ec-bp's Bloggers

What Can Supply Chain Management Learn From On-Line Video Games

Written by Ken Kinlock
Published on Tuesday, 27 November 2012

onlinegameOne of the biggest sources of entertainment today is on-line video games. I don't mean the single player or two players type, but the group versions. No, it is not just kids; many adults play too (rather than playing bridge or golf). There is a huge amount of  collaboration and social networking going on too. The Extended Supply Chain has much to learn from them.

With the Extended Supply Chain (ESC), we are stressing the importance of collaboration, communications, knowledge-sharing. To do it right, we need to change our corporate cultures. The “gamers” are there already with their culture. They go through two stages of learning: (1) the techniques of the game itself; and (2) the social aspect of the game (i.e. collaboration).

Most popular platforms used are: Xbox LIVE, SONY Entertainment NETWORK and World of Warcraft. The first two provide lots of other services like music and videos. Xbox Live even goes beyond. They have email (branded HotMail), search (Bing), and an Internet browser.  Their aim is to provide ALL the Internet experience for their registered users and build a community.  World of Warcraft concentrates on THE GAME, but maybe that is what their user community does too. They do have features like blogs.

One of the actions the ESC just talks about is after-action reviews. The gamers do this as a matter of course. During a game, they can communicate “off-game”; talk strategy, pass on best practices, help newer team members.

Best practices don't travel that well in an ESC. In the gaming world, they do.

Where are we heading? Well, we have Retail Universe with its “ORBITS” and Google+ with its CIRCLES and HANGOUTS. These are only a couple of many examples.

No, I am not a gamer. Once I tried on-line golf and my “character” was Tiger Woods who proceeded to set a World record for the number of “whiffs” (one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a golfer).  However, I am getting better at using the various social networks that are available today to help the ESC.

So what is the takeaway? Understand your ESC members and provide as many needed/requested services as possible with a single logon.

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