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Certifications – Necessary or Not?

By Joe Tillman | 11/30/2012 | 10:49 AM

“The wisest are most annoyed at the loss of time.”

   - Dante Alighieri

Over the past few months, there’s been a lot of talk about certifications, particularly from young supply chain professionals. Recently, Bryant Jackson, Assembly Supervisor at Truxedo, Inc. asked me about the best certifications for young professionals.

The spectrum of possible certifications is virtually endless for supply chain professionals. Supply Chain Management Review had a great article detailing the why’s and why not’s of getting a certification in its July/August 2012 issue.

As I understand it, certifications are targeted for industry professionals who want to demonstrate a particular skill-set, develop a new skill, or to bolster their educational credentials several years after college. Several of the available certifications enable potential candidates to demonstrate their knowledge through experience by developing a project and then implementing it – i.e. Six Sigma Green and Black Belts.

My suggestion for recent graduates and for young professionals is to wait a few years and then determine where to go in the supply chain industry before tackling a certification. If you graduated in the last six months from one of 13 different universities identified by American Society of Transportation and Logistics (AST&L), you may already qualify for Certified in Transportation and Logistics (CTL) certification through their blanket wavier program.

Essentially, there is not a “best” certification for young supply chain professionals. Before investing in a certification, see if your employer will sponsor additional education. If no, and you are still interested, the next step is to evaluate whether the investment in a certification will help achieve your life’s vision or overall goal.

For most young supply chain professionals, a certification is not necessary to achieve their personal and professional goals. While we, as young professionals, are typically impatient, it is best to focus our time on self-development in other areas, such as soft skills.

In case you are wondering, Bryant chose Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink.



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About Joe Tillman

Joe Tillman

An enthusiastic and dedicated professional, Joe Tillman offers supply chain education and research through his company TSquared Logistics. Joe has a keen interest in all things supply chain and uses his high-energy approach to life to author articles for industry publications, blog on young professionals for DC Velocity, and speak to supply chain industry groups. He also co-leads the Warehousing Education and Research Council's influential annual benchmarking study, "DC Measures." Prior to founding TSquared Logistics, Joe worked with Supply Chain Visions as a senior researcher and consultant, Wal-Mart Logistics as a distribution professional, and Union Pacific Railroad as a conductor. Joe is certified in transportation and logistics (CTL) by AST&L and SCOR-Professional certified by the Supply Chain Council.


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