Supply Line 2055: Certification Update Newsletter Logo

December 2009, Volume 25

In this issue:

Please note: To view this newletter in its graphic format access the PDF version (262 KB).

What's It Worth to You?

(From eSide Supply Management, July/August 2009)

Recent CPSM®s Talk About the Career Benefits They've Enjoyed So Far — and What They Hope to Gain in the Future

Recently, eSide surveyed recent Certified Professionals in Supply Management® (CPSM®s) about their motivations — and rewards — for obtaining the credential. Some have received promotions within their companies. Others have taken new roles in their organizations or switched employers altogether. Still others regard staying current in the profession as its own reward.

Some respondents were anxious to share their opinions and stories, and others preferred anonymity. But, one thing they all had in common was a unique perspective on the CPSM®'s career value, both now and in the future.

An Eye Toward the Future

When the survey respondents were asked which aspects of the CPSM® Exam would probably prove most crucial to their future success, their responses were all over the board.

For example, Craig Thornton, manager of corporate purchasing for Weston Solutions, Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said completing the management module of the certification will likely offer the biggest payoff for him. "It was the most comprehensive part of the test," he recalled. "It provided valuable insight and solutions for dealing with everyday management obstacles."

Other respondents expected a wide variety of skills tested in the CPSM® Exam to be critical in the future, ranging from globalization, to driving cost savings, to supplier evaluation/tracking, to embracing a more cross-functional mind-set.

Embracing cross-functionality has been key for Jeffrey Penhall, a procurement specialist at international dental equipment manufacturer A-dec. He said the CPSM® has fostered within him a broader, more holistic view of supply management's effects on the company-at-large.

"I've enhanced my ability to interface with other managers, with a solid understanding of their scope of work," Penhall explained. "I now have a better understanding about how the business elements come together and function as a single entity."

Expertise Is Evident

For most of the survey respondents, obtaining the CPSM® certification was one way to demonstrate mastery of the profession and gain a competitive edge, whether their goal was to secure a promotion or to switch jobs and companies. "For jobs that require procurement functional expertise, I've proven myself against an extremely recognized standard," explained Mark S. Schwiebert, global procurement director at BP America, Inc. in Geneva, Illinois. "I believe that sets me apart from others who don't hold the designation."

Schwiebert alluded to another often-stated goal among survey respondents: keeping current on the supply management profession. For Randi Klein Greenberg, purchasing manager at G&W Laboratories, Inc. in South Plainfield, New Jersey, obtaining her CPSM® was the best way to do that. "Getting my CPSM® shows I'm knowledgeable about today's issues," she shared. "The world is so dynamic — but so is my knowledge and skill set."

Sharon Hauht, purchasing and contracts manager for Las Vegas-based Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, echoes Greenberg's sentiment. For her, studying for the CPSM® was a reminder of the vastness of the supply management profession. "Even though I've been in it for more than 20 years, [I know] how important continuing my professional development and education is if I want to stay on the cutting edge of my career," she said.

Last but not least, having CPSM®s on staff also pays dividends for the companies employing them. As James M. Truog, manager of strategic purchasing for Wacker Neuson Corp. in Waukesha, Wisconsin, pointed out, staying current on the latest dimensions and factors related to supply management ensures his company stays competitive.

Payoffs Abound for Job Hunters

These days, looking for a job is a pretty common phenomenon. To this end, the survey respondents agreed that having a CPSM® is a definite selling point.

One respondent is facing this scenario right now. As of press time, he was involved in a workforce reduction process with his current employer, a chemical company. As he scouts other job options, he said he believes his CPSM® designation will be a sign that he understands the processes and interactions of the entire supply chain. "I'm counting on it to demonstrate my mastery of supply management to future potential employers," he explained.

Another respondent — a strategic sourcing specialist for a well-known audio equipment manufacturer — is not currently job hunting. Nevertheless, she feels confident the designation would be very marketable if she was. "In fact, I get more recruiter calls ever since I got my CPSM® last year," she confided. "Now they're even more interested in getting me a new job."

Finally, a Texas-based healthcare contract manager said he expects his CPSM® designation to help him switch industries. "Many times, supply management professionals are locked into the industries in which they developed their careers," he said. "But, having the CPSM® shows companies you possess the necessary skills and knowledge to cross industries."

A Strong Case for Internal Promotion

On the other hand, many respondents were content with their current employers. For them, securing a promotion was a more appealing goal — something they prioritized in their pursuit of the CPSM®.

For example, one respondent was promoted last month from quality engineering manager to manager of quality and manufacturing at a world-renowned manufacturer. He says his new credential "absolutely" factored into his boss's decision to promote him. "In fact," he added, "my manager pulled me aside and mentioned it was one of the direct reasons for my promotion."

Another respondent received a promotion last year after her supervisor was laid off, taking over the role of global sourcing manager at her employer, an international manufacturer of engineered interconnect assemblies. "Attaining the CPSM® helped me get a wonderful overall view of our company's purchasing and sourcing strategies," she said. "That made my boss more confident in my ability to take charge of our global sourcing."

In April, another was promoted at a well-known defense systems supplier. He said he is confident the credential was a determining factor. "I believe I was the only candidate with a CPSM®," he explained. "It helped me switch from contracts to subcontracting."

Paul R. Jones, a CPSM® in Orange Park, Florida, took things to the next professional phase and started his own business: MorphaSource, LLC. Launched in March, the firm offers all-inclusive supply management services. Jones said his diverse skill set, combined with an entrepreneurial attitude, was "strengthened tremendously" by the CPSM® process. "The skills required today aren't the skills that will be necessary tomorrow," Jones adds. "Anyone who wants true, sustainable advancement potential needs [to understand that] keeping current is critical to avoid being left behind."

Register for exams or find out more in the Professional Credentials section of Select Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) or call 800/888-6276 or +1 480/752-6276, option 8.

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Boost Your Degree and Work Experience

Don't get caught up in the thought, "I've been doing this for  X  years and it has been good enough so far..." Eventually someone else will have more experience, education and certifications than you. Complement your technical know-how with broad cross-discipline and cross-functional skills. An integrated skill set is a necessity to set you apart. You need more knowledge and experience to get a jump on the competition.

  • Do you have skills in forecasting, finance and risk compliance?
  • Are you prepared for increased regulations in January 2010 on Importer Security Filing and C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnerships Against Terrorism)?

These are just a few of the skills that many employers need from their current and future supply chain professionals. They are also the skills you need to know in order to become a Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®). Compare your skill set to the CPSM® Exam Specifications and find out where you stand compared to more than 1,300 supply management professionals who have already earned the prestigious designation.

For significantly less money than a semester at a business school, you can boost the effectiveness of your bachelor's degree and practical work experience by becoming a (CPSM®). As a CPSM®, your integrated skill set in areas such as finance, supplier relationship management, organizational global strategy and risk compliance will drive value in every link of the supply chain.

CPSM® Eligibility
  • Three years of full-time, professional supply management experience — nonclerical, nonsupport
  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or international equivalent
  • Successfully pass three CPSM® Exams, OR, if you are a C.P.M. in good standing, pass the Bridge Exam (test centers located in more than 230 countries)

Recertify every three years with 60 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs). For added convenience, ISM offers many online courses to earn CEHs.

CPSM® Bridge Exam
Certified Purchasing Managers (C.P.M.s) in good standing with a bachelor's degree only need to take one Bridge Exam. The CPSM® Bridge Exam is a single exam covering content not included in the current C.P.M. Exams.

CPSM® Exam Content
You must pass all three CPSM® Exams. Exams cover the major areas of supply management. (C.P.M.s with a bachelor's degree may take one Bridge Exam.) For detailed exam specifications, visit the Professional Credentials section of the ISM Web site at

Exam 1 — Foundation of Supply Management
165 questions, two hours and 45 minutes
Contracting and Negotiation | Social Responsibility | Cost and Finance | Sourcing | International Supplier Relationship Management

Exam 2 — Effective Supply Management Performance
165 questions, two hours and 45 minutes
Forecasting | Materials and Inventory Management | Logistics | Organization and Department Assessment | Product and Service Development | Quality | Planning

Exam 3 — Leadership in Supply Management
180 questions, three hours
Leadership | Strategic Sourcing | Risk Compliance

Bridge Exam — Only for current C.P.M.s with a bachelor's degree.
180 questions, three hours
Includes areas not covered in the C.P.M. Exams

ISM offers worldwide testing in more than 230 countries through Pearson VUE Testing Centers. Visit to find your nearest test center.

Exam fees: USD $180 per exam members/ USD $265 per exam nonmembers

Register for exams or find out more in the Professional Credentials section of Select Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) or call 800/888-6276 or +1 480/752-6276, option 8.

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$avings $ource

Mark your calendar to check the $avings $ource for new deals revealed here on the second Tuesday of every month. Available to members only, receive additional savings on featured ISM products and programs to help you make a difference in your supply management career.

Don't wait to place your order. There are limited quantities discounted up to 50% off the ISM member price. Click here for information on ISM membership.

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Start Your New Year's Resolution Now — Study for Your CPSM®

Many organizations slow down in November and December. Take advantage of the slower pace and any time off to get a jump on studying for the CPSM®. The time to get certified is before you apply for a promotion or new position.

There are CPSM® study materials for every type of learner. You choose the method that works best for you.

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New — CPSM® Exam 1 Self-Study Workbook Course

The CPSM® Exam 1 Self-Study Workbook course is now available. Using the CPSM® Study Guide and CPSM® Exam Specification, this self-study workbook provides an introduction to the major topics covered in CPSM® Exam 1. It includes resource articles, review questions, case studies and supplemental content developed by subject-matter experts for selected Exam 1 tasks. There is a post-test to evaluate your increased knowledge.

Self-study workbooks for Exams 2 and 3 will be available in early 2010.

Note: The CPSM® Study Guide is necessary to use this workbook. This self-study course is equivalent to the ISM Knowledge Center CPSM® Exam 1 Online Review course.

USD $159 ISM members/USD $199 nonmembers

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On-Site Testing and Review

CPSM® and CPSM® Bridge Exam

On Your Schedule — At Your Location

Get your team certified at your company's location and on the schedule that meets your business needs. On-site reviews and testing gives you control of the schedule while you reduce test anxiety and build a team culture among your employees.

A team of certified and accredited professionals translates into organizational effectiveness, efficiency and overall operational success. From the bottom line to the top ranks, the entire organization benefits from the impact of certification.

Save time, travel and money on review preparation and testing. Schedule your on-site exam review or testing now with:

Kathy Braase or Trish True at 800/888-6276 or 480/752-6276, extension 3061 or 3086, or by e-mail at or

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Online Book Sale

Markdowns up to 75% off! Get them while they last. Check back for new arrivals.

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The Diagnostic Practice Exam Goes Online

How it streamlines the CPSM® study process.

(From eSide Supply Management, November/December 2009)

In August, Institute for Supply Management™ released its much-anticipated CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam (Web version) to help candidates focus their study efforts — right from their computers. The Web-based CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam was designed to more closely simulate the test-taking environment. But, what else do you need to know? Plenty.

Here are some common questions — and answers — from supply management professionals considering adding the CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam (Web version) to their study regimen.

Q:  How is the Web version different from the print version?

A:  Although all the questions are the same in the Web and print versions, the Web-based Diagnostic Practice Exam simulates the computer-based testing environment used in the actual CPSM® Exam. To replicate the experience — and help relieve test anxiety — it features a test-progression function so users know how much time they have left to complete each exam.

Additionally, scoring is performed for the candidate in the Web version versus by the candidate in the print version. Its score-report function lets users instantly see — and even print — all their incorrect answers. In both the print and Web versions, this report includes a justification for each question, as well as a bibliography they can reference to find more detailed information on those topics of weakness.

Q:  How many times can I take the practice exam in the Web-based Diagnostic Practice Exam?

A:  You get three attempts, which means the exam can be completed three times. Access to the exams is available within one year from the date you enter your authorization code online (note: not necessarily the date of purchase), although your exam results are still accessible beyond those 12 months. A registration link and authorization code will be sent by e-mail immediately after purchasing the Diagnostic Practice Exam through the ISM Web site.

Q:  Are the questions the same as the questions on the CPSM® Exam?

A:  No. The questions on the Diagnostic Practice Exam exams are different. Because they aren't the actual CPSM® Exam questions, it's not really beneficial for the same person to take the Diagnostic Practice Exam exam more than twice — the first time to identify areas of weakness for further study, and the second time (after additional study) to determine if his or her performance has improved in the areas of weakness. Please note: The questions on the Web-based version of the Diagnostic Practice Exam are the same as the questions in the print version of the Diagnostic Practice Exam.

Q:  How long do I have to complete each of the three allowed attempts?

A:  For Diagnostic Practice Exam Exams 1 and 2 (150 questions each), the timed function allows two hours and 30 minutes for each exam. For Diagnostic Practice Exam Exam 3 (165 questions), the timed function of the exam allows two hours and 45 minutes for completion. You can, however, pause each exam and pick up where you left off later. You can also continue taking the exam even if your time runs out, if you're interested in learning how long it might take you to finish the exam. Once you're finished with each exam, your score report will be automatically generated on screen.

Q:  Is the Web-based CPSM® Diagnostic Practice Exam priced differently than the print version?

A:  Yes. Whereas the print version is sold as a three-in-one product (three exams at once), you can buy each Diagnostic Practice Exam exam separately. Pricing is as follows:

Q:  Can we expect a Web-based Diagnostic Practice Exam for the CPSM® Bridge Exam, too?

A:  Yes. In fact, a Web-based version is currently under development and will be available late 2010. Additionally, a print version of the CPSM® Bridge Diagnostic Practice Exam will be released in early 2010.

You will receive a Certification Update Alert when each is available.

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Networking Just Got Easier

Join ISM's supply management groups on,,, and

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Upcoming CEH, Networking and Professional Development Opportunities

Free Web Seminars
  • Don't Train — Make an Investment and Expect a Return
    January 13, 2010, Free Web Seminar
    Register Now!

  • Building Competitive Advantage: How DHL Leverages Technology to Unleash Supplier Innovation and Drive Value Across the Enterprise
    January 21, 2010, Free Web Seminar
    Register Now!

January 2010 Seminars
  • Fundamentals of Purchasing: The Building Blocks of World-Class Professionalism #4520
    January 20-22, 2010
    Tempe, AZ

  • Power Negotiations: Unlock Your Powers of Influence and Persuasion #4584
    January 25-27, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV

  • Contracting Basics: What All the Ts and Cs Mean #4489
    January 28-29, 2010
    Tampa, FL

February 2010 Seminars
  • Best Practices in Procurement #4461
    February 10-12, 2010
    Dallas, TX

  • Resisting Price Increases and Implementing Cost-Improvement Initiatives: How to Make a Major Impact Into Today's Volatile Marketplace #4272
    February 15-16, 2010
    Tampa, FL

  • Advanced Negotiation Strategies: Advanced Concepts and Techniques for Optimizing Value Through Negotiations #4445
    February 17-19, 2010
    San Diego, CA

  • Legal Considerations of Software Licensing and Other Technology-Related Agreements #4550
    February 22-23, 2010
    Tempe, AZ

2010 Summits and Conferences

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Professional Credentials Department Contacts

ISM Customer Service: For questions about exam registration, 800/888-6276 or +1 480/752-6276, option 8
Certification Information line: extension 3027

Althea (Al) Levine: Questions regarding certification and application process, extension 3094
David Migliore: Concerns related to on-site and computer-based testing, extension 3074

Karen Collins, CPSM, C.P.M.: Manager, extension 3123
Andrea Waas, A.P.P.: Vice President, extension 3011

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