Montco Manufacturers Benefit From College, APICS Partnership

by Alana J. Mauger

Leading CEOs, like Jerry Decker, CEO and president of Constantia Colmar, Inc., recognize that it’s the employees – not the equipment – that make a business successful.

“Our success is built on the knowledge of our employees and the decisions they make,” said Decker, whose company specializes in printing aluminum foil and other flexible types of packaging for the confectionary and pharmaceutical industries. “My role is to be a facilitator – making sure employees have the tools necessary to do their jobs.”

One of these tools, according to Decker, is education. In fact, four percent of Constantia Colmar’s total sales is allocated, up front, for employee training.

Constantia Colmar is an example of how one regional employer is partnering with Montgomery County Community College’s Center for Workforce Development and APICS – the Association for Operations Management – to help its employees earn their Certification in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM).

The CPIM program consists of five modules that help employees understand and evaluate production and inventory activities within a company’s global operations.

For Constantia Supply Chain Manager Mark Gumbert, earning the CPIM credential validates the 20-plus years expertise he has gained by working in all phases of the operations industry.

“Having those initials on the back of a business card means something in the industry,” Gumbert said. “It justifies and lends credence to my professionalism.”

While he acknowledges that much of the course content has been review, Mark’s son Sean Gumbert, Production Planner, is learning much of the material for the first time.

“For me, it’s all brand new. I’ve been picking up where I was in college and learning how to apply the concepts to the real world,” he said. “Jerry [Decker] has been great – always telling me to put my education first. APICS is the next step, and after that, I will work on my master’s degree.”

Both Gumberts are putting a significant amount of work in to earning the CPIM credential. Each course is three hours per week for eight or nine weeks, and the time spent in preparation for each exam is at least 20 hours. And, even after earning the CPIM credential, Mark and Sean are not done learning.

“I knew going in to this training that it’s not a one-time commitment of money and time,” said Decker. “We’re committed to lifelong learning – taking theoretical knowledge and applying it to business. We’re doing great things, but we can always do them better.”

The College partners with the Philadelphia Area Network (PAN) of APICS to offer classes at the Metroplex in Plymouth Meeting, and, new this spring, at Day’s Inn in Horsham. At least 20 different companies have participated to date.

“The classes provide great structure to get information, talk to the instructors, ask questions, network and learn from each other,” said Andrew Yencha, one of PAN-APICS’ lead instructors. “You can’t get that from a workbook alone.”

While the target audience for APICS training has traditionally been manufacturing and supply chain management, it is also applicable to service industries and is growing in popularity among health care professionals.

To learn more about APICS training through the College’s Center for Workforce Development, visit www.mc3.edu/workforceDevelopment/programs/cpim.aspx or contact Dr. Brook Hunt at 215-641-6331 or bhunt@mc3.edu.

Pictured at Constantia Colmar’s facility are (from left) Andrew Yencha, Brook Hunt, Jerry Decker, Sean Gumbert and Mark Gumbert. Photo by John Welsh

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