Value of Speaking the Same Supply Chain Language

Does it seem like departments in your organization speak different languages at times when it comes to supply chain management? Are there conflicts across departments with seemingly different goals?

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The APICS body of knowledge, developed by supply chain experts, has been repeatedly proven to help companies speak the same language when it comes to supply chain. The value to the company is shown not only in improved communications but also reduced costs and increased ROI.

The Weir Group PLC is a recent example of a company benefitting from APICS education that helped them realize a reduction in lead times, increased orders and market share. In the APICS Magazine article, titled APICS Education Advances People and Performance at Weir, Elizabeth Rennie shared their story summarized below.

Weir is a global engineering and equipment manufacturing company in Scotland. Their operating model is decentralized into local and regional businesses and each business is responsible for its own profit or loss.

A few years ago, they launched a value chain excellence program to improve overall performance. As part of the initiative, an internal assessment of supply chain capabilities was performed. The assessment identified that there were varying degrees of capabilities and practices across the organization, with certain businesses requiring the establishment of fundamental supply chain and operations practices.

In addition, Weir lacked a common language of terms or practices. They engaged the APICS Houston chapter to provide broader views and the APICS full body of knowledge in supply chain management. By having a common knowledge base and improved people capability, Weir was able to significantly improve overall company performance. In fact, the results were so impressive that APICS Award of Excellence judges recognized Weir with the 2018 Education Award.

At the end of the CPIM courses, all participants shared their successes with their peers and management team. Three themes arose during the training including:

  1. Benefits of using all levels of manufacturing planning and control;
  2. Benefits of applying appropriate manufacturing, supply and inventory processes to each manufacturing environment;
  3. Common understanding of terms and best practices

The company results were impressive including the following:

  • One business achieved a 45 percent reduction in lead time, and another reduced inventory by 20 percent.
  • At the end of 2017, Weir’s Oil and Gas division realized a 67 percent increase in orders over the previous year.
  • The Minerals division saw an 11 percent increase in orders.
  • As a result of enhanced sales and operations planning processes, Weir has been able to deliver to additional demand and gain market share.
  • The Salt Lake City business, which previously had on-time delivery in the single digits, is now delivering on time 98 percent of orders.


Per their CFO, John Heasley, “People and their development is a strategic pillar for Weir. Through APICS education, Weir has been able to increase the capability of our people and organization. This increase is allowing Weir to make changes in how businesses operate, manage their supply chains and manage inventory. Weir will continue to support APICS education because it provides our employees with a broad body of knowledge, which can be applied to their particular business situation. In turn, improvements at the local business level will improve the overall performance of the Weir Group.”

Your APICS Milwaukee Chapter is a non-profit association with a mission to serve Supply Chain professionals and their companies in the Milwaukee area. Our certification courses help companies share a common supply chain management language that helps to reduce costs, improve ROI and invests in employees. We can deliver the training at your location or frequently host educational programs at the APICS Milwaukee offices in Milwaukee.

We also provide opportunities to learn from each other such as our upcoming breakfast and tour at Thermo Fisher on March 28th titled Back to Fundamentals: Detailed Planning and Scheduling. Thermo Fisher leaders will be sharing how APICS certification has made them more efficient. The tour will be limited to 20 people, so you’ll want to register early!

For additional information, contact your local APICS Milwaukee Chapter via our website at: