APICS is the premier professional association for supply chain management.

Education and Enrichment

By Elizabeth Rennie | March/April 2013 | 23 | 2

APICS magazineBarbara Smith went through a career change in 2006 and thus was completely new to manufacturing. This was challenging, but she says the APICS CPIM courses were “loaded with valuable information” that will remain applicable throughout her entire career. “APICS has enriched my knowledge in production planning,” she says. “As a planner, one of my responsibilities is to verify the critical data elements of the bill of material I work with. The first introductory course helped me understand the importance of these fields in the enterprise resources planning and material requirements planning systems and how they work together to obtain a smooth-running workbench.”

She says she also benefited greatly from studying inventory control and how it affects cost. “I took this information … and found areas where I could improve my floor inventory,” she says. “I learned the importance of keeping up with cycle counts, maintaining accurate floor inventory, and the issuing of inventory to appropriate work orders to prevent invalid costs from closed work orders for future bids.”

Workplace improvements
Smith is production control planner II at DRS Imaging and Targeting Solutions, a supplier of products, services, and support to military forces, intelligence agencies, and prime contractors worldwide. She has worked for nearly seven years at the Melbourne, Florida, facility, where she is responsible for selecting and sequencing available jobs to be run at specific workstations or machines. “I work with the team to improve current systems, functions, and daily operations in order to more effectively meet goals,” she explains. “I monitor shipping performance to dock-to-stock and ensure movement of product from production through packaging to shipping. I also maintain manufacturing build plans on a daily basis [and] create and maintain the expected completion of each scheduled job.”

Smith says her APICS affiliation has helped her become more effective at work because APICS has “a plethora of information” that she can tap into whenever needed. She believes the APICS body of knowledge applies to all aspects of her role at DRS, including scheduling, managing and monitoring outside services, material flow, driving and tracking demand execution, new product introductions, communication and collaboration, and more. “APICS provides information that I use on a daily basis for my line of work,” she says, and it also affords me the opportunity to socialize and network with others in the manufacturing industry.”

Far-reaching education
Smith's company awarded her the opportunity to attend the 2012 APICS International Conference & Expo in Denver, Colorado, as a result of a presentation she gave to upper management. The presentation detailed one of the certification courses the organization had offered to Smith and her colleagues as part of the APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) exam preparation materials.

“APICS 2012 was pretty awesome,” Smith says. “It was exciting to meet people from around the states and the world who are in the same line of work as I am. Everyone was so friendly, and the instruction offered was very informative. I wish there was more of me so I could have attended more conference sessions at the same time.”

Smith was particularly impressed by the quality and breadth of the educational program at the event. “The presentations were very informative. The education was geared toward current events and everyday issues that occur at businesses. It was designed to help members on a professional level, [yet] I received information at some sessions that I could also use on a personal level,” she says. “I hope to get to APICS 2013 in Orlando this year!”

Elizabeth Rennie is managing editor at APICS magazine. She may be contacted at

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