A Museum of Procurement has been opened at the University of Arkansas (U of A) in the US to encourage innovation in the profession.
The museum, a collaboration between procurement analytics firm Arkestro and the university, features reproductions of influential procurement documents and instruments from around the world.
The attraction forms part of the U of A’s Supply Chain Hall of Fame, which showcases notable procurement professionals from throughout history, including Taiichi Ohno, creator of the Toyota Production System and just-in-time sourcing.
The museum “chronicles the evolution of the procurement function” and includes the earliest example of a goods receipt found in Babylon written in cuneiform – one of the oldest forms of writing known to man.
Other exhibits include the invention of the general ledger, double entry accounting, the development of enterprise resource planning systems and the creation of the internet.
Remko Van Hoek, supply chain management professor at the U of A and executive director of the Supply Chain Hall of Fame, said: “For most businesses, securing the right materials, resources or services is a core element of an effective, fully-functional supply chain.
“By spotlighting contributors to our profession in the Supply Chain Hall of Fame, we hope to stoke the enthusiasm of current and future leaders as they tackle challenges, drive innovation and continuous improvement.
“That’s why we are delighted to host Arkestro’s Museum of Procurement: it celebrates how today’s approaches come from a storied history and a grand tradition stretching back to antiquity and hopefully inspires efforts to further the field.”
Van Hoek said he hopes the museum will “create opportunities to learn from the best innovations and leadership accomplishments in procurement and supply chains to date and hopefully get inspired to innovate going forward, given how far we have to go”.
The hall of fame was established online in 2015 by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), and was later introduced as a physical hall in the U of A in 2020, where it highlights notable leaders in the function and supply chain innovations.
Inductees include Jeff Bazos, founder of Amazon, and Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company.
The CSCMP said its goal was “to energise the next generation of talent – both professionals and students – as they unleash their creativity and passion to pave the way for the supply chain of the future”.
Edmund Zagorin, CEO of Arkestro, said: “The museum is a celebration of the procurement profession. As we think about the future of procurement and supply chains, it's really important to understand those tech developments, the important moments and the people that brought us to the current moment that we are in.
“We want to really enable people who are working in the profession or who are curious about the profession to engage with the history in a very specific and rich way.”