Supply Line 2055: Certification Update Newsletter Logo

February 2006, Volume 15

Issue Highlights:

Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) Is the Title for ISM's New Qualification

The Qualification sets the standard for all supply management professionals.

Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM) announces Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) as the title for the profession's new qualification. The Certified Professional in Supply Management is slated to be the qualification that supply management professionals strive to obtain. The CPSM will debut in 2008.

ISM's Certification Committee, chaired by Susan I. Scott, C.P.M., A.P.P., met recently to finalize the name. "The Certification Committee believes that supply professionals will benefit from the CPSM qualification because it will address multidimensional roles such as strategic sourcing, commodity management, logistics management, supplier relationship management and supplier diversity," Scott says. ISM's Board of Directors recently approved the CPSM name on the recommendation of the Certification Committee.

The Certification Committee proposed that the CPSM examination process consist of three separate exams that cover a broad spectrum of supply management. The Exams will address the current supply environment including workplace complexities such as risk and compliance management, strategic sourcing, social responsibility and increased skills needed for supply professionals to drive value in their organizations. In addition, candidates seeking the CPSM must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and demonstrate a minimum of five years of professional supply management experience as part of the application process.

ISM Certification Committee member Karen M. Fedele, C.P.M., says the CPSM qualification will offer new synergies to supply management professionals. "Achieving a qualification that spans across supply management will demonstrate a total proficiency greater than a proficiency in any one individual component of supply management," Fedele says.

The ISM Board of Directors recently approved a bridging process to the CPSM for professionals with the Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) designation. As a prerequisite, these professionals must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and have five years of professional supply management experience. The bridge will be a single exam covering contemporary subject matter. It will also include material not covered in the current C.P.M. Exam but found within the three CPSM exams. The bridge exam will be available for use through the end of 2014.

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

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ISM Updates CPSM Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

ISM has updated the CPSM Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on the ISM Web site. Click here to see the FAQs.

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The CPSM will Prepare Supply's Future Leadership

Institute for Supply Management has chosen the title Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) as the name of the organization's new qualification. The CPSM is slated to be the profession's most rigorous qualification, representing the highest degree of professional competencies.

Some professionals have asked ISM why these changes are taking place when the Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) designation is at an all-time strength. Within the last decade, recognition of the C.P.M. has attained global status and the rate of C.P.M. certification has increased, especially internationally, with new certifications actually outpacing that of the United States.

Why then has Institute for Supply Management committed to making these changes?

The answer — the future of supply management.

This announcement comes during a point in time when supply's capabilities and responsibilities have seen unprecedented growth in importance within organizations. Never before have these professionals been asked to do so much and take on as much responsibility as they do now. Simply put, the individual job functions that were once semi-independent from each other are now fully interrelated. In today's supply environment, expertise in multiple areas of supply management provides professionals with the ability to see the big picture of their organization's supply operation.

It is ISM's responsibility to the entire profession of supply management that has brought about these announced changes within the association's credentialing program. As stated, this is a forward-thinking move to benefit all professionals in supply management, including those whose primary focus is the purchasing function. These changes are necessary and preemptive moves, which anticipate supply's evolution and will prepare managers for the profession of tomorrow.

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ISM's Mission is to Lead Supply Management

Christina Foster, SPHR, ISM Vice President, Certification and Diversity

As most of you know, 2005 brought major changes to ISM's certification programs. The Certification Committee proposed to the ISM Board of Directors (BOD) that ISM develop a new qualification. The Board agreed that in order to support the mission of ISM — to Lead Supply Management — the organization must develop and implement that recommendation. The new CPSM Qualification will be more strategic and encompass the broader spectrum of supply management.

The name of the new qualification — Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM), emphasizes the new and expanding role of supply managers. It will be the profession's most rigorous qualification — the standard for all professionals in supply management. Therefore, the words "Professional in Supply Management" are emphasized.

In addition, the requirement of a bachelor's degree is a frequent topic of discussion during meetings and on the Certification discussion forum. Because of supply's evolution and increased complexity in today's business environment, ISM fully supports that a bachelor's degree be required for the new qualification. This requirement ensures that future supply managers have the necessary, broad-based background to be successful in strategic supply management activities included within the scope of the CPSM.

What about the C.P.M. and A.P.P. programs?

ISM will issue new (Original or Original Lifetime) C.P.M.s through December 31, 2013. ISM will continue to support the C.P.M. through recertification. Please keep in mind that we will accept new A.P.P. applications through February 28, 2007. However, as with the C.P.M. program, we will still accept A.P.P. reaccreditations.

If you have any questions regarding the changes occurring in ISM's Certification department, please contact us at or visit the Web site at

The ISM Certification team would once again like to thank you for supporting our programs. Please continue to provide feedback on how we are doing or to make suggestions for improvement. Keep in mind it is not the ISM Certification department that represents the C.P.M. and A.P.P. programs … it is all of you who carry these designations. We ask for your continued support as we "lead supply management" — together.

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ISM's Mission Drives Credentialing Changes

Institute for Supply Management's mission mandates that credentialing decisions be based upon the current and future needs of the supply management profession. Along with this mandate, financial resources for operating credentialing programs must be aligned to support ISM's mission:

  1. Expand the sphere of influence of supply management.
  2. Align Institute for Supply Management's organization with its Mission.
  3. Enhance Institute's revenue generation to ensure the resources necessary to support the Mission.

ISM's 2004 Certification Market Study supports the creation of the CPSM as the qualification necessary for supply managers to be successful in the 21st century. The CPSM will reflect higher skill levels across all disciplines within supply management. Several main points which came out of the Certification Market Study are:

  • Multiple or tiered certification programs are expensive, ineffective and dilute the focus of an organization's credentialing programs. As a membership association with finite resources, ISM has made the choice to commit its resources to the CPSM.

  • The new role of supply managers will require a continuous expansion of knowledge in a rapidly changing environment. Changes in technology, methods and scope of supply management will increase the need for education, training and certification. The CPSM will expand these capabilities and skills.

  • Senior management teams of the future will need professionals with extensive knowledge in multiple disciplines within supply management. The CPSM addresses these broad-based needs.

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ISM Announces Changes to the C.P.M. Program

ISM's Board of Directors, with a recommendation from ISM's Certification Committee, has voted to cease issuing Original (new) C.P.M.s December 31, 2013. Please visit the ISM Web site for updates.

This decision by the Board of Directors and by the Certification Committee is partly based on an extensive study of the C.P.M. program, conducted in association with Knapp & Associates International, Inc.

All C.P.M.s may continue to be recertified to remain in good standing — even when ISM stops issuing Original (new) C.P.M.s. C.P.M.s who do not meet the minimum requirements for the new qualification will be encouraged to maintain their expertise through C.P.M. recertification. If someone's C.P.M. lapses after ISM has discontinued issuing Original (new) C.P.M.s, they will not be able to recertify.

Currently, we are establishing a bridging process toward the new designation (see above paragraph) for those C.P.M.s who have a bachelor's degree. C.P.M.s who do not have a bachelor's degree will not qualify for the new designation. The proposal is one Exam that will cover the contemporary content of supply management.

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, while still in development, will be advantageous to professionals who have earned their C.P.M.

The C.P.M. tests a specific segment of supply management. The C.P.M.'s main focus covers the operational aspects of purchasing, but also includes supply functions such as agreements, negotiations, technology and relationship management. It has remained a highly credible professional designation because of the attention ISM has focused on updating the C.P.M. Exam modules and exam preparation materials. The C.P.M. designation does not lend itself to being re-purposed to the extent required to cover the broader spectrum of supply management competencies.

The C.P.M. will continue to be a valuable designation within the supply management profession even after no new C.P.M.s are issued. ISM has granted nearly 44,000 C.P.M.s over the 31-year history of the program. Your C.P.M. signifies a level of knowledge that no one can take away.

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ISM Offers Continuing Education Opportunities

ISM continues to work to expand continuing education opportunities available for supply management professionals through seminars and online programs. C.P.M.s and A.P.P.s are encouraged to take advantage of the variety of resources available to earn Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) toward recertification and reaccreditation.

ISM seminars are an excellent opportunity for you to earn CEHs. ISM currently offers more than 25 different seminars across the country on various dates throughout the year. Take advantage of ISM's line of educational seminars and earn 14-21 CEHs per seminar!

ISM's Annual International Supply Management Conference and Educational Exhibit has numerous workshops in which to earn CEHs.

In addition, ISM offers online learning opportunities available anytime, anywhere. ISM's Knowledge Center offers you the opportunity to continue the pursuit of supply management education and professional development in the comfort of your own home or office — or even while on the road. Online courses adjust to your lifestyle and schedule.

ISM also offers self-study courses for your convenience. These courses are in the form of workbooks, and upon completion of the workbook requirements, candidates receive credit for 14 CEHs.

ISM affiliates are also an excellent resource for CEHs. Many affiliates offer courses through local colleges and universities. Candidates can also earn CEHs by attending monthly affiliate meetings. Contact the affiliate in your area or visit its Web site to find out what programs are available. (Links to all affiliate Web sites can be accessed through the ISM Web site at

Remember, it's never too early to start planning for your recertification or reaccreditation. The most up-to-date information for current courses is available online at For information on seminars and programs that are coming to your area, visit the Seminars & Online Learning area, or contact ISM Customer Service for an updated resource catalog (800/888-6276 or 480/752-6276, extension 401).

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Put Your C.P.M. to Work for You — Use it to Earn College Credit

Years ago, the New York Board of Regents Program on Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction (NYBOR PONSI) reviewed the original C.P.M. program and recommended that colleges and universities consider awarding college credit to those who have passed the C.P.M. Exam.

In 2000, both the updated C.P.M. program and the new A.P.P. program were evaluated. The NYBOR PONSI recommended college credit for passing both modules of the A.P.P. Exam, and the college credit recommendation for the C.P.M. was enhanced. The NYBOR PONSI now recommends that students receive additional credit for experience (provided candidates complete the appropriate project as outlined in the recommendation) for earning the C.P.M. under the updated program.

Those seeking college credits should carefully review the recommendation from the NYBOR PONSI relating to the period in which the candidate tested. Remember that the review provides a recommendation, so colleges and universities have the option to award credit based on some, all of or more than the recommendation.

For those individuals who are currently using a company tuition reimbursement program to earn their degrees, the NYBOR PONSI recommendation can be a valuable tool in convincing the company to reimburse for the costs incurred while working toward the C.P.M. Because candidates can be awarded up to 12 college credits for earning the C.P.M., the cost of doing so may likely offset the cost of earning 12 hours of college credit.

Candidates who have already earned their C.P.M. and are now working toward an undergraduate degree may find that their institution will award credit based on the NYBOR PONSI recommendations. To find out if the institution you are working with will award college credit for earning the C.P.M. or A.P.P., please refer to the Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction College Credit Recommendation for the Institute for Supply Management™. The most current recommendation information is available from ISM's Web site at — select Certification, Online Forms, then College Credit Information and Transcript Request. Pay particular attention to the recommendation for the program you completed.

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Take Your C.P.M. Written Exams for Half-Price

ISM's 91st Annual International Supply Management Conference and Educational Exhibit will be held May 7-10, 2006 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Register for the complete Conference or a 2-day pre-Conference seminar and take one, two, or up to three certification exam modules for half-price. Modules offered only on Wednesday, May 10, 2006. Register early — seating is limited.

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