I studied analytical chemistry at the Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Czechia, and in February 1990, I moved to St. Gallen in eastern Switzerland.
I have worked in several positions in quality control and quality assurance. After a postgraduate course in galenic at the prestigious Swiss Technical University ETH, I started as a production manager. In 2009, I held a leading position in the development department of Novartis in Basel, where I managed a group of 55 people (production, storage, distribution, and data management).
At that time, the company management decided, as part of the reorganization, that every member of the middle management must have the necessary education and a certificate to enable him to work in the supply chain. As a chemist, of course, I had no idea what to expect from this challenge. And frankly – I didn’t even feel any particular desire after a week of hard work to study on weekends!
However, the content of the APICS courses and the work methodology of our teacher Rob van Stratum were an immediate and delightful surprise for me. As a result, a new world of people thinking utterly different from the chemist with academic education has opened up to me.
The courses were instructive, motivating, and above all perfectly prepared me for the upcoming task – ERP implementation. As a storage and distribution project manager, I was responsible for implementing SAP in our department. Without CPIM and later CSCP courses, I would have no idea what to expect.
Thanks to the new knowledge gained in the classes, I have successfully completed the demanding SAP implementation. I spent the next five years at Novartis in the supply chain management department as a planner. I was responsible for the entire planning of several brands with an annual turnover of over 1.2 billion Swiss francs.
In the end, APICS knowledge led me to become a partner of Supply Chain Education, an APICS representative in Czechia and Slovakia, together with my former teacher and two other SCM professionals. We form a truly international team, with members from the Netherlands, Spain, Czechia and Switzerland.
To date, the company has trained more than 150 experts.
In 2018 I quit my job, and as a career coach, I advise professionals – especially those working in the supply chain. In my daily practice, I also see how much motivation for my customers is corporate education.
APICS certification and knowledge of terminology, together with practical experience in the field, allow me to be a credible partner of my clients in my work. I continue to strongly encourage anyone working in the supply chain to complete at least one of the CPIM, CSCP, or CLTD certificates. They are genuinely prestigious and recognized worldwide as the gold standard of education in this field. Besides, for most companies, those certifications are a prerequisite for accepting a candidate for a position in the industry, which indicates their enormous influence on their future career.
How about you? What certification has impacted your career the most? What certification are you willing to pursue next?
Share your thoughts and experience with us and reach out to Vaclav Sulista for career coaching and training.