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CPSM® Update

Setting (and Raising) the Bar


RaeAnn Slaybaugh

September/October 2009, eSide Supply Management Vol. 2, No. 5

Real Stories of How CPSM®s are Setting the Pace at Work

A recent eSide Supply Management survey of more than 40 new 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. "I heard even the director of purchasing from my department is planning to get it this fall," she adds.

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 last year. 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."

Imitation: The Sincerest Form of Flattery

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 firm 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 accreditation.

  • 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."

For more information on ISM's professional credentials, visit the Institute's Web site.

RaeAnn Slaybaugh is a senior writer for the Institute for Supply Management™. She can be reached at

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