As I finish instructing my current inventory management class, I was reflecting on the various remarks given by the students throughout the course— one stood out. An experienced plant manager was retaking CPIM because his certification had lapsed years ago. During the first session when we do introductions, the individual made this emphatic comment— “Going through the CPIM certification classes will give you X-Ray vision!” I could not help but to chuckle. I always tell students that supply chain touches everything and everything touches supply chain followed by, if there is a factory meeting going on, you probably need to be there. Yet, his remark summarized it much better.
Going through the course, I realized that APICS certifications classes are like a mini MBA. The sessions cover many aspects of management such as: operations, sourcing strategy, planning, logistics, manufacturing, supply chain as it relates to the financial statements, lean, analytical techniques and even dealing with people. It enables individuals to see around the corners and anticipate problems as well as to exploit opportunities well in advanced. As we moved along the coursework, the students were able to identify problems and root causes they were experiencing in their workplace. A few became eager to turns things around immediately. I advised them to slow down, take on a small project, collect solid data and present the data in an organized and convincing manner by using well-devised graphs and statistical analysis tools covered in our coursework. More importantly, I reminded them that we all work with people and we need to gain them over for change to take effect; use a change management and communication approach. Besides, if you do not have good data, all you have is an opinion. With our tight employment situation, enabling the organization with the right knowledge and training is critical to perform or even outperform the competition whichever the situation might be. This is even more so with the current pandemic situation.
From the instructor’s perspective, I am always thrilled to see the empowerment that comes from knowledge. This fuels my energies and pushes me to go beyond by providing additional material to enhance the sessions and ensure students have a good start. We were a bit behind on the syllabus, but it was fine. We all had fun learning.
Ramon A. Diaz, MBA, PMP, CPIM, CSCP
Published on March 12, 2020
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