundtable room. The various methods of making the avatars move around created some amusing situations, which immediately helped to break the ice before the in-depth discussion got underway.

The participants spent 20 minutes telling the whole group which two supply chain topics were at the top of the list of priorities in their specific roles. The avatar of Nicole Messink noted down all the topics as they spoke, so the participants could see all the priorities visualized on a board immediately after the effective discussion.

Gallery of statements

To encourage further discussion between the participants, they were divided up into pairs and led through a gallery where they could see thought-provoking statements – supported by Supply Chain Media’s characteristic illustrations of Erik Kriek – on the wall. In the gallery, participants could only hear one another if their avatars were standing close together. Known as ‘noise cancellation’, this applied in the bar area too, which is where the avatars went during the coffee break. While sitting at the bar during the break, for example, one of Givaudan’s supply chain directors chatted to a brand-new colleague from Singapore.

After the break, the participants were split into two groups and their avatars set to work on a pile of supply chain projects written on Post-it notes, prioritizing them into ‘execute’, ‘plan’, ‘delegate’ or ‘ignore’. An exercise of this kind rapidly reveals whether all the priorities are clear to all the different departments within an organization.

The supply chain professionals from Givaudan were then asked which information they needed in order to execute the key projects as quickly as possible. Insight into that need for information was essential in preparation for the use of SCM WisDome, Supply Chain Media’s new digital knowledge bank supported by machine learning. Once the participants had created a personal user profile in SCM WisDome, they could go in search of the information they required for those key projects.

Enthusiastic feedback and follow-up

All the participants from Givaudan were extremely enthusiastic about the 3D world: “It really feels like you’re actually standing right across from one another. The 2.5-hour workshop simply flew by,” said Joris Jellema, Global Head Supply Chain Flavours at Givaudan, who would love to see board meetings and perhaps even international S&OP meetings held in this 3D world.

The participants were also impressed by SCM WisDome. Despite containing a huge and varied range of practically oriented supply chain articles published in the quarterly trade magazine Supply Chain Movement over the past ten years, the knowledge bank can be searched amazingly quickly and easily. As the supply chain professionals use this knowledge bank over the next six months, the algorithms will analyse their searching and reading behaviour to reveal which topics are really attracting the most interest within Givaudan.

Supply Chain Media will organize company-specific knowledge management workshops on the virtual island for more multinationals in the near future. This 3D world also makes it possible to bring together supply chain executives from different companies, enabling them to share knowledge more easily and interactively, and helping them to achieve much-needed synergy in their mutual supply chains.

Watch the video of the Givaudan workshop here!