The Sobel & Co. November 2017 Case Study is focused on how a company can be effectively positioned for growth by gaining a CPIM Certification and upgrading the skills of the employees.

The Company Description

Zodiac Aerospace (ZAES) is a world leader in aerospace equipment and systems for commercial, regional and business aircraft, as well as helicopters and space applications. The company is also a key player in air safety. A key to their success is their ability to anticipate and support the needs of their clients by responding to newly emerging challenges of the market. Zodiac Aerospace employs over 30,000 people worldwide.  With approximately 300 of them working in the Wall Township facility in the Zodiac Aero Evacuation Systems (ZAES) business unit.

The Situation  

ZAES contacted NJMEP in 1999 to elicit their assistance with a particular manufacturing problem they were encountering in one of their processes. Over the years since then ZAES has experienced additional manufacturing problems, the most recent being the effort to embrace Lean initiatives.  Because of their long history with NJMEP, they asked the organization to conduct a “Lean 101” seminar for employees.  As well as initiating kaizen events in its Raft Department.  At the same time, ZAES required training in Sales & Operations Planning (S&O), establishing an Inventory Management system, while also conducting the first round of CPIM training*.


It just made sense that when the company wanted to prepare its purchasing staff to certify to APICS CPIM and upgrade its Engineering Departments skills, NJMEP got the call from ZAES.


*To clarify: The Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) is an APICS program that provides company employees with the ability to understand and evaluate production and inventory activities within a company's global operations. APICS is the leading professional association for supply chain and operations management. Having ZAES’s purchasing staff CPIM certified was very important to the company.

The Solution

NJMEP and ZAES constructed a plan to achieve the company’s two key objectives. One- earning CPIM certification and two- upgrading the skills of the engineering departments.


To help defray these new training costs, ZAES applied for a Skills4Jersey grant. Finally, the grant was awarded and training for 62 employees began.   

During the three sessions of APICS training focused on Logistics and Materials management.


The additional training under the grant included:

  • Supply Chain Overview Training

  • Yellow Belt Training

  • MRP (Materials Resource Planning)/ERP Overview Training

  • Lean Manufacturing – Project Management/Design Flow and Cellular Flow Manufacturing w/Implementation

  • Design for Six Sigma

  • Root cause analysis

  • ESL (intermediate level) (18)

The Results

A critical outcome of the investment made by ZAES in training their staff, the company increased its competitiveness by improving product quality and reducing lead times.  At the same time they also developed new sales channels to increase the prospect pipeline while assuring that the company would retain its current client base.  


In the six to 12 months after completing the CPIM certification training and upgrading the Engineering Department skills, ZAES reported the following impact as a direct consequence of the training:

  • Over $100,000 in new sales

  • Over $1,000,000  in retained sales

  • 15 additional new employees and retention of 10 jobs

  • Employee morale improved

  • Significant  general cost savings

  • Over $50,000  in training cost savings as a result of receiving the Skills4Jersey grant

  • Almost a $100,000 invested in training, equipment and new products and processes


Need help? Talk to Sobel & Co. and NJMEP!