APICS recently launched a new certification program: Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) aimed at professionals in the rapidly growing logistics sector. APICS Senior Director of Professional Development Bob Collins (CFPIM, CIRM, CSCP) answered our questions on why the supply chain management professional association decided to create and offer this new program. Below he also shares information on what logistics, transportation and distribution practitioners need to know about the CLTD certification and what qualifications professionals need to partake in it.
Spend Matters: APICS is now offering a Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) credential program. Why?
Bob Collins: Logistics, transportation and distribution are rapidly changing industries and in need of standard benchmarks. The CLTD establishes industry wide best practices and gives recognition to those who are truly experts in the logistics, transportation and distribution fields. The CLTD certification will provide individuals with in-depth knowledge on a broad range of logistics topics. The CLTD will increase employee value by providing a clear path to influence the efficiency of their organization.
SM: What sets this certification apart from others APICS offers?
BC: While all of APICS’s certifications aim to enhance operations and supply chain management skills, the CLTD is the first certification to focus specifically on logistics, transportation and distribution. As with the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management (CFPIM) programs offered through APICS, the CLTD sets the global standard for best practices for the industry.
SM: When did APICS start seeing a need for this type of certification? Was there something that happened in the field, a new demand or new trend specifically that made APICS realize professionals would be interested in a CLTD certification program?
BC: Logistics is the second largest employment sector in the United States with more than 6 million employees currently, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, the Georgia Center for Innovation expects the sector to add 270,000 new jobs annually through at least 2018. That’s more than 10% of all new jobs in America for the next few years. This level of rapid growth requires established best practices in order for the industry and those in it to be successful. We created this program to help develop this massive, underserved market.
SM: What specific challenges do logistics and other supply chain or procurement professionals face today that having a CLTD certification would better help them solve?
BC: There is a skills gap in the industry that affects an individual’s ability to progress and an organization’s bottom-line — this gap has to be addressed. The APICS CLTD empowers designees by establishing a common platform of understanding, vocabulary, processes and frameworks to help them confidently tackle this gap. Too frequently employees in transportation, logistics and distribution are not expected to understand the broader business goals of a company — this is unfortunate and shortsighted. CLTD certified employees will be able to offer an end-to-end look at the supply chain for their companies, and develop efficiencies that will improve a company’s bottom line.
SM: How do you think CLTD certified professionals will apply their knowledge gained during the program to their careers?
BC: Gaining the APICS CLTD designation will expand an employee’s outlook on the field and boost confidence by providing the tools needed to reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction and achieve recognition as a logistics expert. We hope designees will apply their knowledge to progress their careers, improve operations within their organizations and positively impact the supply chain industry as a whole.
SM: Do you believe offering programs like the CLTD certification is important to help close the skills gap in the logistics sector? Why or why not?
BC: Absolutely. The demand for supply chain professionals is outpacing the supply. New entrants to the field, those seeking to change their careers and those seeking to refresh and validate their skills need training in best practices. The APICS CLTD Learning System is specifically designed with today’s supply chain logistics challenges in mind, and aims to lessen the impact of the supply chain industry skills gap. We created this system, with a team of subject matter experts, which provides a study plan based on individual needs that will track learning progress through online reports and focus on reinforcing core concepts.
SM: Who do you expect will be interested in the CLTD program and sign up?
BC: We’ve already seen interest from logistics, transportation and distribution professionals across just about every sector, as well as from the companies that employ them. On both the individual and corporate level, the industry understands the value of improving knowledge and skill set while establishing best practices.
SM: When can people sign up and start the program?
BC: Right now — the learning system became available on July 1. Visit www.learncltd.com to read about the different learning options and to check out a free demo. On Oct. 1, the new CLTD exam will be available at Pearson VUE locations worldwide.
SM: Are there specific qualifications a professional needs to take the CLTD certification program?
BC: Yes. To be eligible for the APICS CLTD designation, an individual must have three years of related business experience or a bachelor’s degree or international equivalent or one of the following: Certified in Transportation and Logistics (CTL), CSCP, CPIM, CFPIM, Certified in Integrated Resource Management (CIRM), Supply Chain Operations Reference Professional (SCOR-P), Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.), Certified in Supply Management (CSM) or Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) designations.
SM: Is there anything else you want professionals to know about this new certification program?
BC: As with all APICS designations, the APICS CLTD aims to serve the needs of professionals and corporations and to lessen the impact of the supply chain industry skills gap around the world. The APICS CLTD reflects the most important and current knowledge, skills, tasks and abilities that will benefit individuals and companies alike. The CLTD designation makes individuals more marketable as logistics professionals. The certification program also provides companies with an employee “knowledge standard” and career path for its team. To get started, check out http://www.learncltd.com/getting-started/.