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Leanne Power, CPIM, CSCP
Senior Planning Specialist
West Pharmaceutical Services, Ireland

“The CPIM course puts you in touch with industry leaders, provides interesting case studies across industries, and allows you to network with colleagues for further learning and business opportunities.”

Why did you decide to pursue the APICS CPIM certification?

I pursued my CPIM certification to gain technical know-how for my supply chain job. I already had a degree in Industrial Purchasing Management and a Masters in Supply Chain Management, but I found that these qualifications were too tactical and strategic in nature. I wanted a course that would explain in detail the operational elements of supply chain management and that's exactly why I chose the APICS CPIM qualification.

How did you prepare for the APICS CPIM exam?

I prepared for my APICS certification through weekly classroom sessions based at my employer's premises.  These classes were invaluable as there were a number of my colleagues also studying for this qualification.  It was an opportunity for all of us to have open and honest discussions about where we were as an organization and as a supply chain team. It gave us the knowledge to understand what we needed to do to achieve best practice solutions to some of our issues.  I spend an hour each evening reading and understanding the literature provided and I would dedicate a couple of hours on the weekend to really focus on learning the information and practicing some of the more practical MRP elements.

What was your biggest takeaway from APICS CPIM training?

My biggest take away was definitely the importance of educating and aligning people to work accurately within the ERP system.  Due to the fact that the training I attended involved various members of my supply chain team, we were well positioned to challenge each other if data in the system did not make sense. We knew the downstream effects of inputting "bad" data.  

How has an APICS certification impacted your career or organization?

The APICS certification has given me confidence in my ability and understanding of the technical aspects of managing the supply chain within the ERP system.  Since receiving this certification, I have been successful in attaining a Purchasing Specialist role and most recently a Senior Planning Specialist role.  I have also completed the CSCP qualification and I now feel confident that I have the operational and tactical know-how to do an excellent job. I can address any issues or queries with confidence and I plan to go on and complete my MBA to ultimately secure a Supply Chain Management role.

Have you implemented a supply chain or logistics initiative at your organization as a result of your APICS certification training?

I have implemented a lot of supply chain initiatives in my organization as a result of my APICS certification training.  The most important thing I like to focus on is transparency of flows - inventory, financial, and information through regular cross-functional meetings.  I always ensure that the ERP system is being optimized by explaining to others the impact of the information they input.  I enjoy data analysis work and I think the summary of these reports is a powerful tool for managers to make key decisions.

What are other benefits of APICS certification?

APICS provides an excellent repository for best practice supply chain activities. The course puts you in touch with industry leaders, provides interesting case studies across industries, and allows you to network with colleagues for further learning and business opportunities. APICS is an internationally recognized body, therefore, it really supports my job applications to multi-national companies. I will certainly be continuing my education with APICS in the future to ensure I am always at the leading edge of supply chain best practices. 

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