Manufacturing Industry: Licensing & Certification]
Businesses in the manufacturing industry come in many forms - those that produce food products, retail products, pharmaceutical products, machinery and so on. Still, one common bond ties them all together: There's no room for incompetence. Career advancement courses and certification programs keep professionals in the industry up to par and ready for the next level. While professional licensing requirements are somewhat limited and vary from state to state, trade associations, colleges and industry organizations offer a bevy of certificates for supercharging an individual's portfolio.
Certified Professional Manufacturers Representative (CPMR): This certification program, offered by the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation, provides executive education for firm owners or managers.
For a period of three years, candidates must attend an annual five-day workshop. There, they learn about how to manage multiple generations, principal relationships, line profitability, succession planning and more. Ideal for current and future owners and managers, the program allows attendees to cross network and learn about trends faced by other sectors.
Lean (Enterprise) Manufacturing Certification: This certification is a product of an alliance of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence and the American Society for Quality (ASQ), and is considered the benchmark for achievements and professional development in Lean. The Lean Certification requires familiarity with the Lean Body of Knowledge, including Cultural Enablers, Continuous Process Improvements, Consistent Lean Enterprise Culture, and Business Results. Candidates must take applicable courses, pass an examination, and submit a portfolio documenting a minimum of 80 hours of education and five tactical projects, all completed within five years.
(Advanced) Supervisory Skills Certificate: This certification is usually based on the laws and principles governing today's workforce. Often found as an extended education option at universities, Advanced Supervisory Skills courses teach management professionals how to use people skills to direct and even motivate staff members. Topics might include subjects such as effective hiring and firing methods, business ethics, constructive communication, conflict resolution, running an effective meeting, managing time productively, delegating, leading a team, establishing good customer service, and more.
Certified Production and Inventory Management (CPIM): This certificate, offered through the Association of Operations Management (APICS), indicates that the holder possesses extensive knowledge in demand management, procurement and supplier planning, material requirements planning, capacity requirements planning, sales and operations planning, master scheduling, performance measurements, supplier relationships, quality control and continuous improvement.
The CPIM is geared toward professionals in supply chain management, operations, production and inventory management, procurement, materials management and purchasing.
According to the Association of Operations Management, CPIM is designed with a number of goals in mind: each a benefit to the certificate recipient. These are:
- Greater understanding of production and inventory management.
- Bolstered efficiency across the processes of a business's supply chain.
- The ability to more accurately forecast, leading to streamlined operations.
- The ability to predict outcomes more accurately.
- Increase chances of establishing "Just-in-Time" delivery, maximizing client satisfaction.
- The ability to optimize a manufacturing operation's inventory investment.
Those looking to pursue a CPIM will be required to pass exams in Basic Supply Chain Management, Master Planning of Resources, Detailed Scheduling and Planning, Execution and Control of Operations, and Strategic Management of Resources. These exams are offered on-line in North America.
The Association offers information and scheduling on exam preparation courses and workshops on their Website.
Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP): This designation, also offered through the Association of Operations Management, indicates the holder possesses master knowledge of the components and inner workings of the supply chain as a whole. According to the Association, certification denotes the holder's expertise about supply chains not only within their own company's walls, but globally. The organization notes that holders of the CSCP credential generally are promoted, hired and paid more.
Candidates for this certification must satisfy the applicable business experience and education degree requirements and pass an examination. AOM offers information and scheduling on exam preparation courses and workshops on their Website.
The Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence: This credential, offered through the American Society for Quality (ASQ), defines a professional who leads and succeeds at process-improvement initiatives.
This certification, ideal for those running a small businesses to a multinational corporation, indicates that the holder obtains superior skills for establishing and monitoring customer/supplier relations. Moreover, the holder understands strategic planning and deployment initiatives, and is capable of developing measurement systems to determine organizational improvement.
According to the ASQ,, the certificate holder should be able to motivate and evaluate staff, manage projects and human resources, analyze financial situations, determine and evaluate risk and employ knowledge management tools and techniques in resolving organizational challenges. Details about exam schedules and preparation materials can be found on the ASQ Website.
In addition to those summarized above, ASQ offers more than 14 certificates in manufacturing-related fields. Considered one of the leading authorities in the industry, ASQ certification can lead to promotion, hiring and salary increase.
Most manufacturing operations survive on movement. Success often hinges on creating and distributing products efficiently and in a timely manner. In fact, the bottom line really comes down to keeping production flowing at a swift pace.
In terms of career advancement, some of the most accomplished professionals are committed to this same progress. Through additional training and continuing education opportunities, workers in manufacturing can move forward as well, preparing for whatever advancement opportunities come down the line.
MEP, which is spearheaded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, hosts local chapters in all states. The organization provides ongoing education and resources on topics most affecting small manufacturers around the nation. The MEP Website provides links to MEP Local Centers . In addition to the Local Centers, MEP helps companies expand into global markets through its ExporTech; and provides innovative methods to utilize technology and stimulate growth and productivity through its Innovation Engineering Management System, and its Technological Acceleration Strategy.
The Association for Operations
Aside from an annual conference that teaches on topics such as cutting-edge solutions for the global supply chain, sustainable operations, forecasting, demand management and more, the Association provides a lengthy menu of career advancement opportunities for the manufacturing professionals, including Webinars, educational software packages, workshops, and online study.
ASQ not only offers certification programs, but also provides extensive continuing education opportunities. The organization's manufacturer-targeted training outlines methods to increase team performance, productivity and cash flow, all the while scaling back on cost and lead time. ASQ's courses are taught at training sites, as well as online. Even more convenient, some programs are available online. For groups of five or more, ASQ offers an on-site training option.
In addition to their certification programs, SME offers a range of training for various manufacturing industries. Individuals can choose from face to face classroom training, webinars, and self-paced online courses. Customized training sessions can be scheduled for groups of employees.
An affiliate of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), the Institute provides scholarship funds for worthy students to attend AME's annual International Lean Conference and events such as the Lean accounting Summit. The goal of this scholarship program is to encourage more young people, the future leaders of industry, to consider a career in manufacturing operations, while at the same time learning about Lean manufacturing and the pursuit of excellence.
Vision and Mission
Through its affiliate, the Manufacturing Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is developing a Manufacturing Skills Certification System to help train and educate a workforce that will be technologically able to succeed in today's manufacturing sector. With the multiple goals of educating the manufacturing workforce, assisting employers in finding qualified and trained employees, providing more training and employment for our youth, and trying to remain globally competitive, NAM is implementing this skills certification system by providing course materials to educators and thought leaders across the country. Currently the program is being implemented in pilot programs in community colleges in four states, and has been endorsed by 25 states.