With businesses increasingly recognising the importance of the supply chain to the organisation, the demand for suitably qualified and skilled supply chain professionals is growing, according to Mungo Park, president of the Southern African Supply Chain Association SAPICS.
“The supply chain is the one function in an organisation that touches all others and supply chain optimisation can drive bottom line improvement. To capitalise on opportunities, however, supply chain roles must be filled by people with the requisite knowledge, skills and qualifications,” he states.
Park notes that supply chain programmes teaching core skills were once scarce, and many supply chain roles were filled by individuals functionally trained in finance, engineering, pharmacy and various other roles. “Today, however, with the supply chain more widely regarded as a revenue driver, the need for supply chain education is increasing.” He contends that supply chain practitioners without the combination of recognised, credible education and sound practical experience will find themselves left behind as businesses recognise the value of the supply chain and the benefits that supply chain improvements can deliver across other business functions.
“An international supply chain certification provides the individual with authenticity and status in the industry”
Craig King, logistics senior manager at Samsung Electronics South Africa, asserts that internationally recognised supply chain certifications are worth “every minute, cent and ounce of energy”, and add enormous value for both the individual and the organisation.
“An international supply chain certification provides the individual with authenticity and status in the industry, reflecting their professionalism, expertise and authority in this increasingly complex field. From an organisational perspective, this is a huge advantage because supply chain processes can be enhanced or implemented by an expert who knows and understands international best practice and world-class standards,” he stresses.
King states that as a senior manager for an industry leading global organisation, he favours applicants with international certifications when filling supply chain roles. “It tells me that the applicant has a goal and is serious about empowering him or herself by obtaining an internationally recognised certification. It also tells me that the applicant is knowledgeable and is an expert in the field of supply chain management, and that I will be employing the best.”
SAPICS is the South African custodian of a variety of internationally recognised certifications – the APICS CPIM (Certified in Production and Inventory Management), CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional) and CLTD (Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution). These are offered by SAPICS in association with its American affiliate, APICS. A new suite of designations from the Demand Driven Institute in the USA are also highly sought after.
In terms of training and development for Samsung employees, King says that members of his team are currently working towards the CLTD certification, “to expand their supply chain management knowledge and elevate their thinking from an operation and tactical level to a strategic one”. Citing a supply chain certification success story from his own organisation, he reveals that a team member was recently promoted to supply chain manager for mobile after achieving the CSCP qualification.
“The CPIM is considered the premier certification for internal supply chain business operations,
and more than 74 000 professionals have been certified worldwide”
Since its launch in South Africa as the first comprehensive education programme designed for operations and supply chain management professionals, the CSCP has become an increasingly sought-after qualification. More than 24 000 professionals in 100 countries have earned the CSCP designation. “This highly-regarded programme provides graduates with the skills necessary to understand and manage the integration and coordination of activities within today’s increasingly complex supply chains. Graduates know how to design and develop a supply chain strategy that aligns with corporate strategy. They understand how to manage supplier and customer relationships, and recognise how logistics, technology and data can enhance performance. In addition, they can achieve the seamless integration of all processes to meet customer needs, reduce costs and increase profits,” SAPICS president Park states.
The CPIM is considered the premier certification for internal supply chain business operations, and more than 74 000 professionals have been certified worldwide. The CLTD programme addresses the burgeoning need for standard benchmarks in the rapidly changing logistics, transportation and distribution industries, he says.
Park notes that the benefits of an international qualification include career advancement opportunities, increased marketability and earning potential. “A survey undertaken in the USA by APICS revealed that graduates who earned a CSCP designation could expect an average 12% salary increase.
Successful supply chain management has become essential to compete successfully in today’s competitive global marketplace, and those who are suitably qualified to design, drive and deliver supply chain improvements will be assured of career success and advancement.
“With the SAPICS supply chain community growing exponentially on the African continent, there is increasing awareness of the various quality international education programmes which are available, and which are offered throughout Africa via a growing network of Authorised Education Providers or on a self-study basis. Remote assistance from qualified instructors is available more easily with reliable internet in many countries, making these international certifications even more accessible,” he concludes.
Established 40 years ago, the annual SAPICS Conference is the leading event in Africa for supply chain professionals. The 2018 SAPICS Conference takes place in Cape Town, from 10 to 13 June.
SAPICS is the leading provider of knowledge in supply chain management, production and operations in Southern Africa.
SAPICS builds operations management excellence in individuals and enterprises through superior education and training, internationally recognised certifications, comprehensive resources and a country-wide network of accomplished industry professionals. This network is ever expanding and now includes associates in other African countries. SAPICS is proud to represent APICS (the global end-to-end supply chain association) as its exclusive premier channel partner in Sub-Saharan Africa.