Supply Line 2055: Certification Update Newsletter Logo

September 2004, Volume 10

Issue Highlights:

  • Supply Line 2055: Featured Company
  • Submit Questions for Future Supply Line 2055
  • Earn CEHs With New Online Courses
  • VA Reimbursement for C.P.M. and A.P.P. Exam Fees
  • ISM Announces Reallocation of Accreditation Resources
  • Exam Impropriety
  • Exam Impropriety: An ISM Investigation
  • FAQs

Supply Line 2055: Featured Company

If you happened to read the June issue of Supply Line 2055 you may have noticed that we ran an article featuring Ferguson Integrated Systems Division and how it is promoting the C.P.M. program within its company.

If your organization is promoting the C.P.M. program, and would like to be featured in a future issue of Supply Line 2055, please submit an article describing what your company is doing to promote the program along with your contact information to with 2055: Feature in the subject line.

Submit Questions for Supply Line 2055

Do you have a specific question you want answered in Supply Line 2055? We are looking for questions to feature in our FAQs section. Please submit questions to be featured in a future Supply Line 2055 to with 2055: FAQ in the subject line. If you need an immediate answer, please send certification questions to

Earn CEHs With New Online Courses

Enroll in any of ISM's self-paced online courses and earn Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) toward recertification - when and where it's convenient for you.

ISM's Knowledge Center has just introduced several new courses -- choose from a variety of topics, from basic to advanced, offered in a format that fits your schedule.

By taking ISM's online courses, it's easy for you to earn CEHs while keeping up with the latest trends in supply chain management. Visit ISM's Knowledge Center today to find out more:

Hospitality Supply Management Fall Conference Offers C.P.M., A.P.P. and CPFM Exams Onsite

Hospitality Supply Management (HSM), an ISM Forum, presents the Fall Conference, October 14-16, 2004, Hyatt Regency Orange County, Anaheim, California. Click here to register.

In addition to market updates, powerful take-away tools and exceptional networking opportunities, don't miss this chance to take the written version of the C.P.M. and A.P.P. Exam on Thursday, October 14, 2004, 12:00-4:00 p.m. This is an opportunity to combine a strong educational experience with your goal to pursue your C.P.M. To register for the exam, contact ISM Customer Service at 800/888-6276, extension 401.

Conference highlights include:

  • Powerful take-away tools
  • Commodity updates
  • Trends in dairy, e-procurement and equipment

If you work in the hospitality industry and would like more information about HSM, click here.

VA Reimbursement for C.P.M. and A.P.P. Exam Fees

The United States Veterans Administration reimburses for ISM's C.P.M. and A.P.P. Exam fees (as of March 1, 2001).

ISM exams are specifically approved for the GI Bill. The VA can pay only for the cost of the tests and not other fees connected with obtaining the C.P.M. or A.P.P. (such as study materials, application fees, etc.).

According to the GI Bill Web site, you may receive this benefit if you are eligible for:

  • The Montgomery GI Bill (also called the MGIB or Chapter 30)
  • VEAP (also called Chapter 32)
  • Dependents Educational Assistance (also called DEA or Chapter 35) (DEA is a benefit for children, spouses and surviving spouses of veterans with 100 percent service-connected disability or who died in service or due to service-connected disability.)

You can receive up to $2,000 per test (but not more than the cost of the test). There is no limit to the number of tests you can take.

For more details, click here.

ISM Announces Reallocation of Accreditation Resources

ISM has announced a change to the Accredited Purchasing Practitioner (A.P.P.) designation. After February 28, 2005, ISM will no longer accept new exam registrations for the A.P.P. designation. Those individuals who have registered prior to March 1, 2005, will have up to one year to take their exams. If they are interested in securing A.P.P. Original/Original Lifetime accreditation, they will need to apply by February 28, 2007. Individuals already holding the A.P.P. designation may still apply for reaccreditation.

An extensive study of ISM's credentialing programs, conducted in association with Knapp & Associates International, Inc., initiated ISM's decision to free up resources to strengthen other programs and undertake new initiatives. Paramount to the recommendation was the diminishing interest in the A.P.P. designation within the supply management community, which prevented the program from remaining financially feasible. The decision to cease issuing new A.P.P.s received the support of ISM's Board of Directors. Beginning in March 2005, ISM will reallocate credentialing resources to activities of greater interest and benefit to supply management professionals. In the next year, the Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) designation will also be reviewed and updated.

The A.P.P. will still be recognized and honored within the supply management profession. ISM encourages individuals who have achieved the A.P.P. designation to continue citing it as part of their professional identity and consider acquiring the C.P.M. designation. ISM will send communications to all A.P.P. professionals, and the ISM Web site will continue to offer detailed information on all Certification resources at Contact ISM Certification at or 800/888-6276, extension 3027.

Exam Impropriety

The C.P.M. Exam is a test of individual competency in the field of supply management, a profession in which high ethical standards are expected and the mere appearance of impropriety must be avoided at all cost.

Examples of actions that constitute impropriety include:

  • Disclosing the content of the exam, and/or answers to specific questions
  • Unprofessional behavior with respect to taking, proctoring or preparing others to take the exam

These actions may result in ISM revoking designations for a period of time or permanently; invalidating exam scores; not certifying or accrediting the individual(s) for a period of time, or not at all. ISM's responsibility to those who have obtained and will obtain their designations is to maintain the integrity of the program. We regret that there are situations in which the integrity of the program and exams is compromised. ISM will continue to seek the appropriate action(s) to meet the severity of the offense.

ISM encourages everyone to review ISM's Principles and Standards of Ethical Supply Management Conduct, located at the bottom of every exam registration form and application for our certification programs. By signing the forms individuals are agreeing to be held to these ethical standards.

ALL ISM members and C.P.M. candidates must adhere to ISM's Principles and Standards of Ethical Supply Management Conduct. To read it, please visit the Web site at If you'd like to view the ethics statement, please refer to an exam registration form or any C.P.M. or A.P.P. application. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Certification Department at

Exam Impropriety: An ISM Investigation

Recently, ISM's Certification Department concluded a fact-finding investigation into alleged impropriety regarding the C.P.M. Exam and a review class.

There were two main issues that were alleged:

  • First, failure by the proctor to follow ISM policy for proctoring individuals taking the exam, by failing to maintain control of the exam materials following the exam administration. The proctor is required to maintain control of all exam materials from receipt until returned to ISM as part of the proctoring agreement. Since, in this situation, the control of the exam materials was not maintained to ISM standards, ISM had no choice but to invalidate the students' exam results.
  • Second, during the review course it is alleged there were discussions among the instructor and students regarding plans to share information and actual questions from the exams. There were also discussions regarding contacting ISM to receive permission to provide answers that they deemed not appropriate for the particular module(s). Please note: ISM will not give out the answers to the exam for any reason.

Based on the actions by the proctor, review instructor and students, the following actions were approved by the Certification Committee and accepted by the ISM Board of Directors:

  • The proctor is no longer a C.P.M. and is no longer allowed to proctor exams for ISM but may pursue certification after a period of two years.
  • The review course instructor will not be allowed to become ISM certified.
  • The students' scores were invalidated and they will have to retest at an authorized testing center.

Again, we regret that there are situations in which the integrity of the program and exams is compromised, and ISM will continue to seek the appropriate action(s) to meet the severity of the offense.

If you are aware of any impropriety regarding ISM's C.P.M. and A.P.P. programs, please contact Christina Foster, SPHR, Vice President of Diversity and Certification, at or 800/888-6276, extension 3011.

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
Q: How often are the ISM certification exams updated?

A: The current C.P.M. Exam has not changed since it was unveiled in January 2001. The previous exam was released in 1997. The 1999 Job Analysis Study, which was the rationale behind the most recent exam update, can be found here:

Based on the market study performed by ISM earlier this year, and based on feedback provided by you, ISM will review and update our job analysis study. Since the inception of the C.P.M. program, ISM routinely conducts a job analysis study. This is to ensure that the material being tested is relevant to the job tasks that are being performed. The profession of supply management has changed in recent years, and we feel that now is an appropriate time to conduct another review. ISM strives to align our exam tasks with what people are doing in their jobs day-to-day.

In preparation to update the job analysis, we will enlist the support of the following: ISM affiliates, ISM Groups, ISM Forums, current C.P.M. holders, and those interested in obtaining the C.P.M. We will also be contacting other organizations within the supply management field to enlist their support, as we have done previously. This update is to ensure that the exams are relevant and reflective of what professionals within supply management are currently doing and what they will be doing in the future.

Q: How do I earn recertification/reaccreditation points or Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)?

A: Individuals who want to keep their C.P.M. or A.P.P. designation current must recertify/reaccredit every five years. C.P.M.s must earn 12 C.P.M. points or 84 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) during their current certificate period. A.P.P.s must earn 42 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) during their current accreditation period.

Here are the ways one can earn C.P.M. points/CEHs:

College Courses (Taken or Taught)
Semester-long university courses in purchasing, materials management, supply management, management or other business-related subject matter are worth 6 C.P.M. points (or 42 CEHs) each. Most other semester-long university courses are worth 1 C.P.M. point (or 7 CEHs) each.

Continuing Education (Taken or Taught)
Public seminars (AMA, APICS, etc.), seminars offered by your organization, conferences and other educational programs are eligible for points. Educational events are eligible for consideration if (a) the subject matter was purchasing, materials management, supply management, management or other business-related subject matter; and (b) the event was at least one hour in length. Earning Allied Association certification is worth 1 C.P.M. point (7 CEHs).

Articles published in refereed journals (include copies with application) are worth 2 C.P.M. points (14 CEHs) each. Substantive, well-developed articles published in established purchasing or trade magazines (those that have an editorial review board identified in the magazine), exceeding one page in length, as well as articles published in conference proceedings, are eligible for 1 C.P.M. point (7 CEHs) per article.

Contributions to the Profession
Individuals who hold office in ISM or Allied Associations may claim service points. Each annual job assignment as an officer, director, group chair, or chair of a committee, other than social or recreational, for an ISM affiliate or Allied Association earns 1 C.P.M. point (or 7 CEHs). At the discretion of the ISM affiliate leadership, service points may be awarded to all deserving volunteers, whether or not they are chairpersons, officers or directors.

C.P.M. Exam
C.P.M. applicants may retake Modules 3 and/or 4. A.P.P.s may take Modules 1, 2, 3 and 4. Each module passed is worth 6 C.P.M. points (42 CEHs).

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