March 2018 Print

Vision and Mission - APICS Puget Sound

Vision— APICS Puget Sound Chapter is the leading source of professional development for the Washington State Supply Chain and Operations community.

Mission— Serve Supply Chain and Operations professionals and the business community through educational experiences that will add value to our members and business partners

Seattle Skyline

APICS Puget Sound Chapter

40 Lake Bellevue, Suite 100
Bellevue, WA 98005
425 468-6178 Business Hours


Connect with APICS Puget Sound on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter

Back to top

Presidents Message

“Career growth in the technology world of the future.” 

On Fri, Mar 23, 2018, three APICS districts from Mexico City, Texas, through California, Oregon, and Washington, met for the last time under the decentralized chapter relations strategy.  The meeting was attended by each chapter leader and one or more board members.  Jim Lahey, VP of Operations, and Lawrence King, Manager of Communication represented APICS Chicago.  Megan represented Holmes Corporation from Minneapolis.  APICS-PS was represented by Dennis Obermeier, Tom Zistatsis, Director of Membership and David Green, Voice of the Customer Manager.


Left to right: David Green, APICS-PS VOC Manager, Lawrence King, APICS Corporate, Tom Zistatsis, APICS-PS VP, Jim Lahey, APICS Corporate, Ramona Memmott, APICS PacWest District

Jim Lahey opened the meeting by announcing that the Legacy recipe for channel partners was outdated and that change was needed.  APICS chapters account for 33% of APICS revenue and are therefore critical to the future strategy.  It was announced that a Partner Development Committee (PDC) was being formed and that chapter relations activities would change to a centralized control model located at APICS Chicago.  The fundamental reason driving this change is that the modern world is becoming more and more time constrained, especially in larger areas where waiting in traffic is consuming a larger percentage of free time.  In the future, there will be an increased focus on digital tools and bundled certification programs.  The new bundled offering on certification preparation class will include a participant guidebook, with exam content manual, a book of instructor slides, access to the Holmes Corporation On-Line learning tool and an exam credit.  The PDC will focus on creating a “One APICS” contact for all chapter sales training, chapter innovation, and partner snapshot reports.  It was announced that there will be a top 50 chapter meeting in Chicago June 21, & 22, 2018 to share the details that the PDC has defined.

Changes to company and corporate membership were announced.  Corporate membership was simplified to three brackets, >100, >500 and >1000 employee members.  A new bracket for small and medium companies was announced referred to as SME Pro (Small and medium enterprises).  The Requirements here state that a company with 5+ members can enjoy membership at a reduced cost of $185/plus membership. 

Laurence King discussed the three areas that would benefit from digital tools and performance metrics.  The operational level would be supported by new digital tools, where the tactical area would result in a better customer experience driving the strategic areas of APICS’ functional organizations, global alliances, and the Instructor Development Program.

Megan Green from Holmes demonstrated the operations of the Partner Resource Center (PRC) that is the backbone of the On-Line Learning system.  The PRC, includes all instructor material, sales, and marketing templates, practice quizzes, activities used in class and a pre-test and post-tests, all designed to prepare people for the certification exams. 

APICS is currently running a virtual training pilot for all the certification preparation courses.  Ten chapters around the country, including APICS-PS, have been selected to participate in this pilot.  Several successful virtual sessions have been held and completed in Texas and Mexico City.  During the pilot period, ending June 30, 2018, the virtual courses are attended, virtually, by participants via GoToMeeting web sharing software.  After June 30th, these chapters will be able to open up the virtual offering to a hybrid offering.  The hybrid will allow participants to pick and choose a classroom environment or a virtual environment or a combination of these two.

In an attempt to attract and maintain individual membership, APICS will offer a monthly payment program before the end of 2018.  The monthly program would only apply to APICS Core members with a  charge of $14/month domestically, and $17/month internationally.  Continuing on the membership discussion, it was announced that APICS is working on offering a multi-membership option, spanning 3-5 years.  Another consideration is allowing a member to select an auto-renewal option so that they could avoid the annual membership extension.

Discussion was held around the course offerings from APICS, which were divided into two areas; Principles designed for education and Certification Preparations designed to prepare people to successfully pass an exam.  It was announced that the principles courseware was in a redesign phase and will be offered as a subscription-based offering by the 1st quarter of 2019.  Principles are specifically designed to fit the continuing education model used by tech schools, colleges and universities and include a mid-term exam and a final exam.

Several chapter representatives offered insight into how they use social media.  One chapter shared that they contract with Hootsuite so that a single social media release can be made and then dispersed out to places LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Dennis Obermeier, MEM, CPIM, CIRM, CSCP, CLTD, PMP, Jonah




APICS Puget Sound Chapter is a partner with APICS, a not-for-profit international educational organization respected throughout the world for its education and professional certification programs. With more than 70,000 individual and corporate members in 20,000 companies worldwide, APICS is dedicated to using education to improve the business bottom line.

Back to top

Future Supply Chain

How universities are grooming talent for the future supply chain

While the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK) holds two student job fairs per year, the supply chain program has so much interest, it holds its own fairs. Around 160-180 Fortune 500 companies come each fall and spring to recruit the 1,000 supply chain students for internships, co-op programs and full-time jobs.

Employers also come to the school’s Supply Chain Forum, a two and a half day program held twice yearly, with panel discussions and speed networking events for the companies and students.

Story Continues --Click Here

Back to top

Career Growth

Theme: Career growth in the technology world of the future

Management Guru Jack Welch once famously said “Engineers who can’t add, Operators who can’t run their equipment and accountants who can’t foot numbers become purchasing professionals.” Keeping the hyperbole aside companies tend to under-invest in the sourcing department and focus more resources on revenue generating departments like Sales or Manufacturing. Product purchases and materials management often make up 60% to 80% of a product’s total cost in most manufacturing firms (source McKinsey). Companies that do not invest time and resources in restructuring the sourcing department often lose money either by putting money on the table or overpaying or bullying. They lack the know-how to form win-win partnerships with their suppliers, get fleeced by them or sometimes strong-hand suppliers which in the worst case results in the suppliers going out of business.

Career growth in procurement encompasses end to end in the supply chain network, i.e. straight from extraction to consumption. Managers have a huge responsibility on their hands. These guys plan and manage all the different activities within the supply chain, including: sourcing, procurement, transport, storage, and distribution. Consequently, to follow this career path you are going to need incredible organizational and communication skills. It’s all about coordinating the different links in the chain.


My journey as a supply chain professional was an unconventional one. I came from an engineering background without any academic exposure to operations management. During my junior year of electronics and telecommunications engineering, I struck upon three problems in the semiconductor sector -  Demand-Supply mismatch, lack of pricing regulations and lack of technical support to customers. To solve this problem, I took on board a couple of like-minded individuals and decided to ‘disrupt’ the semiconductor distribution sector. This is where rubber met the road, and we started the electronics distribution company Fizzible tech. Fortunately, the idea clicked, and we won 30+ awards for the idea, and then our team decided to take this forward as a business.  Initially, the customers were B2C which comprised of hobbyists, maker community, and R&D institutes. However, soon we realized that the B2C electronic distribution market was seasonal. By this time, we had got a couple of mentors on board for whom I am thankful for providing direction regarding business model drafting.

We then tweaked the business model from B2C to B2B which opened new horizons for us regarding outreach and customers. My role initially was an amalgamation of strategy, marketing, and operations. However soon I realized where my strengths were. I used to enjoy interacting with suppliers, negotiating pricing, volumes, lead times. There came a moment where I thought Yes I am an Operations guy. I took upon the mantle of heading the supply chain for my startup.

A couple of years later I decided to take up formal education in supply chain management. I am currently a graduate student majoring in Supply Chain Management at the University of Washington’s Michael G Foster School of Business. My choice of University of Washington was driven by a strong presence of supply chain talent in the city of Seattle and the Puget Sound region. The likes of Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks, Costco etc are known for their efficient supply chains, and it made sense to study at the University of Washington.

Aside from the traditional supply chain curriculum which comprises of operations management, sourcing, logistics, etc, a new sector caught my attention which hasn’t been implemented widely in supply chains throughout the world  - Big Data Analytics!

I was fortunate enough to interact with a few professionals in the industry to understand how they could leverage big data and analytics in their supply chains. Traditionally big data and analytics has not been implemented in the supply chain sector despite there being obvious applications as compared to manufacturing or marketing operations. This has partly been due to supply chains for a long time being driven by statistical analyses and quantifiable performance indicators. However, real-time analytics of huge, rapidly evolving and messy data sets had been virtually absent. Fulfillment, for example, could easily be understood to encompass all of finished goods inventory, order to deliver and outbound logistics. A delay or error at any point will ripple through the system and magnify further down the stream. Traditional forecasting techniques in supply chain meant looking at historical data and trying to extrapolate the future. As mentioned a small glitch in the system and the system breaks down.

Enter advanced predictive analytics! Modern predictive analytics is typically geared towards providing more accurate forecasts by implementing machine learning. This means testing forecasting models like ARIMA, multiple regression, neural network, etc. The systems in the supply chain where predictive analytics could be and are currently being implemented are demand forecasting, finished inventory optimization, replenishment planning (re-order models), supply chain network planning and optimization, transportation. Procurement, shop floor operations, supply chain strategy.

Recently I stumbled upon a quote made by Warren Buffet in 2014 about cryptocurrency – “Stay away from it. It’s a mirage basically”. There are many quotes thrown around regarding block chain, but few people understand that blockchain is not just about cryptocurrency. I recently had the fortune of interacting with a senior manager at Boeing regarding blockchain implementation. One may have multiple views on crypto, but block chain could be a game changer for supply chains all over the world. Block chain would allow for transparency in the entire supply chain right from raw materials tracking to after sales support. Each time a SKU changes levels in the chain, the transaction is documented creating a permanence non-tamper able record from manufacture to sale. The applications are endless resulting in dramatically reducing time delays, human errors, tracking material with origins in grey markets or war-torn areas. Logistics shippers and manufacturing firms like Boeing are already implementing block chain in their business processes.

My role as the VP, Industrial Relations at the Operations and Supply Chain Management Club (OSCM UW) at the University of Washington is to find a way to incorporate the latest developments in supply chain sector into academia. I feel that industry collaboration with academia is the way forward to bridge the talent gap that the industry is currently facing.  Organizations like APICS are a great platform for students to interact with professionals in the industry and APICS is doing a wonderful job in providing a great networking platform for supply chain professionals and aspiring professionals. I would love to meet professionals over coffee or beer to discuss opportunities in this sector. You could connect with me on or on shoot me a request on linked in -

Back to top


Technology in Supply Chain – from a membership perspective.

What’s in it for me? In general speak, how does technology impact my job or the level at which I can fulfill the duties of my position? Well, I would say quite a bit. Our success as supply chain or operations professionals is quite dependent on our ability to data-mine through ERP systems or from exports of data to excel spreadsheets. Maybe you are a database wiz, and you already know all the spreadsheet basics like VLOOKUP’s, sorting/filtering, or you are a master with Pivot Tables? Do you take advantage of your IT team to help you with automated SQL reports? Either way, we use technology in all aspects of our working lives, and it is even becoming more integrated into our personal lives with the use of smartphones…

Are you currently using dashboards to monitor your business situation? Are you using mobile apps on a tablet to help you manage your warehouse? What about RFID, or ASN’s, or certain levels of EDI with your customers and suppliers? Do you share data or does that create too much risk?

These are all fairly basic questions we should continually ask ourselves as we progress into our careers. Do you feel that either your APICS membership or certification has helped you achieve greater success in your role at work? If not, what can we do as a chapter to assist you in your path to success? I would strongly suggest looking further into one of APICS certification programs if you have not already. While not a guarantee that having one of these world-renowned certifications will help you climb the corporate ladder (if that is your goal) or gain you the knowledge to better understand how your ERP system works – they will provide you the education to be better equipped than most of your peers.

Again, technology can be a great thing if used with the proper training and knowledge of what you can expect from it. Without the background, training, mentoring, or education – you may be left behind…

We hope to see at upcoming events, and if you do have any interest in volunteering, reach out to me through the INFO@APCIS-PS.ORG email address.


Tom Zistatsis, CPIM



Back to top

APICS Student Chapter

APICS Student Networking Events

A valuable aspect to Western’s APICS Student Chapter are the premier networking events. Our club will host two, yearly networking events that are intended for student and professional networking, as well as the opportunity to hear from a knowledgeable speaker in a booming industry. Our goal for our student networking events is to allow APICS members the chance to meet and speak with industry professionals, to learn from them, and expand their professional contact list. This gives students the possibility of meeting a future mentor or the ability to reach out to new connections when they move forward in their career development. To make these networking events possible, we host raffles and reach out to local business for donations.

For our first Spring 2018 Networking Event, we were fortunate to have Craig Cumberland come and speak to us at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal. Craig is the Vice President of Products at GE Digital and joined us to speak about the Internet of Things (IoT) and GE’s brilliant manufacturing. Craig gave an excellent talk on how the IoT is, “the next big thing”, and the impact it will have on the tech industry in the future. For our Fall 2018 Networking Event at the Windows on the Bay, we will have Sean Kelley come and speak to us on behalf of Amazon and its future. Sean is the Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Director at Amazon. Sean’s informative talk will focus on the future of Amazon and how their actions in past have gotten them to where they are today.

These networking events allow APICS students to learn about new and exciting topics as well meet with industry professionals who they can utilize as future life-long contacts to help advance their career growth and development in the post-graduation world.

Contact our WWU APICS Chapter Email:

Website Facebook page name APICS @ WWU and URL is:

Back to top


Last week APICS Puget Sound Chapter hosted a workshop on Inventory Planning Concepts for Manufacturers & Distributors, taught by John Estep, president of E/Step SofJohnEsteptware Inc.  Attendees learned why the fixed time supply and Z factors methods result in safety stocks that are either too high or yield service that is too low.  Instead they learned to apply the Partial Expectation Function to compute safety stocks that achieve their service targets and those of their customers.  They also learned to compute control limits for monitoring inventory levels, just as process businesses use X Bar & R charts to monitor processes.

On March 1 the chapter also hosted a workshop on Demand Forecasting Concepts for Manufacturers & Distributors which was also led by John Estep.  Attendees  discovered that using less frequent forecast calendars for slow moving SKUs and more frequent forecast calendars for fast moving SKUs results in significantly lower forecast errors (and thus inventory) while also reducing their workload.  The also learned never to use MAD or MAPE for calculating forecast errors, but to use the standard deviation of forecast errors instead.  Among other techniques they saw how Fourier Seasonal Profiles generate seasonal models with greater accuracy and stability than the Base Index method.

The series was kicked off in early February with a PDM presentation on Component Safety Stock by John Estep, who demonstrated how to translate forecast errors down through the bill of materials in order to compute a safety stock at WIP and raw material levels so as to decouple long lead time materials from the cumulative lead time of their parents—resulting in significant overall inventory reductions.



Back to top


February 22, 2018

What does the future hold?

Last night, Gerald Jackson a VP at General Electric Digital, discussed this topic with the WWU_GuestGEWestern Washington APICS Student chapter in Bellingham.  The first discussion point was that of the Circular Economy.  This is an alternative to what we commonly refer to as a linear economy, where we extract, transform, sell and then dispose.  The circular economy attempts to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.  The home washing machine was used as a example of a linear economy product with planned obsolesce.  Of course, the sooner the machine wore out and was disposed of, the more products could be built therefore increasing bottom line profits.

GE is using Circular Economic ideas in their aircraft engine products.  These engines now are monitored with sophisticated mathematical algorithms while in service to predicted when the next maintenance is required, allowing for planned downtime.  Also, engines are designed to allow for upgrades and modifications to keep the product current and useful for as long as possible.  

Gerald made the interesting and thought-provoking statement that, “GE realized that they sell ‘Power’-so products need to last a very long time.”  This meant that GE had to take a good look at their business model and has concluded that what they sell is a service, not things.  This has meant that service parts have become very important to the goal of the company.  This new view has taken the focus away from the standard logistics flow (mine, transform, sell, & dispose) and created a bigger focus on reverse logistics flow.  In the past, reverse logistics flow was highly undesirable, because is was not well defined and cumbersome to operate.  GE has come to realize that reverse logistics is a key driver in the circular economy. 

When a question was asked about the future where it is predicted that 65% of the jobs available in 2030 are even defined today because of advanced in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Gerald affirmed this was likely.  He stated that “any job that required repetition, will likely be replaced by AI.”  He suggested that great Supply Chain knowledge is critical for the future.  Jobs in the future will require excellent writing skills, great teamwork, excellent problem solving and the ability to design global supply chains.  The jobs of the future will be global in their scope. 

By Dennis Obermeier, MEM, CPIM, CIRM, CSCP, CLTD, PMP, Jonah


Back to top


APRIL 2018

CPIM Part 2, Public course at Sequoyah Electric in Redmond

Tues/Thurs April 10 - May 22, class dates 4/10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, 5/1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22 from 3 to 6 PM

MAY 2018

CPIM Part 1 Virtual Attendance/Web via GTM

8 3- hour sessions, Mon/Weds evenings, 5:30 to 8:30 PM Pacific time on your computer, dates: May 21, 23, 28, 30, June 4, 6, 11, 13

May 21, 2018 5:30 PM PDT - 8:30 PM PDT

June 2018

CPIM Part 2 Virtual Attendance/Web based via Go To Meeting

13 3-hour sessions, Mon/Weds evenings, 5:30 to 8:30 PM Pacific time on your computer, Dates; Jun 25, 27, July 2, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30, Aug 1, 6, 8



Wednesday evenings 5:30 - 8:30pm Pacific Time, September 17 

13 3-hour sessions, Mon/Weds evenings. Dates; Sept 17, 19, 24, 26, Oct 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29

Back to top

Calendar of Events

March 2018

2018 BOD Meetings

  • March 27
  • May 15
  • June 26

5:00 PM PST - 7:00 PM PST

Kocer Consulting
3147 Fairview Ave. E. Suite 100 
Seattle, WA 98102

Follow Preapproved Agenda

Lean Six Sigma TOC Training Series

5 Sessions 4 hrs each from 7.30am to 11.30am | Team-Oriented, Interactive

"Certification" will be recieved by each participant upon completion.

Learning by Doing! Application "Hands On" Classroom Enviroment.

LeanSixSigmaTOC Training

Schedule Training Series on the following areas:

* Lean Interactive Simulation Workshop | * Work Area Org. 6s & Setup Reduction, TOC | * Process Mapping & Elimination of Waste | * Continuous Improvement, Toyota Kata & Kaizen | * Problem Solving and Desicion Making


*Check our APICS Puget Sound for scheduled date in MEETING/EVENT INFORMATION to reserve your spot.

Back to top


Hello APICS Members!

Our Best Practice Tours that are sponsored by APICS and Kocer Consulting+Engineering are highly attended and really enjoyable.  We have so many great companies in Washington that are willing to share their new ideas and help other companies to improve.  Expeditors International, Legend Brands, Boeing, Nintendo, Paccar, Qualitel, and the Port of Seattle are a few of the great organizations that have provided tours over the last few years.  Everyone is typically excited to get out of the office and see something new, and it allows the hosting company to put their best foot forward and increase awareness of their products and services.  We always have a lunch that is either sponsored by the hosting company or by APICS and I always meet new people at every one of these tours.  These are a win-win for everyone involved and our programs committee will continue to organize these for our members. 

If your company would be interested in hosting a tour, or if you would like to join our programs committee, call Gaby Thomas at 206-528-0111 ext 5.  I look forward to seeing you at our next event!

Take Care,

DanKocerAPICS-PSBOD-Programs KocerConsultingEngineering

President of Kocer Consulting + Engineering, and Board Member for APICS Puget Sound

Back to top

Certification Career Credentials

APICS:  What’s In It For Me?

Take a moment and check out the APICS Programs CSCP, CPIM, CLTD, and SCOR to find out best fit(s) for enhancing your career  and  improving your companies bottom-line.

For Instructor Led APICS Certification Course Offerings by APICS Puget Sound Chapter Check Here

World-Renowed APICS Programs:

"Why you should earn the CSCP designation

  • -Increase your salary - on average designees see a 12% increase
  • -Improve your hiring potential by 65%
  • -Maximize your organization's ERP investments
  • -Effectively manage global end-to-end supply chain activities
  • -Understand how to increase customer satisfaction
  • -Increase your professional value and secure your future"


"Why you should earn the CPIM designation

  • -Increase your salary - on average designees see a 12% increase
  • -Improve your hiring potential by 65%
  • -Maximize ROI on the systems and technologies
  • -Reduce your organization's costs
  • -Provide more value to your organization
  • -Understand how to increase customer satisfaction
  • -Build your credibility and set yourself apart from peers"

"Why you should earn the CLTD designation

  • -Gain recognition in the field as a logistics expert
  • -Build credibility and set yourself apart from peers
  • -Learn latest trends in global supply chain logistics
  • -Impact your organization's bottom line
  • -Demonstrate logistics mastery of knowledge"

Supply Chain Excellence is a Journey

"More than 5,000 companies have learned to navigate that journey . . . "

Back to top

APICS Conference



Make this the year you expand your knowledge and help improve overall supply chain operations. APICS offers end-to-end supply chain, logistics and operations management conferences, seminars and events to help you advance your career and your company’s performance. 


Mark your calendar for the 2018 CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO FROM SEPT 30 – OCT 2.




Back to top