This success story is from a student who has attended on-site CPIM training. The instructor he speaks of is Mr. Bob Ratcliffe, one of APICS San Gabriel Valley’s instructors, who is also a past president and a current board member of the APICS San Gabriel Valley Chapter.
The APICS courses have been a wonderful training experience. When we began the class I was working in a warehouse as a stockroom clerk with little visibility into what was driving my work expectations. APICS has since revealed the world of supply chain and logistics and its importance in the overall business goals of a company. From the impact of incorrect inventory on accounting to the balance of demand and supply through the use of MRP the course has been a fantastic education tool. Through the class I have since moved up to Production Planner and am actively using tools learned through APICS on a daily basis and am working to achieve my CPIM. The class covers everything from production and purchasing to its interaction with sales and finance, which has given me the foundation to build a career in which I can be an impactful member of a company.
Our company operates in an industry with high variability of demand and constantly changing product, which can make planning a bit of a nightmare. In the past the planning department was the “wild west” with the planners competing against each other for the use of material and capacity for their specific customer needs. Safety Stock was non-existent, MRP orders were ignored, and expedites were numerous as everything was either procured or built last-minute in an effort to meet what appeared to be immediate customer demand. After almost a year of APICS courses and applying the principles learned the planning department has begun to shift away from the firefighting mentality and is now forecasting orders and creating frozen periods to create stability in our production facilities. This stability has increased vendor reliability, lowered product failure, and reduced cost associated with expedites and overtime. Without knowing the planning principles, from basic MRP logic to advanced forecasting techniques that APICS covers the employees would not have had a baseline to begin using the information at our disposal and thus create positive changes in the operations environment.
Mr. Ratcliffe has been outstanding in covering the material and applying it to our working conditions. Instead of simply covering the material and lecturing the class he creates group discussions about how we as a company currently operate versus best operating practices. Through the class the employees of Operations have been more willing to accept positive change and explore other ways of problem solving, using APICS as a guide. A fantastic example of this is the use of TOC (Theory of Constraints). While TOC is not a problem resolution its principles did allow our company to easily find throughput issues in our warehouse and effectively provide information to upper management about future capacity issues. Without Mr. Ratcliffe’s excellent instruction and instrumental use of class participation our company would not have been prepared for a sales increase and would have still been operating as a mad scramble.
For example, we used Legos to explore the differences in a push and pull production system, how it differs from a planning perspective, in what kind of environment that manufacturing style would flourish, and if it could work for us. The tools and handouts he supplied added to the material in a meaningful way and often linked the APICS principles with real world application. Aptly explaining how finance tracks a work order through WIP or how a poorly constructed BOM can increase lead time was all explained through diagrams, drawings, and tools provided by Mr. Ratcliffe in a successful effort to enforce the APICS principles.