Elizabeth Rennie | November/December 2013 | 23 | 6
40th anniversary of the APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) designation and the certification of the 100,000th designee. In order to explore the program’s value and impact on both global business and individual supply chain and operations management careers, APICS magazine managing editor Elizabeth Rennie recently spoke with Richard Artes, CPIM, the very first APICS CPIM designee; and William Yeargin, CPIM, who received the 100,000th certification just a few months ago. These interviews explore industry shifts and challenges—and demonstrate just how far CPIM has come since 1973.
Richard Artes, CPIM
“My first professional employment was at a company called Graco, where I worked after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1972. I was the junior member of the operations staff,” Artes explains. “I ran across a very small ad promoting APICS certification in the classifieds of a material handling magazine. There were no prep courses or coaching at that time. So, with no knowledge of APICS and no preparation, I signed up to take the first two certification tests. I passed. The following year, I took two additional tests and became certified.”
As a result of his certification, Artes was recruited as a material requirements planning manager for Diabo Systems, a high-tech company in Silicon Valley, California. After four years, he joined National Semiconductor as a systems analyst. Artes then became director of materials at a startup company called Econics. He says APICS certification was instrumental in acquiring these positions.
Artes next was recruited by software company Comserv to design and produce video-based operations education. “I worked with several experts designing and developing a video education program called “The Manufacturing Series,” he says. “Then, in 1984, I started [my own] education development and manufacturing consulting company and completed many projects until my retirement in 2011 … All of my employment and professional success was rooted in my involvement with APICS.”
Artes also gave back to the organization that had such a profound impact on his life. “Soon after joining APICS, I was recruited to become director of certification for the Twin Cities chapter. I trained hundreds of people in certification prep,” he says. “I was active as a board member; an instructor; and chapter officer for most of my membership years, including chapter president and speaker at eight APICS annual conferences.”
His conference topics included strategic forecasting and techniques for taking a quantitative approach to excess inventory.
Artes found teaching others the APICS body of knowledge to be very rewarding because he enjoys constructive dialog. “There are ideas and topics within the body of knowledge I disagree with,” he says. “I enjoy discussing these disagreements with knowledgeable professionals. APICS gave me the foundation to research and explore the boundaries for new thoughts and ideas.”
Now, Artes spends his days connecting with industry professionals on LinkedIn, traveling, fishing, and enjoying his grandchildren. He says the body of knowledge has evolved significantly. “Many of today’s topics also may disappear in the future,” he notes, adding that certification enables dedicated practitioners to study; validate; and—when necessary—modify concepts and principles. “Remember: What may be truth today may be fiction tomorrow. You have a responsibility to validate and modify the body of knowledge based on your life experience.”
William Yeargin, CPIM
William Yeargin, CPIM, began working in manufacturing and quality control straight out of high school. He spent the first years of his career at chemical giant Engelhard before it was purchased by BASF in 2006. Today, he works with raw materials for BASF in Hartwell, Georgia, serving many different product streams.
Yeargin is a motivated individual who is dedicated to continuing education. He earned his bachelor’s degree a few years ago. Soon after, his coordinators at BASF recommend that he earn a CPIM. He says he joined APICS in 2011 knowing that he would achieve his APICS CPIM designation.
“The first things I learned [while pursuing certification] were more about lean manufacturing and how important those practices would become to my company. Now, we are producing more levelly and keeping our bottlenecks running in a more efficient way,” he says. “I also learned more about empowerment and how that helps a workforce better move through a change. I feel, as we move into our new roles at work and into different positions, having the knowledge I gained during APICS courses and school will spread to my fellow team members and help them grow, too.”
APICS training has also assisted Yeargin as he aims to create a leaner manufacturing plant. “I have been on many teams that have developed our plant into a very efficient production facility.”
Yeargin even launched a new training program with the goal of educating people who are serving in new functions. He says he has enjoyed applying the expertise he developed through his affiliation with APICS in order to encourage his fellow workers to become more active in their jobs. “The knowledge has let me lead my fellow workers into a system where we are being more productive, less wasteful, and can better anticipate the needs of our customers,” he says.
Yeargin says he is very grateful to his family for their support and to BASF for its in-house APICS program, which helped him considerably along his journey to becoming the 100,000th APICS CPIM designee. “I’m very proud of myself for having finished the APICS CPIM,” he adds. “It was a hard road, but I can look back and say I did my best—and I encourage others to do the same.”
Elizabeth Rennie is managing editor for APICS magazine. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.