It's All About the Networking — And More

Industry associations have something to offer supply chain pros from rookies to seasoned veterans


Next Level Purchasing offers the SPSM (Senior Professional in Supply Management). This six-course, online program covers everything from reverse auctions and e-procurement to strategic sourcing to improving supplier performance.

Education is, of course, important to advancing a career, and most associations offer a variety of online courses, seminars and Webcasts. Some are free, others have a charge.

CSCMP, for example, has its CSCMP University program, which has 22 course bundles — with nine to 18 courses within each bundle — based on the education and training needs of the members’ job titles.

They also offer a Supply Chain Management Essentials (SCME) Web course that covers the fundamentals of supply chain management, including planning, processes and global operations.

“We also have our Annual State of Logistics Report that comes out in June,” CSCMP’s Stuck says. “It covers transportation throughout the year. Every member has access so they can benchmark themselves against others throughout the year.”

ISM, which says it will focus more on the young professional in the coming years, has an interesting scholarship/mentoring program. The R. Gene Richter Scholarship Program was established and named in memory of R. Gene Richter, who was a galvanizing force in the field of procurement. It was established by the R. Gene and Nancy D. Richter Foundation in 2004; in 2005, the foundation partnered with ISM to expand the scholarship program. Winners of the R. Gene Richter Scholarship are awarded $2,500 or $5,000 for educational expenses. In addition, Richter Scholars are enrolled in a mentoring program where they are paired with an executive in supply chain management and a previous Richter Scholar.

A New Model

In addition to certification and online classes, Next Level Purchasing launched a new model on April 4.

“We want to provide all the benefits, and more, that a traditional association would provide — all online and all free,” says CEO Dominick. “We looked at what some others were offering, and it was high-cost and low-value. We wanted an association model that adds more value and takes out that cost.”

The Next Level Purchasing Association will include a free monthly Webcast and a networking section with a Facebook-like interface. “Instead of having to visit a facility [or tradeshow], they can go to this section and communicate with their peers throughout the world,” Dominick says. “They will have more targeted networking.”

Dominick continues: “There’s an online express course so they can get on-demand education. They have access to research, including our skills report, which shows savings per person by continent, savings per person by training hours, savings per person by level of education, and savings per person by industry. There’s also additional research with training budget information cut several ways.”

All these associations and benefits can be seen as a boon to practitioners, says APICS’ Eshkenazi.

“Supply chain is a broad field, and the variety of associations are committed to the industry. We’re much more complementary than competitive. If associations align activities, we are addressing the needs of our industry and members. We work with a number of them to focus on our customers,” Eshkenazi concludes.

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