An online program in the College of Extended and International Education that provides industry professionals with a certificate in production and inventory management won the 2010 Education Award of Excellence from the Association for Operations Management (APICS) at the organization’s annual conference last October. California State University, Dominguez Hills shares the award with program partners LA APICS and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS), which subsidizes the 20-month course as professional development. The classes are offered at Northrop sites in El Segundo/Space Park, Rancho Bernardo, Palmdale, San Diego, in addition to online instruction. More than 240 Northrop Grumman sector participants have passed through this in-house APICS program.
Since 2003, NGAS, in conjunction with the Los Angeles chapter of APICS and CSU Dominguez Hills, has offered training in operations management. Former LAPICS president Joan Hall has been teaching in the certificate program online at CSU Dominguez Hills for more than 20 years. She says that one of APICS’s original goals was to advocate for consistent terminology throughout the production and supply chain industry.
“People would change companies and the terminology would be different so the [new] company had to train the employee in their language,” she says. “Standard course materials were prepared along with providing a dictionary of common terms. Along with this came the certification programs so that people could demonstrate their knowledge of the concepts and be recognized for it, [especially] when a person was looking for a new position or wanted to advance in their company.”
Mark Betancourt, manager of material requirement planning at NGAS, and vice president of communication with LAPICS, serves as chair of the corporation’s APICS Council. He says that being a current student in the CPIM program assures him of its worth to his company by providing him with “a better understanding of operations management, the language they use, the methods that they use and understanding the operation structure.”
“We hire a lot of people with business management degrees, and degrees that are business related,” Betancourt says. “[Our job] is 70 percent purchasing materials and the other 30 percent is building airplanes. This course gives them the foundation for operations management, which is materials management, structure, and manufacturing engineering. ”
Hall, who is retired from a 25-year career in production and inventory control at Hughes Aircraft Company, says that APICS strives to upgrade its educational programs to keep up with changes in the industry, going from mainly manufacturing planning and control to the expansion of the field to include material requirements planning, enterprise resource planning, and eventually, the entire supply chain.
“APICS looks toward the future, where the field is going,” she says, “and has helped employers and employees transition through each of these periods with their education programs.”
Hall says that the CPIM certification enhances its students’ upward mobility in their company and beyond, and that South Bay industry recognizes the value of their training at CSU Dominguez Hills.
“In this day and age when jobs are a premium, the more items you have in your toolbox, the better chance you have of getting another job or a promotion,” she says. “You’re more valuable.”
LAPICS is looking forward to adding Northrop’s Carson facilities to their instruction sites. For more information on the CPIM certification program at CSU Dominguez Hills, click here.