Supply Line 2055: Certification Update Newsletter Logo

November 2005, Volume 14

Issue Highlights:

International Demand for C.P.M. Expertise Continues to Grow

International demand for C.P.M. expertise continues to grow, according to supply management leaders who attended the recent International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management (IFPSM) World Congress in Beijing, China. Major items of discussion were global procurement, economies, markets, supply chain management and the finalization of an agreement between ISM and the Chinese Federation of Logistics & Purchasing (CFLP) for the creation of a Chinese version of the C.P.M. Exam. This year's theme was "Globalization of Economy — Procurement Focus on China."

"The development of the Chinese C.P.M. Exam is a strong indicator of the continued worldwide recognition and value of the C.P.M. designation," states ISM CEO Paul Novak (at left). "Organizations here and across the globe view the C.P.M. as the highest level purchasing designation. With China's rapidly expanding position on the world stage as a growing economic and trading partner, their adoption of the C.P.M. as the professional standard for purchasing professionals bolsters demand for all C.P.M.s."

ISM recently announced changes to its credentialing program which will create a new globally relevant supply management qualification that will prepare supply professionals to meet the current and future demands of the profession. Included in these changes is the eventual discontinuation of new C.P.M. certifications. This decision was made because of the speed at which the supply management profession continues to evolve.

Today's professionals face increasingly complex supply relationships combined with a much greater use of technology. While the C.P.M. tests a specific segment of supply management, the exam does not lend itself to being re-purposed to the extent required to cover the broader spectrum of supply management competencies covered by the new qualification. ISM has not chosen a date to cease issuing new C.P.M. certifications. After this occurs, all C.P.M.s will continue to have the same ability to recertify as they do now.

In addition to China's adoption of the C.P.M. standard for purchasing professionals, international certifications for the C.P.M. continue to grow. This is evidenced by the fact that within the last decade, international C.P.M. certification has actually outpaced that of the United States.

"This is good news for C.P.M.s everywhere, especially for purchasing professionals who will be continuing their expertise through C.P.M. recertification," Novak says. "Domestic and international demand for their specialized skills will ensure their success well into the 21st century. ISM has certified over 46,000 individuals around the world and will continue to do so. We support current and future C.P.M. candidates."

After You Receive Your C.P.M.:

C.P.M.s who do not meet the minimum requirements* for the new qualification will be encouraged to maintain their expertise through recertification. The C.P.M.s main focus covers the operational aspects of purchasing, but also includes supply functions such as contracts, negotiations, technology and much more.

Conversely, C.P.M.s who meet the minimum requirements* for the new qualification will be encouraged to engage in continuing education and bridge to the new qualification, which raises the bar on supply management's capabilities. This process, though still in development, will be advantageous for professionals who have earned their C.P.M.

* The ISM Certification Committee recommended and the Board of Directors approved that a bachelor's degree will be required for the new qualification. Other criteria have not been determined.

Visit the ISM Web site for detailed information on all new and current Certification programs. You can also sign-up for e-mail updates on the new qualification. For more information, contact ISM Certification at or 800/888-6276, extension 3027.

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ISM's Certification Market Study Supports New Qualification

ISM's 2004 Certification Market Study supports the creation of a new comprehensive qualification that will recognize the expanded education, skills and experience needed for successful supply managers in the 21st century. Foremost among the study's conclusions is that the new professional qualification must reflect higher skill levels across all disciplines within supply management. In development since 2003, ISM's new qualification will focus on strategic, high-level supply management, culminating in senior management level expertise. The new qualification will be available in 2008.

Several main points which came out of the Certification Market Study are:

  • Rapid changes in technology, methods and scope of supply management will increase the need for education, training and certification.

  • The new role of supply management requires continuous expansion of the knowledge base for supply personnel who are working in a rapidly changing environment. ISM must move quickly in meeting the demand for new knowledge and skills.

  • A blend of new skills and knowledge needs must be developed by top professionals in multiple fields. This curriculum must also address the needs of professionals whose goal is to enter senior management.

  • Global supply management concepts will be intensified and expanded in critical content areas.

"The new qualification will address the realities of supply management workplace complexities including globalization, greater use of technology and expanded competencies that supply management professionals employ to drive value in their organizations," states ISM Chief Executive Officer Paul Novak, C.P.M., A.P.P.

Supply management professionals must understand that ISM's new qualification will include the C.P.M.s purchasing focus, plus an equal share of the other major disciplines within supply management - strategic sourcing, contract management, negotiations and much more.

"The recommendation to develop an expanded supply management qualification is also based on extensive job analysis of supply management competencies," says ISM Certification Committee Chair Susan I. Scott, C.P.M., A.P.P. "ISM has established a legacy of certification excellence through innovation and expertise. The new qualification will strengthen this legacy."

ISM feels it is important for all supply managers to know that this change in credentialing is designed to enhance the abilities of all professionals in supply management, including those whose main focus is the purchasing function. The new qualification will build a senior management level understanding of the entire supply chain which will far surpass the abilities of any single designation - even the C.P.M.

To see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and to sign-up for e-mail updates on the new qualification, go to For more information, contact ISM Certification at or 800/888-6276, extension 3027.

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Evolution of Supply Management Necessitates ISM's New Qualification

ISM's mission to "lead supply management" continues with the creation of a new supply management qualification designed to enhance professional capabilities and the impact supply management may potentially have within organizations. To be unveiled in 2008, the new qualification will include information on all segments of supply management.

The new qualification, in development since 2003, raises the bar on supply management's capabilities. With increased professional and educational standards, the new qualification will prepare supply managers to meet the current and future demands of the profession. While other organizations have unveiled new certifications, ISM's new qualification will comparatively rest at a much higher professional level. The new qualification will focus on strategic supply management, not fundamental or tactical level knowledge.

Most importantly, the new qualification will enable supply managers to take an active role in the direction of their organization at the highest levels. Each critical step in the development of an organization's products and/or services is controlled by supply management. As shown in the Supply Management Evolution Timeline on this page, evolution of the profession dictates that senior management level qualification is needed for these professionals to effectively implement innovative supply strategies regardless of their main area of focus.

Supply Management Evolution Timeline
1915 The National Association of Purchasing Agents (NAPA) is founded with a mission to provide purchasers leadership, standards of business conduct and a network to exchange information.
1968 NAPA changes its name to the National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) to reflect the changes in the field and the expanding role of purchasing professionals within business.
1968 NAPM recognizes the need to develop a professional certification program.
1968-1974 NAPM is instrumental in building accredited purchasing programs in many of the nation's premier colleges and universities. NAPM coordinates teacher internship programs, building a purchasing knowledge base within institutions. By 1974, numerous accredited programs in colleges and universities are established.
1974 NAPM introduces the Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) designation.
1980-2002 The profession of Supply Management evolves from related disciplines: Distribution, Inventory Control, Investment, Logistics, Manufacturing, Materials Management, Packaging, Procurement/Purchasing, Product/Service Development, Quality, Shipping/Receiving, Transportation/Traffic and Warehousing.
2002 NAPM members vote to change the organization's name to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) to reflect the evolution of the supply management field. Professionals are now focusing on managerial, leadership and business relationship skills, plus a variety of specialized functions designed to enhance the value of supply management within organizations.
2003-2004 ISM recognizes the need to expand its certification program to reflect the evolution of the supply management field. ISM researches numerous certification options in order to formulate a comprehensive supply management designation for the 21st Century.
2005 ISM announces the creation of a new supply management qualification to be implemented in 2008.
2008 The new qualification will address the realities of globalization, workplace complexities, greater use of technology and expanded competencies that supply management professionals employ to drive value in their organizations.

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How to Get Started on Your C.P.M. Designation

You've decided to strengthen your skills set and expand your career by getting your C.P.M. Congratulations! If you're like most people, you probably have a lot of questions - questions about eligibility, study materials, testing requirements and certification. That's why we've developed a new online guide that will help direct you to where you can find answers on ISM's Web site. While not all-inclusive, it is designed to help C.P.M. candidates understand what is involved in the certification process and how to prepare for your C.P.M. exam modules. Check out this online guide which details the C.P.M. certification process at

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Volume Discount Membership Change

At their August 2005 meeting, the ISM Board of Directors approved a change to the amount of the Employer Discount. The new Employer Discount will be effective as of January 1, 2006. Regular members employed by the same employer at any location will receive a 25% discount against ISM and Affiliate Association Dues if they have 50 or more members. This change simplifies the process for the employer, ISM and the affiliates.

For more information on ISM's Regular Membership Volume Discount Program, including requirements and the enrollment process, please contact the ISM Membership department at

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October's Educational Resource Catalog Offers More!

October's edition of the ISM Educational Resource Catalog (ERC) includes numerous design element changes intended to improve readability and navigation. Members receive the ERC three times per year as a part of their membership in ISM. It details many of the different educational opportunities we offer to supply management professionals. These include seminars, high-level workshops, online and satellite courses, exam preparation and professional reference books, plus research and other services for business. The ERC is the complete source for supply management training and professional development — it's your road map to success!

For more information on membership in ISM, which includes your own copy of the ERC mailed to your door three times per year, call ISM Customer Service at 800/888-6276 or 480/752-6276, extension 401, or visit us online at

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