January 2010, Vol. 22, No. 1
for the volunteer leadership

Professional Credentials

December 1, 2009


Number of CPSM®s
Nov. 30, 2009 1,307
Nov. 30, 2008 701

Letter From the Professional Credentials Committee Chair

Although the economy is beginning to show signs of recovery, news headlines continue to remind us that our emergence from these fragile economic conditions will take longer than expected. Unemployment levels in the United States hit record levels in October 2009, 10.2 percent the highest percentage in 26 years. Financial investments and currency values worldwide have fluctuated wildly. Global unemployment is forecasted to reach its highest level since World War II this month. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, that means 57 million people will be out of work — and this does not take into consideration those who have abandoned their job searches.

Recovering from these low unemployment levels could take many years. Organizations are reluctant to increase headcount, relying more heavily on existing employees. The bar continues to be raised ever higher and we are tasked to do more with increasingly fewer resources. We have less time to do what we want to do in our personal and professional lives. No longer do we get the chance to catch our breath when we reach a plateau, as it's a constant push to the next level. This is the new reality.

Despite these somber conditions, it's not all gloom and doom. Difficult economic times like these present an opportunity for supply management professionals to increase their contributions to the organization. Never before has supply management been more valuable to the organization. With reduced employment levels, we are often asked to take on responsibilities in areas that are new to us or to make a more significant contribution to the bottom line. A 2.5 percent reduction in cost delivers the same amount of profit as a 10 percent increase in sales. How do you make yourself more valuable to your organization by being the person who can play more than one position on the team? How do you position yourself to deliver more value?

The answer is simple. By obtaining your CPSM® designation, you demonstrate your knowledge of the field, including areas of supply management not previously captured by the C.P.M. certification, as well as make a commitment to continue your professional development through recertification. The CPSM® designation is a testament to your knowledge across all areas of supply management; it differentiates you from your colleagues and increases your value to the organization.

The reward for you? Research shows those holding the CPSM® designation earn an average of 13 percent more than those without the designation.

As we begin a new year, I encourage you to make time for your most important investment: you. Invest in yourself, your professional development and your future by pursuing the CPSM®.

Karen Fedele, CPSM, C.P.M.
Chair, ISM Professional Credentials Committee

Letter From ISM Vice President — Professional Credentials

Throughout life, we all face a variety of challenges. Ultimately, it is our own decision whether to accept the challenge directly or not... it is up to each of us to weigh the costs and benefits of each challenge we face in life... and, once we decide to accept the challenge, to find the inner strength and perseverance to succeed.

Since May 2008, more than 1,300 supply management professionals in more than 17 different countries have accepted the challenge to pursue, and obtain, the Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) designation. Many more are currently in the process of pursuing the designation, combining their education, work experience and professional knowledge to rise above the crowd.

But it doesn't stop there. Obtaining the CPSM® designation and keeping it current by recertifying every three years demonstrates to employers that the supply management professional with the CPSM® stays up-to-date on the latest information and advances in the field.

The requirements for applying for the CPSM® are:

  • Three years of full-time, professional supply management work experience (nonclerical, nonsupport)
  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university or international equivalent
  • Successfully pass the three CPSM® Exams, or if you have a current C.P.M. in good standing, you can meet this requirement by passing the CPSM® Bridge Exam and apply for the CPSM® while your C.P.M. is still current (test centers located in more than 230 countries).

Before you begin your pursuit of the CPSM®, be sure to read the CPSM® Informational Brochure as well as the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Both have critical information for those planning to pursue the CPSM® designation.

Unsure if your work experience qualifies? Simply working in supply management for three years may not meet the professional supply management work experience requirement for the CPSM®. If you are unsure whether or not you meet the work requirement, ISM offers a work experience review service.

Why does the CPSM® designation require a bachelor's degree? While conducting research and developing the new CPSM® designation, ISM gathered information from a number of sources. In today's world, most new professionals entering the field are expected to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree. We also received considerable feedback from employers that the lack of a bachelor's degree requirement tends to undermine the value they place on a professional certification. The CPSM® requirements (exams, degree, work experience) are based on research results combined with feedback from senior leaders in the supply management field.

What does the CPSM® Exam cover? The CPSM® Exam was developed based on a detailed job analysis and exam specifications. For more information on the various task areas covered in the CPSM® Exam, click here.

In 2010, challenge yourself to stand out in the crowd... challenge yourself to obtain the CPSM®.

Andrea Waas, APR, A.P.P.
Vice President, Professional Credentials

Notice of Annual Institute for Supply Management, Inc.™ Membership Meeting

Your attendance is requested at the ISM Annual Membership Meeting. Please plan to join us for a report on Institute business, including the election of the ISM Board of Directors and other matters as stated in the Proxy dated December 3, 2009.

The Annual Membership Meeting will be held immediately following the 2009 ISM Board of Directors meeting on January 14, 2010, 11:30 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, at ISM headquarters, 2055 E. Centennial Circle, Tempe, Arizona, USA.

Boost the Effectiveness of Your Degree and Work Experience

An integrated skill set is necessary to set you apart. You need more knowledge and experience to get a jump on the competition.

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 Certified Professional in Supply Management® (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
Areas not covered in the current 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.

Setting (and Raising) the Bar — CPSM®s are Setting the Pace at Work

(From eSide Supply Management, September/October 2009)

A recent survey of Certified Professionals in Supply Management® (CPSM®s) revealed their biggest motivations and payoffs for obtaining the sought-after credential. Some have received job promotions. Others have switched employers altogether. The rest, for the most part, anticipate these benefits in the future.

But another reward which most of them have enjoyed is the ability to inspire their colleagues. In fact, 85 percent said that earning the credential has inspired others to do the same. A few examples:

At Niles, Illinois-based Shure, Inc., Strategic Sourcing Specialist Jennifer Hinderliter says word has spread quickly since she received her CPSM® in June.

At BP America, Inc. in Geneva, Illinois, a list of CPSM®s within the company was recently published and distributed. Since then, Global Procurement Director Mark S. Schwiebert — who received the credential last June — says several colleagues have earned, or are working toward, the credential for themselves.

According to Schwiebert, the credential has served as an external validation of professional competence. "For jobs that require procurement functional expertise, I've proven myself against an externally recognized standard," he says. "I believe that would set me apart from others who don't hold the designation."

At G&W Laboratories, Inc. in South Plainfield, New Jersey, several supply management professionals (many of them APICS-certified) have asked Purchasing Manager Randi Klein Greenberg — who earned the CPSM® in May — about the process. "Having the credential shows that I'm keeping my education current and am knowledgeable about today's issues," Greenberg says. "The world is so dynamic, and so is my knowledge and skill set."

Robert P. Tkachick and several of his colleagues at The Dow Chemical Company in Newark, Delaware took the CPSM® pilot exam. Most of them passed, including Tkachick, who earned his CPSM® in May. Since then, he has encouraged even more of his peers in supply management to start the process of bridging from C.P.M.s to CPSM®s. "It's an outward sign that [you] understand the processes and interactions of the entire supply chain," he says.

For Rex Beck, associate professor in the Logistics Management Program at Riverside Community College in Moreno Valley, California, studying for his CPSM® has inspired students to do the same. "It reinforced the various components of my supply-related education," says Beck, who earned the CPSM® last July. "My participation in the testing process provided motivation for their efforts in the classroom."

Although other respondents preferred to weigh in anonymously, many agreed that obtaining the CPSM® has inspired coworkers in measurable ways. In fact, 34 percent said one or more colleagues are now in active pursuit of the credential.

  • One respondent, a certified CPSM® instructor, is currently organizing a review for the Bridge Exam. She says she will begin offering it within a few months to fellow staff members at her employer, an international communications and information technology company based on the East Coast.

  • Another recent CPSM® — a corporate purchasing manager for an East Coast sustainability development organization — says his company already has four credentialed supply management professionals on staff, including him after he became a CPSM® last June. Since then, three more colleagues have started pursuing the certification.

  • Finally, a packaging buyer at a Midwest cosmetics manufacturer, who earned her CPSM® in May, says she was the first individual in her company to do so. "Since then, I believe the other purchasing staff feels the bar has been raised," she says. "Now they're all pursuing the designation as either a short-term or long-term goal.

"I believe the CPSM® designation indicates dedication to the profession and demonstrates willingness to keep current on education, training and certification," she adds — no small advantage in a tough job market. "Particularly as future job searches are contemplated, it gives prospective employers the message that you're up-to-date with industry credentials."

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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Low-Cost Ways To Earn CEHs

Need to earn Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)? Short on funds to pay for training?

Don't despair. ISM has several low-cost options to keep your CPSM®, C.P.M. or A.P.P. certification current. Some are even free.

  • The ISM Knowledge Center has two free online courses — "Price Analysis, Cost Analysis or Total Cost of Ownership" (#3921) and "Ethics: A Behavioral Awareness Tool" (#3954). Register at
  • ISM presents free Web seminars throughout the year on trends that affect supply management. You can participate from anywhere in the world and earn one CEH each time you attend. Register in the Seminars section of the ISM Web site.
  • Attend your ISM Affiliate meetings. Most meetings are $50 or less and usually you receive at least one CEH each time you attend.
  • Did you take or teach any business-related training through your employer?
  • Did you take any personal career development courses such as Effective Communication or Microsoft Excel?
  • Was your article published in a supply management-related magazine or journal?
  • Did you attend or present at one of ISM's conferences or seminars? Did you attend or present at other industry-related conferences or seminars?

For details on CEH qualification, visit the ISM Web site in the Professional Credentials section or e-mail

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.

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 Kelly Rich or Trish True at 800/888-6276 or +1 480/752-6276, extension 3061 or 3086, or by e-mail at or

Instructors — CPSM® Instructor Kit Is Now Available!

CPSM® review instructors have another resource to assist them in teaching CPSM® Exam and CPSM® Bridge Exam Review courses. The new CPSM® Instructor Kit is a series of CDs that include customizable PowerPoint slides for each exam with embedded summarized CPSM® Study Guide content by task, knowledge checks from the current CPSM® courseware, and also a summary and review highlighting key points by task. Included in each exam are worksheets for task review exercises, case studies from the current CPSM® courseware to reinforce learning and a participant answer key with Q&A and discussion notes to the knowledge checks and case studies. The CDs are available by individual exam or as a set. Note: Product content may only be used for delivery of face-to-face review courses and may not be used in online formats.

CPSM® Bridge Exam:
USD $450 members/USD $650 nonmembers
CPSM® Exam 1:
USD $250 members/USD $450 nonmembers
CPSM® Exam 2:
USD $250 members/USD $450 nonmembers
CPSM® Exam 3:
USD $250 members/USD $450 nonmembers
Set — CPSM® Exams 1, 2 & 3:
USD $650 members/USD $850 nonmembers

Join ISM's supply management groups on:,, and
Make Building Your Network and staying updated on the CPSM® easier than ever!

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