Supply Line 2055: Certification Update Newsletter Logo

December 2002, Volume 4

Certification Discussion Forum

ISM has a discussion forum specifically for current or potential certification program participants. Questions posted on the discussion forum are answered by both ISM staff and your peers. This forum is open to members and nonmembers alike. Go to, select Certification, then C.P.M./A.P.P. Discussion Area. Or you may use this link: Certification Discussion Forum.

ISM encourages you to visit this area on a regular basis and assist others with their questions or concerns. Please remember that the purpose of this discussion forum is to provide information and support for others going through the certification process. Discussion of specific questions or answers on the exam is prohibited and may affect your certification status.

Professional Development Online —

ISM's Knowledge Center offers you two types of online learning: instructor-led, and self-paced.

Instructor-Led Courses

Through ISM's instructor-led classes, you can now further your education without leaving your desktop. These four-week courses are taught entirely over the Internet, using your Web browser and your personal e-mail address. A subject matter expert facilitates the courses while participants partake in weekly individual and team assignments, class discussion forums, and weekly quizzes. Participants have the flexibility to complete their work and participate in discussion groups conveniently throughout the week. Earn Continuing Education Hours (CEH's) toward recertification with each Instructor-Led course.

Interested in Certification or Accreditation, but want to learn more?
Go to and click on C.P.M. and A.P.P. Programs Overview for a PowerPoint presentation with a complete review of both programs.

Issue Highlights:

  • Certification — Now more important than ever
  • Inside Supply Management™ December feature articles
  • Hittin' the High Notes in Nashville
  • Knowledge Center Courses
  • How to increase the number of C.P.M.s at your organization
  • 36th Annual Supply Management Program
  • Certification FAQs
  • Special Note

Certification — Now more important than ever:

Budget and staff cuts have become a way of life for many organizations; at the same time, employees are expected to achieve better results with fewer resources. Fortunately, knowledgeable supply management professionals have the ability to positively impact the financial results of any organization.

Certification is critical today, as expectations of the role of supply managers in business and industry increase. Supply professionals, like all professionals, need to regularly improve their skills, and certification is an excellent springboard from which to begin. ISM's certification program provides a "big picture" view of the field of supply management, and significantly broadens the scope of vision for any supply professional.

It is more important than ever for supply management professionals to commit to earning and maintaining their C.P.M. or A.P.P. designation. While pursuing their designations, supply professionals are exposed to a wide spectrum of knowledge specifications, which in turn helps them develop thinking and problem-solving skills.

Certification is an objective measure of knowledge and experience, and ensures a certain level of expertise and skill. Earning a C.P.M. designation builds credibility for the individual, and the organization. An organization supporting the C.P.M. and A.P.P. programs underscores its commitment to professionalism.

Inside Supply Management

Inside Supply Management® December feature articles

If you missed the December issue of Inside Supply Management®, check out the cover story, Help Wanted: Business and Supply Management Skills Needed, a detailed look at the key skills hiring managers are searching for. Learn what skills are important, why they are important, and how your next hiring manager will determine if you've got what it takes.

In addition, the December issue of Inside Supply Management® presents a listing of educational institutions offering supply management education and curriculum:

2002 SUPPLY MANAGEMENT EDUCATION. The listing is comprised of institutions offering supply management related degree programs, certificate programs, C.P.M. review courses, and distance learning opportunities.

ISM Conference Logo

Hittin' the High Notes in Nashville:

Join your colleagues at ISM's 88th Annual International Supply Management Conference and Educational Exhibit, May 18-21, 2003, in Nashville. This year's Conference promises to provide what you need to lead your organization into the next era. Five distinct learning tracks offer a symphony of topics — simply pick the track that's right for you or mix and match to get an overview of the entire supply arena.

Special Offer! Take the exams at half-price.

Register for the complete Conference or a 2-day pre-Conference seminar and take one, two, three, or all four certification modules for half-price (written exams only, presented on May 18 or May 21, 2003, in Nashville). Register early, seating per session is limited.

Continuing Education Hours Earn a total of 17.75 Continuing Education Hours when you attend the Conference.

Knowledge Center Courses:

Supplier Relationships — Achieving Value-Add through Supply Alliances

ISM's newest online course is designed for supply management professionals looking to develop and maintain effective and positive relationships while addressing cultural and organizational barriers within the organization.

Achieving Value-Add through Supply Alliances and other Knowledge Center courses are offered through two types of Web-delivered formats — self-paced online learning and instructor-led online education. Both formats allow you to further your supply management education and professional development without any travel requirements.

Exam Alert This course has information pertaining to Module 2 of the C.P.M. and A.P.P. Exams
Continuing Education Hours Take any Knowledge Center course and earn Continuing Education Hours.

How to increase the number of C.P.M.s at your organization:

The best way to increase the number of C.P.M.s and A.P.P.s within your organization is to HIRE them! More and more organizations are requiring either C.P.M. or A.P.P. designations for their employees. Those who hold one or even both designations understand their value and all that entails. The designation shows that the individual has mastered a level of proficiency within the profession.

Another great way is to promote the programs through ISM's C.P.M. and A.P.P. Onsite Testing and Review Courses. Bringing the exam to your employees offers you the chance to integrate the entire testing process into your organization's mission and goals. The benefits of onsite testing give you a competitive advantage that surpasses even the most ambitious professional development effort.

A team of C.P.M.s and A.P.P.s approach their jobs with renewed vigor. Through your support and encouragement, employees realize increased performance, greater job satisfaction, and a heightened sense of professional empowerment.

For more information about onsite testing, contact the ISM Sales Department: Cindy Urbaytis or Kelly Rich at 800/888-6276 or 480/752-6276, extension 3049 or 3061.

36th Annual Supply Management Program:

Discover the power of supply management during the 36th Annual Supply Management Program sponsored by ISM. Find out where value hides and how you can transform it into dollars for your organization. This comprehensive program provides a framework to build a strong supply team. With a focus on you and your strategic implications, the stellar faculty brings insights and expertise that are second to none. Call today and reserve your place in this vital and dynamic program, to be held March 24-28, 2003, in Tempe, Arizona.

Continuing Education Hours For added value, this program offers 36.75 Continuing Education Hours.

Certification FAQs:

Q:  My company has reduced the training budget in my department, but in order to maintain my C.P.M. and/or A.P.P. I need to earn CEHs — does ISM have any ideas for how to do this with limited funds?

A:  In an uncertain economy, the first budget "cut" in many organizations is the training budget. We have already listed several options on how to earn CEHs, and here are more suggestions:

  • Exams: Retake a module or two of an exam — you can earn 42 CEHs for each module! (C.P.M.s can only retake Modules 3 or 4 for CEHs).
  • ISM Products: ISM Self-Study Courses, Online Review Courses, and Satellite Seminars all offer convenient opportunities to earn CEHs.
  • ISM Seminars: ISM offers many face-to-face seminars on a variety of topics, and you can earn 14 to 24 CEHs for your participation.
  • Online: ISM's Knowledge Center offers self-directed and instructor-led online courses. Upon satisfactory course completion, you can earn 7 to 14 CEHs depending on the course.
  • Onsite Training: ISM offers many professional programs delivered to your location. For more information, see the Web site or e-mail
  • Conferences: ISM offers conferences throughout the year at various locations. Earn CEHs for your participation in ISM or many other business-related conferences.
  • ISM and NCMA Online Courses for Acquisition Personnel: Two online educational courses have been developed through a partnership between ISM and the National Contract Management Association (NCMA). For the successful completion of each of these courses, you can earn 24 ISM CEHs and NCMA Continuous Learning Points.
  • Other Ideas:
    • Hold a leadership position in your local affiliate or volunteer for a national position.
    • Attend local affiliate dinner meetings and earn up to 16 CEHs per year.
    • Write articles for publication (including Inside Supply Management™).
    • Take a college course. Many companies have tuition reimbursement — which may not be impacted by budget cuts. Semester courses may be worth up to 42 CEHs.
    • Any training at least one hour in length and business related may qualify — including your company's onsite training.

Q:  I have taken the same exam module twice, received two different versions of the exam, got the same number of questions correct on each, yet my scores are different. Why?

A:  There are several versions, or forms, of the exam. While the content of the exam remains constant, the actual questions used in the exam will change. Because different versions (which are randomly selected by the testing center) of the exam use different questions, the level of difficulty will vary slightly from test to test. To compensate for these variations, a statistical procedure known as "equating" is used to account for differences in test difficulty and holds candidates to the same standard in terms of difficulty, regardless of which version is taken.

A second statistical procedure called "scaling" is also used. Scaling converts all scores to a scale ranging from 25 to 75, with a passing score set at 55. Thus, the scores you receive from ISM are actually scaled scores. If the scaled score on any particular module ranges from 25 to 54, this means you failed that module. If the scaled score is in the range of 55 to 75, you passed that module. Use the score report to determine areas of strength and weakness, then use ISM exam preparation materials to gain knowledge in needed areas.

For more information on the C.P.M. and A.P.P. Exam Specifications, click on the link.

Q:  I took a module of the exam and failed. I used the Study Guide, but there were questions on the exam that were not in the Study Guide. Why?

A:  While the Study Guide provides an overview of the typical materials covered on the exams, it is not considered to be comprehensive coverage of the material that is on the exams. Candidates should be aware that the Study Guide is not meant to substitute for any of the major textbooks in the field. Candidates are strongly urged to read at least one major supply management text when preparing for the exams.

Exams will contain material that is not covered in the Study Guide. The item writers utilize a variety of materials when constructing questions for the exams. The exams also contain questions designed to test candidates on the "application level" of learning. These questions require candidates to apply knowledge to a totally new or unique experience (Module 4 contains the most application-level questions). For more information on how exam questions are written, go to

Regardless of the study methods selected, each candidate should be aware of the need to use an assortment of sources for study. Candidates should prepare for the exams in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Review exam preparation materials available from ISM. The ISM Diagnostic Practice Exams, offer timed practice exams, and are a great opportunity to determine your areas of strength and weakness.
  • Use ISM exam preparation materials in conjunction with at least one supply management college text. ISM offers a great selection of the latest supply management texts — click on the link and enter a subject of interest to learn about the newest trends in supply management.
  • Consider reviewing ISM's Online Review Courses and/or Self-Study Courses. Use them separately or together depending on your learning style.
  • Take an Onsite Testing and Review Course sponsored by your company.
  • Take review courses offered by ISM affiliates.
  • Attend supply management courses at a local college or university.
  • Read various purchasing, supply, business, human resources, economics, and trade publications.

Remember, ISM recommends using several sources to study for
the exams. We do not endorse using only the Study Guide.

Special Note: ISM copyrights all products it publishes. It is
against copyright laws to reproduce any ISM copyrighted materials.

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Achieving Value-Add through Supply Alliances
Course #3780
November 15-December 4

Designed for supply management professionals to develop and maintain effective and positive relationships addressing cultural and organizational barriers, this course focuses on understanding the scope, structure, and dynamics of strategic relationships with different external and internal organizational structures. Also discussed is how to evaluate and incorporate the purchasing/supplier alliance relationships and plan, negotiate, implement, and monitor/manage alliance relationships in your organization.

  • Scope, structure, and dynamics of strategic relationships
  • Incorporating supplier alliances into your internal organizational structure
  • Barriers to successful supplier alliances
  • Preparing the organization for supplier alliances
  • Key considerations in negotiating a supplier alliance
  • Implementing a supplier alliance
  • Measuring and maintaining the effectiveness of a supplier alliance

Course Fees
USD 595 each/ISM Members USD $495 each
Nonmember groups of three or more USD $545 each
Member/Affiliate groups of three or more USD $445 each

Self-Paced Online Learning

ISM's Knowledge Center offers self-paced just-in-time training on more than 20 different topic areas. As a participant in our self-directed courses, you will determine how often you want to access the content and how quickly you will finish the course. ISM members also have lifetime access to the online tools and job aids included in each course (after purchasing the course). These courses offer: content developed by qualified instructors and subject-matter experts; practical exercises, interactive scenarios, and case studies; and the ability to test your knowledge through online testing and quizzes with immediate feedback. By completing the registration and payment forms online, you can have immediate access to the course(s) and participate any time that is convenient to your schedule. Earn CEH's for each self-paced online course completed.

To access the self-paced course schedule, go to:

Registration Fee (per course):
USD $295/ISM Members USD $195

For additional information on other online courses — both self-paced and instructor-led — click on the link below: Online Course Information

C.P.M. Online Self-Study Courses

As a participant in ISM's C.P.M. self-study courses, you can determine how often you access the content of each self-paced course, and complete them on your own time and your schedule. All four courses focus on preparing individuals to take the C.P.M. Exam. Earn 10 CEH's for each C.P.M. and A.P.P. self-study course. The following online self-study C.P.M. courses are currently available:

C.P.M. Review Course 1: Purchasing Process
This course focuses on the 20 tasks contained in Module 1, and includes sections on identifying requirements; preparation of solicitations; supplier analysis; and contract execution, implementation, and administration.

C.P.M. Review Course 2: Supply Environment
This course focuses on the 17 tasks contained in Module 2, and includes sections on negotiations, information technology, quality issues, internal relationships, and external relationships.

C.P.M. Review Course 3: Value Enhancement Strategies
This course focuses on the 16 tasks contained in Module 3, and includes sections on sourcing analysis, supply and inventory management, value-enhancing methods, and forecasting strategies.

C.P.M. Review Course 4: Management
This course focuses on the 14 tasks contained in Module 4, and includes sections on management and organization, and human resources management.

Each course is also available in hard-copy format. Contact ISM's Customer Service Department for more information on the C.P.M. program and these self-study courses, or to request a catalog that details each course and its benefits. You may also obtain information by visiting the ISM Web site at or the Knowledge Center Web site at

Volunteer Today!

ISM is looking for potential volunteers for both the Certification Committee and the Item Writing Committee. Both committees require volunteers to have already earned their C.P.M., to be in good standing, and to be members of ISM. The Certification Committee meets regularly through the use of conference calls and face-to-face meetings. This group is responsible for the policies and procedures that are used by ISM staff to uniformly administer both the C.P.M. and A.P.P. programs. The Item Writing Committee requires volunteers to participate by writing questions for exams twice a year, and ISM attempts to invite each item writer to participate in a face-to-face review of items annually. Most face-to-face committee meetings are held on weekends. If you are interested in possibly participating in either of these two committees, please forward your current résumé to and list the committee for which you would like to volunteer. ISM tries to maintain a diverse representation of participants from all sectors of industry. We are seeking individuals from the sectors of transportation, retail, hospitality/food, healthcare, and other service industries.

To Review or Not to Review

Onsite Professional Certification Testing and Review — We Deliver

Onsite testing and review for the C.P.M. and A.P.P. designations delivers the exam to you and your employees. Do you want your supply management department to obtain their C.P.M. or A.P.P. but are not sure how to prepare them for the modules? In addition to testing, ISM offers a C.P.M. review and preparation course at your location to help prepare your employees. With onsite testing, you control the environment and create the atmosphere that best matches your organizational culture.

A team of certified and accredited professionals translates into organizational effectiveness, efficiency, and overall operational success. From the bottomline to the top ranks, the entire organization benefits from the impact of certification. Bringing the exam to your employees offers you the chance to integrate the entire testing process into your organization's mission and goals. And the benefits of onsite testing give you a competitive advantage that surpasses even the most ambitious professional development effort.

Whether your employees, experience in supply is practical and obtained through various positions or is from more formal training, ISM offers review courses to satisfy the needs of all levels of skill sets. A review confirming knowledge already obtained on the job or through schooling can be acquired through our online review courses and independent or group study sessions. Your team may also benefit from a review with interaction among their peers and/or an instructor. Chances are your department is a mix of skill levels, and ISM delivers what you need.

Call the ISM Sales Department to discuss the best training plan for your group. Contact Cindy Urbaytis or Kelly Rich in the ISM Sales Department at 800/888-6276 or 480/752-6276, extension 3049 or 3061 or visit us online at Certification Onsite Testing and Review.


The C.P.M. and A.P.P. Exams are to be taken by those candidates who are interested in original certification/accreditation or for recertification/reaccreditation purposes only. ISM expects that C.P.M. and A.P.P. review course instructors and proctors for written exams will refrain from taking the exam to eliminate any perception of impropriety regarding specific exam content.

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