Back To School—Education adapts to a changing supply chain world

From the April 2019 print edition

Supply chain, like many professional fields, is in the midst of enormous change.

The existing workforce is aging while Millennial-generation employees increase. As well, there is increased use of cutting-edge technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing. Global supply chains are also raising the field’s profile within organizations—all of this means professionals in the field must reassess their skills to remain relevant and continue to drive value for their organizations. But which skills should be developed? How should supply chain professionals prepare for these changes? And what educational opportunities exist to help those professionals on their way?

Supply Professional magazine has you covered. We’ve compiled information about designations and educational courses from several organizations, including universities and professional associations. Take a look below and see which one may be right for you.

Athabasca University

Looking to take your supply chain management career to the next level?
The Faculty of Business at Athabasca University (AU) has a number of open, flexible options for those looking to advance their supply chain management (SCM) career path.
“We’re more than a leader in online education, we invented it,” says dean Deborah Hurst. “By working with key partners, like the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA), we’re able to offer courses that give our learners immediate workplace applicability—taking theory and putting it to practice on real-world problems. We provide the applicable tools to empower our learners to reach their educational and career goals.”
Combining innovative management leadership skills with superior supply chain management knowledge, AU’s online format provides working professionals more flexibility than any other program on the market—without sacrificing academic rigour or peer-to-peer interaction.
Those just starting out in their supply chain management careers can enhance their strategic supply sustainability and operational effectiveness with AU’s Online Supply Chain Management Certificate of Completion. These courses explore all aspects of SCM strategy in your organization, from supply chain mapping to issues related to developing green supply chains in eight courses.
Students can use these courses to complete a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Leadership and Management or put them towards AU’s Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) for Supply Chain Management program, should you meet the entrance requirements.
For the more experienced SCM professional, AU’s Online MBA for SCM is that next step. Depending on your undergraduate studies, whether or not you’ve achieved your Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) designation—and if you’ve previously studied with AU—you may qualify for either the standard entry route or the accelerated entry route into the program.
Supply chain management professionals can take courses from wherever they live while continuing to work at their existing job. Offering the world’s first online MBA program 25 years ago, AU has met students wherever they’re at in their lives. No matter where you’re at in your journey, AU has options to help you achieve your educational goals on the pathway of your choosing.


In a competitive marketplace, setting yourself apart from the crowd is a key to success. Professional designations offer excellent opportunities to improve your skills and advance your career. Designations like the CIFFA Professional Freight Forwarder (PFF) can elevate the logistics professional and the industry to an increased standard.

“CIFFA’s PFF designation signifies a high degree of knowledge, experience and level of excellence that individuals provide to the freight forwarding industry” says Bruce Rodgers, CIFFA’s executive director. “We have seen a significant increase of interest in our program since we revised the criteria and enhanced the educational requirements back in 2017. Employers see the immediate benefits of having highly skilled, principled and competent professionals on staff, trained in all aspects of global supply chain.”

Current PFF’s contribute to the industry by sitting on working groups and committees, representing freight forwarders at events and trade shows and contributing to the overall promotion of the global freight logistics sector. They make a point of continuing to learn throughout their careers and are required to maintain personal and professional development through conferences, workshops and training.

PFF’s are granted access to CIFFA communications, including the daily eBulletin. They enjoy free membership if employed by a CIFFA member and receive member pricing on CIFFA education and events.

They’re also listed in the CIFFA print and online directory that recognizes them as “individual members.”

An employer or client can feel confident that a PFF has been properly vetted. CIFFA has an application requirement where they must be nominated by a current or previous employer, provide multiple industry references provide proof of Canadian residence. Each application is approved by the CIFFA board of directCanadian Institute of Traffic and Transportation


The CCLP designation (formerly known as CITT) is granted by CITT—a non-profit organization created by industry in 1958. The CCLP designation is ideal for anyone who buys, sells or manages the flow of goods or product or is impacted by supply chain logistics. To earn the CCLP designation, candidates must complete a program of study involving CITT’s specialized logistics courses and business management courses for which exemptions are available. Alternatively, one can take the challenge on-ramp, consisting of an exam and a structured interview. Regardless of whether a candidate takes the program of study or the challenge on-ramp, they must have three years of relevant industry experience and commit to a professional code of ethics. To develop and continuously improve the curriculum, CITT has worked directly with industry to create a national standard for measuring and marking competency in supply chain logistics. The competencies certified by CCLP are:

  • Integrated logistics
  • Operations management
  • Distribution
  • Transportation
  • Customs and compliance
  • Risk management
  • Relationship management
  • Leadership

CCLP holders are connected to the network of thousands of fellow CCLPs and CITT students representing carriers, 3PL/4PLs, warehousing, ancillary service providers, and shippers across commercial sectors. These professionals gather at learning and networking events throughout Canada, through CITT’s six local area chapters. CCLP designation holders and CITT students also get free access to CITT’s acclaimed webinar series (regularly $900 per year), an exclusive job board, and preferred pricing for CITT’s annual Canada Logistics Conference and other professional development opportunities.

“You can’t get any better than the CCLP designation for self-driven learning, notes Perry Lo, CCLP, CA, managing director, Canaan Transport, Ontario. “It was so relevant in what I do day-to-day that I’m still applying some concepts from the courses, 10 years later. And I’ve gained a huge network of contacts to help me and my business.

Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)

The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Global Travel Professional (GTP) certification is designed to raise industry standards, enhance work performance and recognize those who demonstrate core competencies essential to the business travel management discipline. Benefits of the certification program include professional growth and development, a demonstrated commitment to leadership and knowledge of the industry along with recognition and career advancement.

GTP certification benefits the business travel industry overall by curating a body of knowledge for business travel professionals. It also helps to measure and maintain industry knowledge while granting recognition to industry professionals who pass the exam. It also elevates the status and credibility of professionals in the business travel industry.

The GTP Approved Provider Program allows organizations that offer business travel-related educational sessions the opportunity to award recertification credits to GTP certification holders. The program works to enhance the professional development of GTP credential holders by offering learning experiences related to business travel management.

There are two steps in the Approved Provider Program:

  1. Qualify as an approved provider; and
  2. Submit content for review.

There are several benefits to the program. For example, GTP-approved providers:

  • Can publicize their organization as a GTP approved provider;
  • Receive an approved provider seal for use in marketing and onsite materials as well as on attendee certificates of completion;
  • Are listed as a GTP approved provider on the GTP certification page; and
  • Can link to the GTP section of the GBTA website.

Supply Chain Management Association


The Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA) offers two education streams, as well as regular professional-development webinars. The Supply Management Training™ program offers tactical courses and seminars designed to provide a solid skills base. The Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) designation program is higher-level learning that looks at the end-to-end supply chain.

The SCMP program includes eight courses—covering such topics as logistics and transportation, operations and process management, global sourcing and overall supply chain management—and six workshops, focused on business-skill development. It also features an annual in-residence week, which brings together SCMP candidates to learn from acclaimed leaders from across North America on the most-timely supply chain issues, while also including final exam preparation; a final examination; and a practical-experience requirement, a minimum of three years of progressive experience in any aspect of supply chain management.

SCMA has significantly revamped the SCMP in-residence week to provide a valuable learning experience for participants, starting with this year’s event on May 5 to 8 in Calgary. The 2019 faculty of 11 includes presenters from HEC Montréal, NC State University, Ryerson University, University of Calgary and University of Tennessee; GlobalSC Consultants, I4C Global (International Commercial, Contracts & Compliance Consultants), KPMG, PwC and Soul Systems; and companies Encana Corporation and Microsoft. Their topics will range from analytics, the future of procurement, outsourcing, strategic planning, digital transformation and sustainability to soul leadership.

Also new for the SCMP designation program is a pathways program that expands opportunities for supply chain practitioners to achieve the designation. While SCMA has always provided exemptions for particular courses and workshops assessed on an individual case-by-case basis, the pathways program recognizes prior learning on a wider scale. Recent agreements with CITT, Rutgers University and the Schulich School of Business exempt their students from specific components of the SCMP program. SCMA expects to broaden the academic pathways to the SCMP designation.

Other pathways are under review to recognize the work experience of various groups.

All candidates for the SCMP, regardless of their path to the designation, will continue to be required to attend the IRW, pass the final exam and show evidence of their relevant work experience.

The final exam in the SCMP program is case based. Rather than simply asking a number of multiple-choice questions, the rigorous exam demands that students demonstrate their firm grasp of concepts taught throughout the program.

James King, Senior Director of the Office of Career Management at Rutgers Business School said after the March 7, 2019, agreement-signing ceremony in New Jersey, “We are thrilled to partner with the SCMA to offer opportunities to our students to pursue supply chain management careers in Canada.”
The SCMP designation is clearly seen by Rutgers, the Schulich School and CITT as an important asset in the development of a supply chain career.

Schulich School of Business

The new Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM) program from the Schullich School of Business at York University is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in building, managing and changing supply chains. The 39‐credit full-time or part-time program will develop the analytical and managerial skills needed to find creative supply chain solutions to business opportunities and challenges in private, non-profit and governmental sectors. The program adds value to supply chain professionals who hold undergraduate degrees in areas such as engineering, economics, healthcare, science, social science, and business.

The MSCM allows for part‐time enrolment for those already working in the field. Full‐time students can finish the program in one year, while part‐time students can do so in as little as two years. Certain qualified candidates may be eligible for advanced standing.

The MSCM curriculum combines foundational business knowledge with specific, functional courses and their practical application. The program is experiential and culminates in a collaborative supply chain consulting project in which groups explore opportunities for business development and problem-solving for a local client organization.

As space is limited, meeting the general admission requirements for the MSCM does not guarantee admission. A holistic approach is taken during the application review process and all components are considered during the application review process. Applicant require an undergraduate degree with a minimum of a B+ average in the last two full years (or equivalent) of academic work. Applicants with a three-year degree must also have one year of full-time, post-graduate work experience.

Applicants must complete an online application which involves completing essays (two written, one timed written and two video), submit a resume, two references and unofficial copies of transcripts from all post-secondary institutions they’ve attended.