Supply Line 2055: Certification Update Newsletter Logo

June 2004, Volume 9

Issue Highlights:

  • Certification Market Study Update
  • ISM Item Writers
  • How Ferguson Integrated Promotes the C.P.M. Program
  • C.P.M. and A.P.P. FAQs

Certification Market Study Update

In order to stay ahead of current trends and issues related to supply management, ISM routinely reviews its certification and accreditation programs. ISM has just concluded an in-depth market study to review our current programs, explore other credentialing options, and determine the future focus of the C.P.M. and A.P.P. designations.

Knapp & Associates International, Inc. (K&AI), a consulting firm specializing in the development and implementation of programs designed to measure professional and occupational competence was brought in to conduct the study with an unbiased view of the current and future directions of supply management programs.

The results of the one-on-one interviews and surveys conducted have been compiled and are currently being reviewed by ISM and the Certification Committee, along with plans to conduct an updated Job Analysis in the next fiscal year.

In August, the ISM Board of Directors will be presented with the Certification Committee's recommendations based upon this study, and the Board will make a decision on the recommendations at that time. It is likely that ISM will be making changes to the current program offerings. Keep watching for updates on the exciting future of ISM's certification credentialing programs.

For more information on the ISM Certification Market
Study Update, check the July issue of NewsLine on the ISM
Web site to read an interview with CEO Paul Novak, C.P.M., A.P.P.

ISM Item Writers

Ever wonder who writes the questions on the C.P.M. and A.P.P. Exams? We thought you might be interested in who these mysterious people are. You may never hear their names or see their faces, but they contribute their time and talent to ensure that our exam questions are relevant, consistent and have only one best answer.

ISM recruits talented individuals to be on the ISM Item Writing Committee from a diverse group of supply management professionals. They are all current C.P.M.s actively working in the field or professors teaching supply management courses and represent the following seven sectors of industry: federal government, state and local government, retail, food, manufacturing, service and institutional organizations.

The committee meets several times each year and participation rotates, with some individuals writing for one meeting and others attending the review meetings. Each individual is assigned specific task areas in which to develop questions, and each submitted question is checked to ensure proper format, correct task assignment and that there is only one best answer.

All questions are submitted anonymously and discussed: if the committee unanimously agrees on the answer, the question is accepted. However, if there is disagreement on an answer, it is checked against the referenced resource and clarified, revised or the question is thrown out. This entire process is overseen by ISM staff and a psychometrician (person responsible for overseeing and implementing psychometric procedures for educational testing programs, ensuring the veracity of data, analytical methods and results).

You may also wonder why there is not one all-encompassing study material recommended by ISM. That is because our team of item writers take reference material from a variety of sources, from all areas of the field, across all sectors. One book or CD could not possibly hold all of the knowledge our item writers accumulate.

How Ferguson Integrated Promotes the C.P.M. Program

Ferguson Integrated Systems Division, an integrated supplier for manufacturing and service firms providing sourcing, procurement and inventory management expertise to its customers, has developed a fabulous initiative program to develop its associates using the C.P.M. curriculum.

In 2000, Ferguson Integrated Systems Division had only five associates with the C.P.M. designation, so the company developed a training plan to increase this number. The plan included:

  • Company purchase of study materials (Knowledge Series textbooks, workbooks, practice exams, etc.) for each company location
  • Company payment of all associate test and application fees
As if that weren't enough, the plan incorporated a fabulous
incentive: all associates who completed the four C.P.M. Exams
would receive a two-night trip to Las Vegas, including
airfare, lodging, meals and a Vegas show!

Since the plan's inception, Ferguson has sponsored three group
trips to Las Vegas where associates enjoyed their stay at
Caesar's Palace, Treasure Island and the Paris Hotel.

Through this innovative program, Ferguson Integrated now has forty-three associates who have completed the C.P.M. exams, representing two-thirds of the company's associates with purchasing responsibilities. Most of these associates are active C.P.M.s, while others will apply for the designation as they meet the work experience requirements. The company's goal is to have all eligible associates earn the C.P.M. by 2005.

The C.P.M. program is a key element in Ferguson Integrated's Associate Training Program, which the Industrial Supply Manufacturers Association selected as the 2003 American Eagle winner for the category of Community/Corporate Education. Earning the C.P.M. is part of the training plan for every new Ferguson Integrated associate.

"With each new C.P.M., we have developed an associate and
improved our organization. The C.P.M. training program
is one way we continue to add value for our customers."

— Andy Norkey, Ferguson Integrated Business Manager

Ferguson Integrated Systems Division ( has been providing Fortune 100 companies with customized MRO/indirect material supply chain integration and inventory management solutions since 1989.

C.P.M. and A.P.P. FAQs

Check out Certification's FAQ page on the ISM Web site!

To contact the Certification Department,
e-mail them at:

Q: I failed a module of the C.P.M./A.P.P. Exam. Can I see what answers I got wrong?

A: While we try to assist candidates in any way we can, ISM cannot let candidates study their wrong answers. This would potentially compromise the integrity/security of the exam. ISM would have to come up with new questions every day and release them on a continuous basis. There is a large amount of statistical analysis that has to be done on each question before it can be released as an exam question.

What ISM does offer is a task breakdown on each score report. We suggest that you look over the task breakdown to see what tasks you scored low on and, if you have failed a particular module more than once, if you consistently score low on a particular task number. If so, you may want to put more time into studying those areas.

Q. What happens if my C.P.M. or A.P.P. expires?

A. You have a one-year grace period from the date of your certificate's expiration, which allows you to accumulate whatever continuing education you need in order to recertify/reaccredit. Your C.P.M. or A.P.P. is officially expired during your grace period, so please do not use the C.P.M. or A.P.P. designation during that time.

If you do not postmark your recertification/reaccreditation application by the end of your grace period, you will need to reinstate your application, which entails retaking all the required modules of the C.P.M./A.P.P. Exam.

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