StarChapter of September: APICS Princeton South Jersey

The APICS Princeton South Jersey chapter is a vibrant organization that helps serve the needs of members with extensive educational programs, professional development meetings in the northern and southern areas of their territory, networking opportunities, workshops, as well as many service and social opportunities.  We were able to connect with Pete Blok, Vice President of Marketing for the chapter, to discuss how they improve the professional wellbeing of their members. 

1. What was APICS Princeton South Jersey’s strategy for engaging new members in the past year?

APICS Princeton South Jersey (PRSJ) is an organization focused on improving the professional wellbeing and skills of our members. We serve professionals in the supply chain community. That includes supply chain practitioners and many people who support supply chain functions such as IT professionals, Quality Systems professionals, Import/Export regulatory experts and professionals in the logistics and transportation services sectors.  APICS offers 3 of the top recognized professional certifications in the world, the CSCP, the CPIM and the CLTD. We also have ongoing professional education, networking opportunities for career growth, and mentoring opportunities for young people entering the profession.  

2. Tell us about a successful event/meeting you organized last year.

We've had many successful events this year, among them was our Top Management Night event in June.  It was very well attended and featured Ms. Sharron Bracken, President of Abbott Point of Care as the keynote speaker. We launched our "Lunch and Learn" webinar series this year and featured sessions on Supply Chain Security and the Supply Chain Impact of BREXIT. We've also had many well-attended events on career development, application of supply chain principles in the military, and sessions on improving the customer experience at J&J Consumer. 

3. The APICS Princeton South Jersey network is extensive. Does the board get ideas on how to improve membership value from other chapters?

The board of directors team at PRSJ is an experienced group who works well with each other as well as with other APICS chapters.  Our support network includes the chapters in our region as well as several chapters around the country. We take advantage of regional and international APICS meetings to share ideas for chapter management, recruiting and retention of members, ideas of new services and activities, as well as tips and techniques for communications and engagement. Overall the APICS community is very supportive of each other.

4. Do you have any tips/advice to share with other board volunteers?

There are many chapters in the APICS community that are innovative and clever, so it seems a bit bold to make suggestions.  If there are "lessons learned" to be shared I would say the biggest one never stop believing in your mission. In 2016, at the national meeting in Las Vegas, the famed Jack Welsh reminded us that "Supply Chain is the Hottest Job in Town". And, it is! Without supply chain professionals, nothing happens; no food, no medicine, no smiles at holiday times, nothing!   The other lesson learned is practicing what your parents taught you, "God gave you 2 ears and one mouth for a reason - so shut up and listen". Your members, students, the local community have a lot to say - listen to them. We learned that many people feel stressed over time and distance. Things that us old APICS veterans thought was normal are not so normal today. There are different pressures, 9 to 5 is a thing of the past, the time and distance of travel and commuting are different. As a result, your approach to professional development meetings (PDMs), education, and networking have to adjust.  Be flexible!  Maybe fast track classes are best. Maybe weekend options are better.  How about webcasting PDMs?   Technology is a great tool. Use it to learn what your community wants and use it you help you deliver.  The job market has changed. The days of "Get a job at XYZ corporation and retire with a pension and a gold watch" are long gone.  Every professional is a functional free agent. You are solely responsible for honing and maintaining your skill.  You are responsible for managing your career.  The chapters of APICS can play a role in helping.  We form a community for our fellow professionals to learn, share ideas, and promote each other, aid each other, support each other.  StarChapter and the web are part of that. The biggest part of it is you and your fellow APICS members. The past is the past, learn from it but don't live there. Use it as a jumping off point to find new ways to solve problems and deliver value to your fellow supply chain practitioners.

5. What is in store for your members this year?

Our 2016-2017 year was very successful. We have seen membership increase 19%, have a very vital student group and have increased enrolment in education classes. We'll build on that for the 2017-2018 year. We have planned expansion of the "Lunch and Learn" series and hosting more plant tours. We're working to start off with a tour of a local Amazon facility.  In addition, we're working on new ways to allow our members to benefit from our monthly professional development meetings by adding in meeting broadcasting to some select locations throughout the chapter's geography so those people who have very long distances to travel can find places closer to network and get the benefits of the ongoing education we offer.  We're all very excited about the coming year and look forward to making it the best the chapter has ever had. 

6. How have been able to utilize StarChapter to run APICS Princeton South Jersey and reach its goals?  

APICS Princeton South Jersey uses social media, email, and direct outreach via phone to engage its members. Having a web presence is a key piece of our strategy to remain connected to our membership, to help in the recruiting of new members, and to inform our community about new events and services the chapter has to offer.  The StarChapter website and tools have made keeping connected so much easier for those that manage and use the website. Tracking, updating, member registration, and payments have been simplified using StarChapter. We've gone from being dependent on one person who can code things to having multiple people in the chapter updating and sharing information with no need for programming. Our membership has grown by 19% this year, in partbecause of an effective web presence.


APICS Princeton South Jerse


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