Last week, while attending and speaking at this year’s APICS annual conference, Supply Chain Matters had the opportunity to interview two of the executive leaders of the organization.  APICS is a global professional organization supporting the professional education and certification needs of operations and supply chain management professionals.  APICS- professional association for supply chain and operations management

This author spoke with Abe Eshkenazi, CEO of APICS.  We last featured a Supply Chain Matters interview with the APICS CEO in March of 2014. In October 2013, APICS rebranded itself to position the organization as the: “professional association for supply chain and operations management and the premier provider of research, education and certification programs that elevate supply chain excellence, innovation and resilience.” We naturally wanted to probe on the progress of that effort.

In our March 2014 interview, Abe addressed three strategic pillars for APICS. The first was for this professional organization to be more strategic in the understanding of how supply chain management impacts business outcomes and why supply chain management competencies have become a competitive differentiator for various industry settings. Being more strategic was described as helping individual members to acquire the required skill level competencies to provide such differentiation and leadership for their organizations.

Abe observed in our recent interview that APICS has since brought broader awareness to supply chain management as a career of choice, and continues to bring such awareness of supply chain management career paths all the way down to the high school level. He described a key differentiator as being passion and that every supply chain management professional has a life-long story to tell.

The second pillar was for the organization to be a more responsive professional organization to the needs of firms to recruit, retain and constantly re-skill supply chain professionals for today’s supply chain challenges. In June, the organization announced three different corporate engagement programs and the CEO pointed to an extraordinary response thus far to this program, which allows corporate members the opportunity to extend both individual supply chain skills training and certification along with the means to educate and certify on the SCOR Framework, a well-recognized common process model for supply chain teams.

The final pillar was described as being a globally-driven organization, extending both educational and certification programs across broader geographic regions across the globe. The CEO indicated that the organization continues with global expansion, no doubt brought about by the merger with Supply Chain Council which featured a broad-based global presence. According to Abe, multinational companies that strive to have common supply chain processes have been a major motivation for broader education and certification outreach. We were informed that the organization now includes a presence within 40 countries, including China.

Readers might recall that Supply Chain Matters has previously expressed some frustration on the progress of integration related to Supply Chain Council and APICS, with both of these organization’s catering to different member stakeholders. Thus in our interviews, we especially wanted to probe on the overall integration. Abe was very optimistic on the progress being made and especially noted that a new SCC Corporate Advisory Group has been formed. We also the opportunity to speak directly with Peter Bolstorff, APICS Supply Chain Council’s Executive Director.  Peter indicated that after year of re-building, various SCC research committees are back in place, including one focused on humanitarian supply chains and one focused on digital strategy. Such research is being focused on top supply chain leaders, which was the original stakeholder audience of SCC. Feedback on the new set of SCC services was reported as “amazing” A knowledge base consisting of 90 different SCOR related projects is now available to corporate level members.

We were pleased to learn that the SCC Executive Summit event format has finally been resurrected, with an invitation-only inaugural summit now scheduled for February 2016. Invitations were sent to APICS SCC Affiliates and the agenda for this particular venue is being driven by invited companies. Peter’s final comments indicated that APICS SCC is alive and well.

As a final note, this author is of the view that APICS continues to take a higher global based profile in recognized supply chain professional education, certification and executive outreach programs. The organization’s recent merger with the American Society of Transportation and Logistics will provide further depth to this body of knowledge.

Bob Ferrari