Can APICS Certification Improve Your Competitive Edge in the Manufacturing Job Market?

Apics CertificationExperienced manufacturing workers looking for a new job often find out the hard way that many companies are looking to hire people who have more than experience — they want employees with specific industry credentials and certifications. In the manufacturing industry, many employers say they place weight on the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) certification.

As a result, tens of thousands of operations and supply chain professionals are signing up for the demanding eight-month program to obtain (APICS) certification. Numerous manufacturing employees believe that these certifications increase their competitive edge, because it proves that their expertise extends further than a college degree and vocational experience.  But is certification worth it? 

Software Advice–an online resource that reviews manufacturing inventory software–recently published an article about the costs and benefits of APICS certification and their value to production management and supply chain professionals. Here are a few of the takeaways from the article.

APICS Certification Requirements:

There are two types of APICS certification: the Certification in Production and Inventory Management (CIPM) and the Certification as a Supply Chain Professional (CSCP). The costs of these exams generally do not exceed $3,000, and the requirements and exam formats are slightly different for the CPIM and CSCP certifications. These requirements are expanded in the following table:


An Intensive Process That Can Have Big Payoffs:
The process of becoming APICS certified is not an easy one. In fact, many people who take APICS classes fail the exams and do not obtain the certification. But the individuals who do pass may see substantial career (and financial) payoffs. Below are three benefits to becoming APICS certified:

1.     Demand for APICS-Certified Workers is Increasing.

A 2012 study by the California State University at East Bay, found that between 2006 and 2011 there was a 13.7 percent increase in upper-level transportation, logistics and distribution management jobs and a 10.2 percent increase in mid-level sourcing, procurement and supply management positions.

2.     APICS-Certified Employees Command Higher Salaries.

A study conducted by the Association for Operations Management (APICS) found that APICS-certified employee may earn 14 to 20 percent more than their equally qualified co-workers.

3.     APICS Certification Offers Multiple Paths to Career Fulfillment

CPIM-certified employees are taught the necessary skills to be efficient in inventory and production management, global supply chain, and customer relations. CSCP-certified employees have a tested understanding of global supply chain management, and of highly specific technology and international trade rules and regulations. However, both certifications develop skills that raise an employees value and make them more attractive to current and future potential employers.

ProfitKey currently has multiple employees, from our VP of Product Development, to our AE’s, whom are APICS certified.  Knowing ERP and basic manufacturing principles is often not enough, especially when working with small to mid-sized SMBs in the highly custom make-to-order (MTO), engineer-to-order (ETO), and mixed mode environments.
The certification process is extremely demanding, and even the hardest workers are not guaranteed to pass the final exams. However, the financial incentives for employees who pass the examinations combined with the added value these certified-individuals bring to manufacturing companies, will likely motivate more operations and supply chain professionals to pursue APICS certifications. What’s your take? Leave us a comment below.

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