“My background was in fashion merchandising, and I moved to my first operations role while at Crayola. Last year I transitioned to the procurement department at B. Braun. Both are manufacturers but they have very different perspectives on supply chain. Since I had no formal training in supply management, I’m fortunate that my organization was willing to invest in me and my professional growth.
I wanted to understand the industry better, so when a supervisor suggested I enroll in Utilizing Supply Chain Management for Competitive Advantage, I jumped at the opportunity. That first class gave me an improved perspective, tools, and greater insights that I could apply to what I was already doing at work.
One of the programs that really stands out is Integrated Logistics and Transportation Management. I learned to consider all of the unique aspects within the supply chain—all of the hands that are touching our product, like warehouse receiving, logistics, suppliers, and even our suppliers’ suppliers. If they are making some kind of change, that could be relevant to you. It’s easy to focus on questions like “why isn’t my inventory here” when you aren’t paying attention to all of those elements. It’s been really helpful to see that what I am working on is just a tiny part of the process—a link in a much larger chain. You come away with the knowledge that every aspect of the supply chain is important, and needs to be taken into consideration.
One of the great things about getting the Certificate is that the programs cover so many different aspects within the industry. You can start with an overview, and then drill down on specific topics. At first I wasn’t really interested in logistics, for example, but when I started to learn about it, it really piqued my interest and made me consider that as a future career move option.
There were a few other certificate attendees from my company. During the final Capstone Experience, we were each able to focus on different internal challenges we’ve experienced and how what we learned throughout the Certificate Program could impact them. Specifically, I referenced the lesson on the Toyota Way and how we could use those techniques to design a process that would give buyers at our plant, the tools they need to make business strategic decisions.
Having this high level exposure to supply chain, has helped solidify the best way to manage daily interactions with counterparts within the industry. The program helped me see how important each aspect truly is.
At Lehigh you learn tools that you can bring back to your team. It’s two days a month that you are out of the office, but it is so worth the time. After each program, you get to go back to work and immediately start putting what you learned into practice. Another really valuable aspect of the program, is that you get to learn and work with people from other areas of the industry. They give you an alternative perspective you may not have previously considered. Overall, the Certificate Program expands your knowledge, gives you the opportunity to grow, and helps you to become well-rounded in your field.