Professional development is critical in any industry, including supply chain management. For years, the focus of skill development and career-related education has been on individuals in the production, inventory and general management sectors of this field. Now, employees working in logistics, transportation and distribution also have opportunities to further their knowledge of the job, thanks to a new certification program from APICS.
APICS Creates New Credential Program
APICS has a long history of being a leader in supply chain management. The organization launched the Certified in Production and Inventory Management program in 1973 and has continued to influence the industry since then. Today, APICS has 45,000 members and about 300 channel partners.
According to the company's website, its mission is to apply collective knowledge, research and new ideas to drive end-to-end supply chain management. In turn, this will create value for all constituents along the supply chain, from customers to businesses as a whole.
One of APICS' latest projects continues the organization's work in setting standards of excellence for all parts of the supply chain. According to a July 2016 company press release, APICS launched its first Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD) credential program, which has been a work in progress since late 2015.
Those enrolled in the program will receive the most up-to-date research in addition to current best practices, allowing them to keep pace with the constant evolution of the supply chain. Specifically, according to APICS, professionals who earn CLTD designation will be provided the tools and knowledge necessary to bring innovative ideas to their logistics jobs, develop an in-depth awareness of current industry trends and have an understanding of what's to come in this field. They will also learn what steps supply chains must take to increase efficiency and boost customer satisfaction.
The program has eight modules as learning tools. After going through those lessons, participants will take the CLTD exam. Passing that test will give them an edge over the competition when it comes to securing a job. However, individuals hoping to take the exam must ascertain if they are eligible, which means they need three years of related business experience, a bachelor's degree or have one of the other designations offered by APICS.
A Well-Timed Delivery
The addition of the CLTD designation to the library of other certifications offered by APICS comes at a time when professional development among logistics personnel is key. Logistics is a $1.3 trillion industry, according to Fortune, but it needs new talent to keep up with its own growth. Material Handling Industry CEO George Prest told Fortune that there are plenty of opportunities just waiting for young professionals.
"There are currently six to eight management jobs available for each applicant we get, and the median salary is about $80,000," said Prest, and that includes logistic-specific roles.
Automated Data Collection: What New Logistics Professionals Need to Know
Those looking to break through in this career path may benefit from getting the CLTD designation as well as staying up to date on supply chain management trends, including the growing importance of data analytics.
At this point, integrating automated data collection solutions into the supply chain isn't a luxury - it's a necessity. Companies need the efficiency and accuracy advantages of this type of technology. In fact, supplementing ERP systems with automated data collection solutions can solve just about any supply chain challenge.
According to the RFgen white paper, "8 Signs You Need an Automated Data Collection Solution," using paper-based methods for job-related activities is still an all-too-common practice in the supply chain management industry. Between the time it takes to write down information, the effort required for keeping papers organized and the risk for human error with these outdated processes, it is clear they are no longer sufficient solutions. After all, the supply chain industry is growing and consumer demands are changing, which means companies must be able to deliver merchandise as quickly as possible.
Logistic professionals can contribute to this effort by pushing for automated data collection solutions, which can replace those time-consuming paper-based documentation strategies. Automated data collection solutions use logic and predefined standards to mitigate the risk of inaccuracies that come with manual methods.
Additionally, there is always the potential for new government regulations on the supply chain, and even already-existing ones require updated technology. Logistics professionals should enter the field equipped with knowledge on how to increase traceability. As the RFgen white paper explained, this is especially true when it comes to recalls. The real challenge of this supply chain obstacle is to quickly identify affected products, where that merchandise is located and how the supply chain will perform the recall. Automated data collection solutions can help with this process and reduce the financial, reputation and health impacts of the recall.
There are so many logistics employment opportunities that those looking to break through in supply chain management may benefit from working in this sector. Earning certifications and staying on top of trends can give individuals an edge over the competition.