APICS and American Society of Transportation and Logistics (AST&L) announced today that the boards of directors of both organizations have approved an agreement under which AST&L will merge with APICS upon ratification by an AST&L member vote. Following the close of the transaction, APICS intends to integrate AST&L within its existing operations.

Laurie Hein Denham, current AST&L president will join APICS as a senior director.

The announcement itself outlines three strategic rationales for this combination and essentially adds more logistics and transportation depth to the APICS body of knowledge. AST&L offered various certification programs including certification in transportation and logistics as well as distinguished logistics professional.

This announcement follows the April 2014 merger of the Supply Chain Council (SCC) with APICS. Thus far, the distinctiveness of SCC’s distinctive different corporate focused education and certification activities related to the SCOR Framework and high-level supply chain process and measurement metrics have, by our lens, been laggard since that merger. APICS has yet to sponsor a separate and distinctive conference related to Supply Chain Council’s unique body of knowledge and expertise. Similarly, local APICS chapters for the most part not adopted training and/or certification efforts related to SCOR. Current SCOR training is delivered by former SCOR certified instructors.

No doubt, with today’s announcement, APICS continues efforts to position itself as a prime supply chain certification and body of knowledge resource for global-wide supply chains. To sustain these efforts, APICS needs to keep pace with the clock speed of changes being placed on multiple industry supply chain teams today. Supply chain talent development and retention is constantly being identified as a significant challenge today and professional organizations, academic institutions and community colleges need to up their game in the offering of timely and pertinent training and professional development. Consolidation and/or mergers of professional organizations are a valid strategy if the sum of the parts is far more efficient, effective and timely to current needs.

Bob Ferrari