Employee Training Institute provides expert instruction for all levels of employees
College of the Canyons Instructor Ellen Kane began working with computers and software programming before her alma mater, UCLA, ever graduated a computer science major. After receiving a math degree, she was hired by a company to learn COBOL. As her career progressed, she worked doing installs and implementations for a manufacturing software provider. One of her clients was legendary loudspeaker company JBL, which she eventually joined and became project leader for implementing the same ERP software system. She advanced to IT director for JBL and spent 10 years there immersed in the manufacturing environment.
In addition to running IT, Kane also ran the master scheduling function of the planning department, which she describes as “the top-level planning that determines what the factory is going to make based on customer sales.” She also ran distribution for JBL.
Currently, Kane sits on the board of directors of the San Fernando Valley chapter of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), formerly known as APICS. She teaches for ASCM as well as for College of the Canyons. The Workforce and Economic Advancement division of College of the Canyons is pleased to present the following Q&A with Ellen Kane.
Q: What are some of the topics you cover in your supply chain management classes?
Ellen Kane: The classes I teach are mostly designed to prepare people to become certified through ASCM. We cover planning and inventory management extensively. We also have sections on distribution and purchasing. We have an overview course that ties all of those pieces together, which gives people an understanding of how their job fits in with the entire organization.
I also teach a vocational training course that covers the same body of knowledge but at a more basic level. That class is designed for employees who want to enhance their job-related skills.
Lastly, I’d like to mention the great work that College of the Canyons is doing with the Ready To Work Academy!, which is a program developed in partnership with Carousel Ranch — an organization that is dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults with special needs. Just before the pandemic, the college asked me to put together a distribution warehousing course for high-functioning young adults with autism. We started offering the class again at the end of last July and graduated students from the first full 15-week course. We are now preparing for the next class of students, which I will be teaching.
Q: What kind of work are the Carousel Ranch students performing?
Kane: These students are being prepared to work in distribution facilities. They help prepare complex orders for shipping. Employers find them to be great workers because they have the ability to be very focused and excel at doing many of the repetitive kinds of tasks that are required in a warehouse. The companies they work for are typically large service companies. It is very satisfying to see these young adults find employment and have the opportunity to become self-sufficient.
Q: What are the job responsibilities of the employees that you train in your supply chain certification classes?
Kane: There are employees who are planners, expeditors, inventory control and warehouse workers. I teach at the management level as well.
The classes that we teach at College of the Canyons are open to employees from multiple companies. We teach the best practices that are relevant to the specific course. Our students have the opportunity in class to share how they do things at their company, which adds great value to the learning experience.
Q: What types of companies do you most often work with?
Kane: I work extensively with manufacturing, aerospace and biotech companies.
Q: How can supply chain management training improve a company’s bottom line?
Kane: One of the most direct ways is by improving inventory management. During class, we discuss processes and strategies that help ensure an organization has the right inventory in place at the right time and with the right number of products. When employees understand how to manage inventory more effectively, they can reduce or eliminate stockouts, which helps improve customer service and on-time delivery and reduces downtime on the production floor. Time and money are wasted any time you have to change what you’re running — due to a stockout — on a production floor.
All supply chain management classes offered by the Employee Training Institute are eligible for Employment Training Panel Funding (ETP) that offsets the cost of training.
Q: How do the employees you teach attain certification?
Kane: The certification that students can achieve is given by our parent organization, ASCM. There’s a test that students can take after they complete our class and finish their period of study. Not all students in those classes are interested in taking the exam. I would estimate that between 30% and 50% of the students are motivated to take the certification exam.
Q: What kinds of certifications does ASCM provide?
Kane: There are three certifications that our organization offers. Through College of the Canyons, we teach classes that prepare students for all three. The first one is called Certified in Planning and Inventory Management (CPIM). This class helps students develop the competencies to successfully work across all functions of the supply chain. This class also covers how to effectively manage risks and disruptions, as well as leverage technology to streamline processes.
And then we have a higher-level certification designed for management and decision makers called Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), which covers everything you need to know across the global supply chain, from suppliers to customers and back again.
The third class prepares students to become Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD). During this class, students learn about topics including logistics overview and strategy, logistics network design, sustainability and reverse logistics, capacity planning, and demand management.
Through all of the courses we teach, our goal is to help people learn how to do their jobs better so that they can take on more responsibility. The knowledge they gain in class helps them to ask the right questions. And perhaps most importantly, they become aware of how their job contributes to the success of the organization and to the satisfaction of their customers.
The Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) is the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation, innovation and leadership. As the largest nonprofit association for supply chain, ASCM is an unbiased partner, connecting companies around the world to the newest thought leadership on all aspects of supply chain.
For more information about supply chain management courses being offered by the Employee Training Institute at College of the Canyons, please contact:
Client Relations Liaison
Employee Training Institute
College of the Canyons