When he was a university student working the night shift at a plywood factory, Warren Sarafinchan didn’t realize that his desire to become a banker would instead lead to a career as a professionally-certified executive in supply chain and logistics.

Upon graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta, Sarafinchan leveraged his factory job experience and education to take a role with a company specifically focused on logistics. By the time he earned his Canadian Institute of Traffic and Transportation (CITT) designation for supply chain and logistics in 1995, he had already made a commitment to pursue a bigger role in the industry.

What to look for

“At the time, I saw logistics and supply chain as an emerging profession within the business world,” says Sarafinchan, who is the vice president of Supply Chain of Sun-Rype Products in Kelowna, B.C. “As a senior executive in supply chain, when I hire people, I look for the CITT designation because I know the caliber of individuals and the training, development, and work experience you need to earn your certification.”

“As a senior executive in supply chain, when I hire people, I look for the CITT designation because I know the caliber of individuals and the training, development, and work experience you need to earn your certification.”

The CITT program is made up of between five to 10 specialized logistics and business management courses that can be completed in 18-24 months. Sarafinchan adds that both undergraduates and post-graduates are welcome to apply to take the courses.

Additionally the courses taken during their university degrees or college diplomas are sometimes accepted as credits for the program. Upon completion of the curriculum, members are required to have five years of work experience to finalize the process.

High standard of a designation

CITT was first incorporated in 1958 and has been a mainstay in the industry ever since. Sarafinchan has himself been a member of CITT’s board since 2003. Members also take part in an annual conference called Reposition that brings together supply chain professionals. This year’s conference is from November 4th -6th  in Halifax.

“When you hold a designation, there are so many opportunities to interact and build a strong network with other talent,” he says. “Someone who is working to gain or who holds a CITT certification is an individual that comes with a high standard.”

Adaptation to changes

One of the biggest changes he’s seen since he earned his certification is the level of sophistication in the industry today. Because of his intricate knowledge of the company’s supply chain and logistics, he has “a seat at the big table” with a need to know and explain how the decisions he’s expected to make impact the company’s financial statements.

“I believe very strongly that supply chain functions through organizations are competitive points of difference between companies,” he says. “The world continues to change, and in order to adapt to that change, you need the right people. My scope now includes purchasing, planning, logistics and customer service, so our company’s supply chain is expected to deliver a high level of service, timely delivery and thought leadership.”