Wikipedia defines logistics:
“Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of use in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations.”
In manufacturing, logistics is dealing with how to get components into the manufacturing plant and how to get the finished product delivered to the customer. This involves an extraordinary amount of planning and analysis, particularly for large companies with many, many products and components.
Consider an automotive manufacturer. Typically, a vehicle is made every two or three minutes. Each vehicle consists of thousands of parts that need to be assembled together in a defined sequence. Logistics specialists are responsible for making sure these parts are available at the right time. And most of them aren’t coming from just down the street. They come from across the country and around the world.
Logistics specialists are trained to find the optimal way to get these parts to the manufacturing plant. As well, they need to make sure they don’t order too many, since excess inventory is money tied up. It’s a fine balance and a skill that can be taught.
This global nature of shipping and supply chain management has created many specialized positions. All these jobs in logistics require unique skills and employers today are looking for evidence of knowledge and training. A certificate is one way to get your foot in the door.
Looking for a new career in logistics? Click here to scan the job board and see what’s out there. Maybe your next job is just waiting for you to apply!
Types of logistics certification
So where can you be certified as a logistics specialist? Many technical colleges offer diplomas and certificates in logistics and supply chain management. These programs will teach you the basics of supply chain management, including forecasting and inventory management theories. As companies grow globally, knowledge of logistics is becoming more and more important.
In addition to general logistics training, some programs offer specific training in MRP software systems. MRP is short for Material Requirements Planning. in most cases when people refer to MRP systems, they are talking about software. A certificate program in logistics will usually include MRP software courses. Since these software programs are quite extensive, knowledge of specific software is extremely useful when looking for a job in supply chain management.
Some MRP systems commonly used are SAP, Infor, M2M and Epicor. There are many more packages out there and at the core most are very similar. The interface varies for each type of software, but the functions for inventory management, Bill of Materials and ordering are what’s essential to learn.
The Association for Operations Management (APICS) is a global organization of supply change management professionals. Not only can you become a member like other professional organizations, you can also get certified. APICS certifications are recognized internationally.
APICS offers two main types of certification.
1. CPIM – Certified in Production and Inventory Management
- Two or more years experience required
- No bachelors degree required
2. CSPC – Certified Supply Chain Professional
- 5 years experience required OR
- 2 years and a bachelor’s degree
An APICS certification requires taking a certification exam at a designated location. To prepare for the APICS exams, you can take a series of online courses. Since the course are online, this is a convenient option for people who are already working in the logistics field and want to get formal certification.
Click here for more detailed information on APICS certification.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) offers three certifications for those interested in a certification in logistics and supply chain management. ISM is an American-based educational organization that’s been around since 1915 under various names. Before rebranding as ISM in 2002, they were named the National Association of Purchasing Management. Regardless of the name, their focus has always been on supply chain management professionals, providing resources and certification for logistics professionals.
The three certifications on offer from ISM are as follows:
- CPSM – Certified Professional in Supply Management
- CSM – Certified in Supply Management
- CPSD – Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity
Return to the Manufacturing Certification home page for more certification options in different fields.