Pittsburgh Chapter Narrative


Chapter Narrative 

-Pittsburgh Chapter of APICS Board of Directors


Fiscal year, 2015– 2016 we continued the trend of positive years for the Pittsburgh Chapter. The Chapter should retain Gold/Platinum status through the CMS/C-Bar program from the previous year and the Chapter ended the year in a strong financial position. Our membership remained at the 400 level with an increase in March.


  1. Performance to Objectives

Key measurable objectives are educational classes which surpassed expectations of total students trained and membership growth. The number of CPIM offerings continued to increase, as we held 11 classes with over 70 participants. The CSCP offerings continued to hold interest with 2 classes and 9 participants. The education team has been creative in leveraging customer sites for classes. The chapter has one of the best years for classes. The revenue generated has allowed the board to experiment with a December membership event funded by the chapter.


Our primary goal has been to sustain the programs that appeal to a wide segment of the membership and improve the venue of the poorly attended or under- used service that we offer. We returned to more facility tours,  but experienced limitations at the hosting events. This lead to a reduction in PDM attendance. The programs team is working to find a good mix with students and professional members. Membership and programs are looking into scheduling social events for members only. This suggestion was a result of information discussed at a district meeting. These social events would be in addition to the monthly PDMs. We plan of using events to increase membership interaction and the pool of PDM opportunities.  We are looking for a venue that will take the place of the “Made in PA” conference that was not held this past year. The conference had in the past been a good source for PDM leads and education opportunities.


  1. Internal and External Conditions

Internal conditions can be placed into two categories; internal to the chapter and internal to APICS.

  • We continue to be afflicted with an ongoing challenge to promote APICS. Even in the manufacturing community APICS not associated as the leader is supply chain and manufacturing excellence. We are seeing more job listings requiring CPIM or CSCP but not 100%. Most of the host companies for PDMs have been a result of a class at their facility. We are working on changing that situation to have PDMs drive classes.  
  • The district made a positive move in the last year to have a district meeting in Pittsburgh. I believe this has helped the other chapters in the district with funds. Pittsburgh is in the center of the district allowing less expensive ground transportation compared to air travel.

Companies in the Pittsburgh area again are looking to reduce training budgets and are not funding APICS membership for their employees. We are maintaining our membership level but continue to look for opportunities to add value to the members investment. Membership and PDM surveys are our main source of feedback from the membership.    

  • In many cases companies are using internal sources or contacting other educational providers to provide APICS courseware. In many cases it is difficult to have students through an entire certification cycle because of the time required for all five modules. To compete the education team has offered accelerated courses. The Pittsburgh chapter has the ability to have personnel to offer these classes within the accelerated time table.


  1. Planning for Challenges

The board of directors have worked on refining the strategic plan. Goals have been identified and validated that they meet the chapter’s mission. They have been discussed and prioritized. Metrics have been assigned to each of the goals and will be reviewed prior to the next PDM program schedule starts. Marketing and education have worked on promoting the APICS ERP education event scheduled for August with corporate. We have not received the positive feedback from the membership as we expected. The teams will do a deep dive to get an understanding what could have been done better. These lesion learned will be incorporated into next year’s PDM events to drive increased attendance.

Marketing has developed a plan to leverage the chapter’s membership with the chamber of commerce’s to advertise classes and PDM’s. Marketing will review results of these efforts to see if additional exposure of the APICS brand was beneficial to the chapter. Adjustments will be made  prior to the next year’s professional development schedule gets underway.

To expand on the successful membership event held in December, another one is planned and focused on getting feedback from a panel of hiring managers from local companies. The focus of the meeting will be providing the chapter membership with information that can be used to help them advance their careers. Last year’s event was very well attended for a December meeting.

The Chapter website continues to be updated with pertinent information for its members. The webmaster has been working with student chapters to add a page for each student chapter. Specifics must be documented and provided to the student chapters to allow changing leadership to be informed.  The student teams are leveraging a new reporting document that will help in keeping communications with the student chapters open. The have requested that the student chapter management attend the parent  board meeting. We have communicated to the students that these innovations are to provide assistance to what they need in running their chapters. We have had 2 student chapters attend BOD meeting last year and hope to improve that next year.


4. Performance Issues

  1. Education continues to be the main area of the chapter services and revenue. The chapter continued utilizing certified instructors for its CSCP and CPIM programs and is getting excellent evaluations, as we continue to teach the APICS Body of Knowledge. The education team has added additional resources to the education team enabling additional classes. Education team has worked with companies and developed programs and schedules to meet their needs. The team is preparing to add additional instructors for the new CLTD certification.


  1. Chapter finances continue to be strong. Our educational revenues have enabled the chapter to offer other programs to provide benefits to the membership. The positive financial situation has also enabled the chapter to offer classes that might not provide a profit but allows an opportunity for member to continue their certification process.  


  1. Marketing continues our relationship with the local Chambers of Commerce with limited success. We have leveraged advertising opportunities  to extend our visibility with local businesses, but it has been difficult to determine any direct link to an increase in Membership or PDM attendance. We are looking for other local trade shows to increase exposure of the APICS body of knowledge to other business.


  1. Professional Development Programs operated at a slight loss mainly because of the higher attendance of students and host location attendance restrictions. The team is working on finding the correct mix of students and professional members. The team has done an excellent job of mixing location tours and guest speakers to fill most o next year’s events. The team continues to look for new and exciting venues. The ability to pay for the PDM using paypal has been favorably received by the attendees. This has also helped Finance recover no-show payments.  


  1. The student affairs team has instituted a new reporting sheet to communicate to the rest of the board of activity with the student chapters. The team is working with the student leaders to encourage additional correspondence. The team has reached out to the chapter leaders asking if the parent chapter can attend their meetings. Unfortunately the request was not received positively.  The team will work with the chapter leaders to help them understand the request was made to help with finances and activities not to interfere but to support. The team is also continuing to pursue Saint Vincent college as a new student chapter.


  1. Membership team is leveraging the positive success from the December membership meeting. the team is scheduling a similar meeting next December focusing on a panel of hiring managers to provide information to our membership of what they see as  industry trends. The team is also looking for add additional initiatives to how to encourage networking events to expose APICS to the community. The networking events will be used to encourage members to expand their network while communicating the value of APICs to others.  


  1. Our Web-site has again been updated which includes the newsletter on the home- page to provide faster access to current events.  The webmaster is working with the student chapters to add their information to the APICS Pittsburgh chapter site.


Thomas S Brown  

President Pittsburgh Chapter