CAWP Management Skills Training Program Courses

Patty Renneckar

The Centre for Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP) is Canada’s national centre for education, training, and technical assistance for the wood products manufacturing industry, based at the University of British Columbia. CAWP offers a wide range of training courses, professional e-learning programs, in-plant training, product development, and manufacturing improvement services. 

CAWP offers a Management Skills Training Program in nine short online training courses for wood products manufacturers. The Wood Manufacturing Council funded program development in 2009, and it is open to all. CAWP will be offering Supply Chain Management and Factory Planning and Equipment Justification from May 9 to June 20, 2022.

The program is designed for various professionals, including entrepreneurs in the wood products industry who need to learn about and implement multiple management systems to delegate responsibilities and focus on business growth. There are management or supervisory-track employees within wood products companies of all sizes who need to gain new skills to move into positions of greater responsibility. Additionally, many employees need to understand specific functions within their company to do their jobs more efficiently (e.g., salespeople who need to know how to make production decisions and vice versa). And, of course, people from non-wood products backgrounds who are preparing to take on supervisory or management roles in the industry. With the skilled labour shortage, hiring people outside the industry is becoming more common.

The Supply Chain Management course module will demystify the topic of supply chain management and relate it to other operational decision areas such as production and business finance. Supply chain management is poorly understood but a source of significant potential cost reductions and operational efficiency gains for those in the know. Examples from the wood products industry will be used to illustrate the concepts covered. The course will describe the various transportation options, benefits and drawbacks of different modes of transportation, and basic logistics management methods. Furthermore, it will explain the importance of information collection, forecasting, mapping a supply chain, selecting supply chain partners for the short and long term, operational decisions, inventory control, and the need for multiple sources of supply. Students will also learn to customize specifications for their own needs based on available supplies. The course will also summarize the importance of just-in-time delivery, reserving supply, negotiating for time, and inventory control.

The Factory Planning and Equipment Justification module will be of use to anyone with full or partial responsibility for planning a new facility, improving or enlarging an existing facility, or evaluating the purchase of new equipment such as production machinery. The course is taught using examples from the woodworking manufacturing industry, but concepts are transferrable to other types of business in which industrial equipment is used in a production setting. Learners should complete the Business Finance and Investment Evaluation module before taking this module. Students will learn to analyze data (quality and production) to make equipment justification decisions.

The course will describe the true cost of capital acquisitions, including initial fees, training, installation, maintenance, and parts prices. It will teach students how to develop equipment proposals, including cost savings, quality improvements, and impact on existing manufacturing conditions. Additionally, it will describe the effect of the plant design on production methods, cost, training needs, inventory requirements, product quality, and production scheduling. Students will evaluate alternative layouts in terms of product throughput, price, and profit and explain the major decision affecting the layout and design of a modern secondary manufacturing facility.

The course modules each require approximately 35-45 hours of study over a six-week. They are written specifically for the wood products industry and include numerous case studies and industry examples. 

Participants can either take just one or two individual courses to fill a particular interest or gap in their knowledge or choose any six modules (or five plus a supervised personal project) to obtain a WMC Management Certificate qualification. Each module is offered at least twice a year, and learners move through each course together, interacting and sharing information and experiences.

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