370 Employees trained across 25 different countries
95% Positive feedback from ASCM training participants
185 Employees in progress toward or have earned their CPIM
Dublin-based power management technology company Eaton wanted to invest in its materials teams to raise their levels of maturity and ensure that team members had the deep expertise required to excel and achieve the company’s strategic growth objectives. These critical teams manage the day-to-day connections between Eaton’s manufacturing operations and its suppliers and customers and are responsible for optimizing performance and maximizing value, among other key performance indicators. It is vital that these team members understand the interactions and interdependencies across company and supply chain functions so that they can support the smooth flow of operations. ASCM’s educational offerings stood out to Eaton as the best way to equip materials team members with the knowledge needed to succeed.
Eaton selected ASCM’s Certified in Planning and Inventory Management (CPIM) program to give employees the knowledge they need to effectively evaluate and manage supply chain activities. Eaton supply chain and materials leaders were asked to nominate their best-in-class employees for the initial training. The candidates were grouped by region and then participated in in-person and later online training — when the COVID-19 pandemic made it necessary — to prepare for the CPIM Part 1 and CPIM Part 2 exams.
Now materials team members from each of Eaton’s seven businesses participate in a rolling training cycle to educate more employees. Most trainings are still happening online. Post-training surveys have shown that 95% of the participants believe the quality of online training and instructors have been excellent, and there has been a good level of participant engagement overall.
In 2021, Eaton expanded their learning and development program to include ASCM’s Foundations of Supply Chain Management online learning platform, which features multiple mini courses organizations can choose from to create a program that meets their educational needs. Eaton leveraged this tool to give targeted members across all business groups and regions access to continuous learning courses related to inventory planning and control, material requirements planning, sales and operations planning, master scheduling, and more. The ability to select learning programs that are most relevant to the company’s manufacturing operations has been critical for making the educational investment worthwhile, Cage says.
Eaton currently has about 200 employees around the world regularly accessing some or all of the 20 available courses. In addition, the CPIM program has trained over 370 participants from 25 different countries. Of those, 185 have passed the CPIM Part 1 exam and 95 have earned the CPIM designation.
With an increasing number of certified professionals in planning and inventory management, Eaton’s materials function has achieved several improvements related to inventory reporting and optimization, sales and operations planning deployment, enterprise resources planning health, forecasting, network optimization, assortment approaches, and total cost of ownership. Other benefits include the following:
Through strategic initiatives and targeted materials projects, Eaton was able to reduce inventory. In the businesses and regions that have CPIM-certified workers, the organization is continuously reducing slow-moving and excess inventories and freeing up working capital.
The APICS body of knowledge provides a solid foundation of best practices and key concepts in supply chain management that can be broadly shared by employees as a common reference to review Eaton processes and identify opportunities for greater improvement. The shared knowledge also has helped the materials teams communicate in a common language and address business challenges with improved results.
The learning and development initiative boosted employee engagement and satisfaction. In addition, individuals who participated in the CPIM program have expressed gratitude that their employer makes it a priority to invest in them.
Eaton leaders noticed that, after employees completed APICS trainings, they were more confident, collaborated more, and effectively applied their new knowledge in the workplace to improve productivity and achieve the company’s strategic objectives.
The knowledge gained has helped the company best address all of the supply chain disruptions that have popped up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including material and labor shortages and logistics capacity constraints. “Redefining our main category strategies, addressing supply chain resiliency, strengthening multi-sourcing, increasing supplier collaboration and connecting our end-to-end supply chain are some of the topics that have come center stage across our organization, requiring highly skilled supply chain professionals to drive those initiatives,” Cage says.
Eaton’s partnership with ASCM also ensures that the company will be prepared for challenges in the future. With the help of ASCM, Eaton has built an even stronger foundation of supply chain excellence and is poised to keep pace with the rapidly evolving global market and expanding power needs of the world.
This content originally appeared in the 2022 ASCM Insights article “Eaton Powers Up with ASCM Education,” by Jennifer Storelli. The full article is available here.