Inability to Attract & Retain A Quality Workforce Remains Top Challenge for Manufacturers per NAM Q3 Survey

Inability to Attract & Retain A Quality Workforce Remains Top Challenge for Manufacturers per NAM Q3 Survey


Per the National Association for Manufacturers (NAM) Q3 Manufacturers Outlook Survey, the greatest challenge facing manufacturers of all sizes continues to be finding a qualified workforce.

Per NAM, “the inability to attract and retain workers remained respondents’ top concern for the eighth consecutive survey, noted as the top concern by almost 70 percent of respondents.” According to their report, to combat this challenge, 69.9% of respondents were, creating or expanding internal training programs and 55% were collaborating with educational institutions on skills certification programs.

At APICS Greater Detroit, we are here to help by offering training and globally recognized certification classes for Supply Chain professionals and companies across the Detroit area.

Read on for how CPIM training helped James Tilton, Director of Materials for Draper, Inc. grow in his career.

Association Supply Chain Management (ASCM)

Why did you decide to pursue the APICS CPIM certification?

I was working in an ERP Support role primarily working with Purchasing and Production. Our manager suggested we attend a local APICS PDM as the topic was relevant to our work. I had a chance to learn more about the organization and what it stood for. I had already been working in a production environment for close to twenty years before I was introduced to APICS. I remember thinking I wish I had access to this information at the beginning of that assignment. I knew I couldn’t let another day go by without a fuller understanding of what is referred to as the “APICS Body of Knowledge”.

How did you prepare for the APICS CPIM exam?

I was fortunate enough to work in a company at a time where there was an “APICS Champion”, someone who believed in APICS and supported lifelong learning. This “APICS Champion” brought the CPIM courses in-house to our facility and allowed me to attain my CPIM.

What was your biggest takeaway from APICS CPIM training?

Looking back at some of the improvements we made in manufacturing during the Pre-APICS awareness days, APICS validated that we were doing the right things. We didn’t have the OMBOK to support our discussions and decisions. We had to trust our gut and deliver the data.

How has an APICS certification impacted your career or organization?

I have been able to pursue a much broader and more fulfilling career path in operations, inventory, and supply chain management due to the APICS CPIM. I have had the opportunity, and privilege, to serve at both APICS Chapter and District levels as well as work with and learn from some amazing people. My CPIM credentials and background were instrumental in developing and implementing new programs here at work. I am also an APICS Certified Instructor for CPIM and Principles.

Have you implemented a supply chain or logistics initiative at your organization as a result of your APICS certification training?

Yes. We have implemented robust cycle count processes and procedures with metrics, leading to multiple material management improvement initiatives. As well, we have reduced inventory levels by approximately $2M, improved planning by reassigning part type/planning parameters, and implemented standardized cross-company Critical Part Shortage reporting system.

What are other benefits of APICS certification?

Being an APICS CPIM, and maintaining that certification, means keeping current in the operations, inventory, and supply chain management community.


Similar to the situation described by James Tilton, CPIM above, APICS Greater Detroit has helped many local organizations by offering customized corporate classes delivered on-site for companies looking to train groups of employees. We can create a proposal for your training, professional development, and educational objectives. Local organizations have found benefits training functional business employees within Supply Chain Management / Logistics / Operations, Sales and Marketing, Manufacturing, IT, Finance, and Human Resources on Supply Chain processes and concepts.

For more information on how APICS Greater Detroit can help you and your organization close your skill gap, check out our website at or send us an email at

Looking to advance your career, earn more, and help your company grow?

Check out our upcoming globally recognized certification classes below!
  • CLTD (Certified Logistics, Transportation and Distribution) starting on January 11th. CLTD helps participants demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a broad range of supply chain logistics topics, setting them apart from peers. Elevate awareness, professionalism, and knowledge/skills of Logistics, Transportation & Distribution practitioners with a CLTD certification.
  • CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional) – starting on January 22nd. CSCP is the most sought-after certification by supply chain professionals around the globe seeking to achieve mastery and recognition in their field.
  • CPIM (Certified in Production and Inventory Management) – starting on January 18th. The perfect certification for production and inventory management personnel. CPIM provides you with the ability to understand and evaluate production and inventory activities within a company’s global operations.

APICS Greater Detroit chapter members receive discounts on all certification classes – click here to join today. We look forward to helping you in your career!

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